Deviation Isn’t A Dirty Word

“I get bored and scared if today is exactly like yesterday.” – Morten Sandlykke

Don’t we all Morten?  At least that’s what I always believed until I had the opportunity to begin working with other managers.  You sure learn a lot about the differences in people when you start working with large amounts of fellow leaders.  I’ve come to find that there is a subset of employees, at every level, that would be perfectly happy if things were exactly the same day in and day out at their work place.  They find solice in the routine of their day at work and panic at the slightest bit of deviation from what they know.

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Although there might be some industry out there somewhere where every day is identical, most workplaces have some form of changes that happen and therefore managers need to be ready to face them.  I recently had a day where three hours into my shift I received a phone call stating that due to a water main break the water would need to be shut off in a location that belonged to my area.  Obviously, no matter the industry, having no running water in a building causes challenges and unhappy employees.

My day was quickly thrown into full speed to tackle the normal day-to-day tasks that pop up all while figuring out a plan to help those who were working in the facility that was waterless.  Suddenly I had new priorities and, although the situation wasn’t ideal, I was excited to be given a challenge.  Finding functioning bathrooms, ensuring the sprinklers would still operate in the need of an emergency, tracking down an estimate of how long they would be without water, and coming up with a plan for the following day’s operating hours became hot topics on my plate.

We couldn’t close the facility for the day due to how many people it provides services to, but the team there acted like rock stars.  They kept on plowing through their day as if nothing had changed.  Yes it was a bit more of an inconvenience to use a restroom, get drinking water, and wash their hands to eat lunch but they made it work and kept a positive attitude the whole time.  I couldn’t have been more proud of them as they cracked jokes and made the day work.  As crazy as the day became, I was excited to have a challenge and something out of the norm to troubleshoot as it keeps me on my toes.  Be open to new experiences as a leader and you’ll find out even more about your operation and employees.

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