Have you ever made a comment thinking it was innocuous, but it really had damaging effects?
Let me help you out with this. Your comment usually starts with: “It’s just....” You don’t mean this to be harmful, but you don’t see how your position is calling the situation simple or “below you.”
I’ve heard people say, “What’s so hard about what you do? I mean, it’s just HR !!” Needless to say, I didn’t feel too good about how that person viewed me or the work that I did. You see, this post isn’t an indictment of others, it’s a confession of my behavior.
At LaRosa’s, we have a bakery that makes our pizza dough. The great Team Members that work there start as early as 3:00 a.m. and the second shift wraps up around midnight. They make thousands of pizza doughs a week. One of the positions in the plant is along our two lines where the dough balls get flattened and then sent down a conveyor, and people stretch and shape the doughs as they pass by.
Imagine if this was your job. Now, imagine if you stretched dough for 40 hours a week for 20+ years!!
Could you do it?
I am at the Bakery often and there have been some Team Member issues, as there are in all locations. People, one day, were having conflict over how one person on the line stretched dough versus another person. I said, “Seriously? It’s just dough !!” The brilliant Admin. Asst. who works at the bakery quickly corrected me. “No, Steve, it’s their job and they want to make sure that it’s done right. It matters to them.” You could have seen my shoulders sink into the floor because I knew she was right.
This weekend I went to the retirement party of one of our doughline Team Members. She has been stretching dough for over 20 years. I came to realize that without her, and others who do great work, I wouldn’t even have a job. If we don’t have dough, we don’t have pizza!!
Look around your organization. Are there people or positions that you feel don’t contribute much? How arrogant is that? If you’re in HR, you should feel the weight I felt when I made this trite comment.
ALL people add value!! ALL of them!! It’s time we did our best to rid our companies and our profession of any more of the “It’s just” comments.
I felt very fortunate to be invited to Joyce’s retirement and loved seeing her pass to her next phase of life. What she did was critical to the foundation of our company and our customers. I will never belittle someone and what they bring to work again. How about you?
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