One of the issues that generates the most problems for business leaders is resistance to change: having an innovative idea and having people in their organization reject it without even wanting to hear what it’s about. Change is undoubtedly one of the words we hear most often in supporting companies in their processes of transformation and growth. Human beings reject change by nature because change means something new, unknown, and therefore, a possible danger to our survival. It may sound drastic, but that’s how our brain interprets it. Hence the resistance.
However, what doesn’t change—or changes so little over time that it seems not to change at all—we don’t like it either! We call that routine, and for companies, the complacency it causes can become a problem equally or more damaging than resistance to change.
If we think about it, no matter how dynamic and changing the world is, practically all jobs involve monotonous tasks. I don’t know what you do, but let me give you the example of a person who does cleaning, for instance, in a large hotel. Every day, responsible for cleaning who knows how many rooms: the same beds, the same bathrooms, the same cleaning products; walks the same hallways, has little interaction with guests… Or the case of a mechanic who changes tires. Every day the same workshop, the same sequence: loosen the tire, remove the tire, put on the tire, tighten the tire, balance the tire; one, two, three, four, and up to forty tires. And tomorrow the same. And next month the same.
I want you to think about these two individuals, and I want you to imagine that they are the kind of people who, no matter the day, are happy. And they tell you they love their work. And they wake up in the morning with enthusiasm to go and do, apparently, the same thing as the day before. You know these people exist, right? How do you think they do it? What’s their trick to always smile at that apparent monotony?
Their trick is… knowing that routine doesn’t exist! The mechanic’s trick is knowing that each car is driven by someone different and that it is their responsibility to ensure that this person—and their family—drives safely on the road because the car’s tires won’t loosen. And the day that person returns to the workshop, it may be the same car, the same owner, but it’s a different day and a new opportunity to ensure their safety. The trick of the person cleaning in the hotel is knowing that guests never get tired of finding their room clean, and therefore, every day is a new opportunity to make them feel good.
Once I had to deliver the same corporate training forty times in three months. Day after day, forty times the same content, forty times presenting myself, forty times the same jokes (yes, I tell jokes in my training). Forty times. And it could have been a hundred… or even a thousand. In front of me were people receiving the training for the first and only time, and they all deserved the best from me.
Every day, everyone deserves the best from you. Starting with yourself. What you do, however routine and repetitive it may seem, is always meaningful to someone. It’s up to you to make it meaningful for yourself too.