Jonathon and I were talking the other night and reflecting on the lack of ‘buy-in’ that so many American workers have today.
Often, it seems that whether I am in a retail establishment or obtaining contract work on my home…or yes…even at SIU…people desire to accomplish only enough work to prohibit their getting in trouble with their supervisor.
When I began at SIU I was so thrilled to have such a good job that I wanted to impress upon my employer that I was grateful for the opportunity that they had given me.
I was assigned to the General Accounting building and my predecessor, apparently had not cleaned on a regular basis. The ash trays, and yes there were still ashtrays, had a tar residue that took several minutes per receptacle to break down the thick and blackened sludge. In the rest rooms the toilets were encrusted with feces and urine and were disgusting.
Trash can liners were soaked with stale coffee and the residue of old lunches and they stank.
Immediately I set upon doing my janitorial job. It was not long before I began receiving compliments and recognition for doing what the University was paying me to accomplish.
When my fifteen minute break came…I took about ten minutes of it…for fear that my watch and my supervisor’s watch might not be in agreement.
I noticed very quickly in my career that people respond to excellence and dedication in service.
My work philosophy, early on, was to attempt to deliver more than what my supervisor was expecting from me.
I had the honor and pleasure of working with so many SIU staff that delivered much more than I expected from them.
Joan Phemmister was one of the hardest working people that I had ever met. Her dedication to keeping the Agriculture building shinning and immaculate resounded all over Campus. I promoted her to foreman as rapidly as I could…because I knew that her passion for excellence would positively affect all of the custodial crews that she supervised.
Jonathon was a greeter for five years in Food Service at Lentz Hall. He made a point to learn student’ names and to greet them with a broad smile each time that he checked them in for lunch or dinner and he was so well thought of that the Director of Housing, at that time, told me what a wonderful job that he was doing and the positive impact that he was having on our student’s SIU Experience.
The students that Jonathon met were so fond of him that they created a fan club for him…that still exists.
When I came to SIU I had friends that were my age that had achieved success and drove new automobiles and were becoming wealthy….I determined that the SIU opportunity that I had been afforded was a blessing and that I was going to be a custodial professional.
What if everyone at SIU decided that they were going to give…just 10% more than they have been giving?
What if everyone at SIU decided that they would not pass a student without greeting them with a smile and a warm and friendly face?
What if every telephone conversation that SIU has with a prospective student or their parents…was so inviting and congenial and convivial and the voice of the SIU employee so pleasant and melodious…that the prospective student and the parents of the prospective student…say that they want to know more about Southern Illinois University?
Whatever church that you attend…the building is not the church…it is the people that are inside of it.
SIU is not Parkinson Lab or Necker’s or Wham or the Lesar Law School…it is the people that comprise the University Community.
I identify immediately with people that care about me….
‘I really do not care how much you know…until I know how much you care…about me.’ Zig Ziglar