I took my daughters to a local restaurant for breakfast one morning. My youngest daughter ordered a bacon, egg and cheese croissant. Upon receiving her order, she lifted the top, looked inside and said, “Daddy, I don’t think this is a real egg.” I glanced over at her breakfast sandwich, took a glance and thought to myself, “you’re right!” But what I said to her was, “don’t look at it, just eat it.”
While this “ignorance is bliss” concept may come in handy with fast-food breakfast sandwiches, it is unfortunately a problem that can slowly erode and destroy a team or organization. All too often, employees, team members and even management have an attitude of, “well, it’s not my money,” or “it’s not my job to understand why…” or “I just work here.”
This type of passive attitude is, at its core, pure selfishness. Why would you want to understand why something is done a certain way or how something works? Because if you do, perhaps you can add something of value to your team or organization other than just a “warm body.” By understanding a situation or process, you might be able to identify how to make that process better or more efficient, and thus add value to your company or team. By identifying with someone who performs a different task, you might be able to better understand the struggles that go along with it and be able to be of assistance. This builds unity and fosters teamwork. And, many times, the ones who take ownership of jobs and tasks in this way find themselves in leadership positions.
So, next time you get a fast-food breakfast, don’t look at it, just eat it. But when it comes to your team, job or responsibility, do all you can to learn it, understand it, and improve it… you will reap the benefits.