Not Just Washing Windows

Some of my most interesting experiences as a business consultant were the years I provided Certified Trainer workshops at a casino in San Diego County. The Certified Trainer programs were 2 ½ days of training for casino employees selected to train the new people that were hired at the casino. Cooks trained new cooks, bartenders trained new bartenders, and the same for servers, security personnel, cleaning people, bussers, etc.

The classes culminated in attendees making 8 minute presentations in front of the class in which they had to train someone in class on a skill.  These presentations, which were recorded so people could see how they did, were nerve wracking for many of the employees!

Watching the presentations was interesting and I learned a lot about life as a casino employee.  The presentations were on all sorts of topics: a cook taught us how to make a steak and eggs breakfast, cleaning people taught how to vacuum so we don’t hurt our back and how to clean gum out of the carpet, a bartender taught us how to make a Bloody Mary, dealers taught us the etiquette of being a dealer.    

At one point it was time for a woman from the cleaning department to make her presentation to the class.  She had selected someone in the class who wasn’t from her department to teach her task to and the two of them went to the front of the room.  

I stood off to the side and was recording the presentation.  She seemed nervous and I was nervous for her!   It is a big deal to present in front of a classroom.  We’d given the attendees a script to follow as they taught the new skills, including suggesting they begin with, “Today I’m going to teach you . . .” and sharing why this was an important skill.  

This woman from the cleaning department got to the front of the room, looked at the classmate who she was teaching, and began: 

“Today I’m going to teach you how to wash the windows at the front of the casino.  But we’re not just washing windows.  We’re creating an atmosphere that is welcoming, and shows people this is a nice place to come.”

My jaw dropped. This was one of the best openings of all the years I provided Certified Trainer programs!  Do you see what she was doing?  She knew she wasn’t just washing windows; she knew her job had a larger purpose.  

We want every employee to know that they aren’t just washing windows.  We want them to know how their job fits into big picture organizational goals, and what is the purpose of their job. As Ken Blanchard has said, at the Blanchard Companies they changed the title of their receptionist from “Receptionist” to “Director of First Impressions”–and she totally changed.  She saw the purpose of her job.

We want everyone to know that their job is important and that they are part of something bigger than themselves.  Then we’re well on our way to having motivated, committed employees.   

Talk to me about motivating your team.  To request information, click here.