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Some people don’t like where they work… at all. They might even despise who they report . And since their work environment is indeed”poisonous”, they choose to withhold their very best quality of work. “THIS PLACE doesn’t deserve the best I have to offer. I will come to work, only do what’s expected of me, collect my paycheck, and go home.” Do you know anyone like that?

The problem with this line of thinking is that if you choose to give the bare minimum, then finally you will be comfortable giving the bare minimum. Yes, you would have unknowingly formed not only a habit, but a bad habit. At some point, you may not even know what excellent work resembles… and start to think that you’re not capable of being excellent. To be excellent is what you are called to be, and to be exceptional is exactly what you’re called to.

Hot Tea

During a recent hotel stay, I decided that I wanted to have some hot tea late one night. As it was a limited service hotel, ordering room service wasn’t an option. The employee explained,”Our restaurant has already closed, so tea will be available in the morning for breakfast”. Click.

Now, I obviously knew that warm water and hot water had to be accessible somewhere on the property, but I decided to wait and talk to the manager in the morning. When I spoke with the manager the next morning, he had been upset about what happened and even showed me the employee mini-break area that was just a few feet behind the front desk. The break area had a fridge, and the refrigerator was piled with… wait for it… tea! All kinds of tea.

So, here are a few reasons why the front desk agent may have responded the way he did:

A) He legitimately didn’t know there was tea accessible (yeah right).

B) He’s just comfortable working within the strict parameters of his job.

C) He does not like his job where he works and has chosen not to do one more ounce than he absolutely has to.

You can’t permit anyone (or any work environment) to rob you of your zeal to be exceptional. As difficult as it may be, you have to push through any disdain you might have and honor your function, honor who you are serving and honor yourself. Sooner or later, each person has to make a decision about how exceptional he/she wishes to be, regardless of the work environment. Finally, it can be very fatiguing to continuously strive for excellence in a work environment that you can’t stand to maintain.

If that’s the case, see if you can address your discontentment with the proper people, or find someplace else to do the job. Search for a business which has values which mirror your own.Ultimately, it’s important to work for a company that you believe in.

Adjusting Your Service

Some people have a habit of adjusting their support based on how important they think a particular customer is. One of the reasons that’s so dangerous is because you never know that you’re serving or what their situation may be. We have no right to deal with anyone as though they are”a client”. Every customer has a story and it is our duty to honor that customer regardless of what the story could be.

Never again be lulled into the fallacy that it is OK to give the bare minimum. Savagely battle that fallacy with everything you’ve got. Be exceptional regardless of the work environment. Stephen Covey wisely wrote, “Be an island of excellence in a sea of mediocrity”. While that certainly can occur, try to find a team, manager and business that enable you to work among many islands of excellence in an ocean happy to have you there.

In the end, service has a purpose, and a noble purpose at that. We serve because functioning is a fantastic thing, and great things are worthy to be exalted. There is significance to your role. There is purpose to your role. If you really know what that means, then you have the capacity to impact lives, one client at a time.

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