A 2017 HBR article popped up on my FB feed that recalled an annual competition for New York sewage treatment workers – aka “Sludge Olympics” – who compete to show their skills in their work. The winning teams go on to state and then national competitions. The article quoted one contestant reflecting on their work that most people assume will be there but never think about, “It’s enough to serve the public”.
Pretty much to the point, isn’t it? If a rather unglamorous, but important, service such as sewers motivates people, and pride in their skills, then pretty much every business has the potential to engender commitment. The secret? Management. Every single time, it’s on management.