I was reminded recently, when researching a session with a client, of the story of an elderly man, out for his daily stroll, who stopped to watch some people working on a building project – it goes something like this;

To the first labourer, he asked, “What are you doing?”. “Laying bricks” said the man abruptly. Curiousity getting the better of him, but not feeling very encouraged by the first man’s response, he asked a second “What are you working on?”. “I am building a wall” said the man, who responded in a more friendly manner but continued with his work.

On reaching a third man, he asked the same question. He responded with a smile and in an enthusiastic voice, said “We are building the perimeter wall for a new primary school. It’s a really exciting project because 100 children from this area will start school next September and won’t have to do the daily 10 mile round trip any longer!”

Some thoughts that spring to mind from the old man’s exchanges are;

1. If you were hiring one of these people to build a wall for you, which one would you select and why? Which one, do you think, would deliver the best quality of work?

2. Do your own staff understand the difference that they are making in the lives of the people that they serve or is it just a job?

3. What are you doing, in the form of guidance and training, to ensure that they understand the importance of the impact, and therefore the quality, of their work?

4. If you are a Self Employed service provider, do you love what you do and do you get a buzz from the impact you make on your client’s businesses and lives?

If not, why not? Is it just about the money?

This is an old story, but one that still poses a few questions about how a Service Mentality, Perspective and Attitude is so crucial in creating that ‘edge’ in the difficult business conditions we face today………but, if you think about it, these characteristics are no different to those needed to also succeed in the good times!