The military sets high expectations of performance from their people, and practices high standards of care for their people.
Most businesses are very good at setting high expectations of performance from their people, but they don’t set high standards of care for their people. High standards of care mean: providing the training and resources to help them be successful, encouraging them when they feel down, and recognizing their hard work and efforts (even if their efforts miss the mark) frequently. It also means giving them multiple opportunities to excel, learn, and grow. People want to learn and grow. They crave it. They also want relevant challenges that are interesting and stimulating. Even if on the surface, a job is not that exciting, there are ways to make it fun and enjoyable. With all that said, let’s be clear. High standards of care does not mean pampering or giving away lavish bonuses. Their nice, but what really drives people is adventure, challenge, and learning in a motivating environment.
For example, when military personnel are in the field, living in the dirt, eating out of plastic pouches, and under constant threat from adversaries, the standards of care can either motivate and bring energy to the team, or it can demoralize and cause people to underperform. Standards of care mean doing the little things to make people more comfortable; going out of one’s way to say someone did a good job; listening to personal stories and taking a real interest; listening to their ideas on how to do things better.
There are many businesses with dirty, boring jobs, but it doesn’t have to be miserable at all. Having high standards of care, making people feel like part of a family, and giving them growth opportunities makes all the difference in the world.