If a Trip to the Dentist Can Be Fun Surely Work Can Too!

old-1620082_1920“Outside of euthanasia, I have two options for you,” said my dentist after looking at my deteriorating filling, now turning my tongue into hamburger. “Option 1, a complete overhaul of the tooth, is my favorite,” he said, “because I haven’t covered my rent this month. Option 2, I file off the rough part. It’ll take two minutes and cost hundreds of dollars less. Now what’s your choice?”

I’d learned to expect this from him; he’s like Robin Williams with a surgical mask.

After I chose Option 2, he said, “OK, close your eyes so that you don’t get tooth pieces in them. Just so you aren’t lonely, I’ll close mine too. So if I start filing the wrong tooth, let me know.” By then I was struggling to keep my mouth open while I laughed.

When he was done, he ended with, “Don’t forget to stop in the gift shop on the way out; you know I have to get that rent paid!”

If a trip to the dentist can be fun (at least for me), surely we can all create pleasurable work environments.

I work with many enlightened leaders who genuinely care for their people and do their best to create a positive and supportive environment. I’ve seen many of these leaders get extraordinary results because of this. People like to work for individuals whom they trust, admire and appreciate. But that doesn’t mean a leader can avoid the hard issues!

Some people never respond to a positive work environment. They should work for the post office or the Department of Motor Vehicles. However, most people will seek out a fun and engaging environment.

I worked in a union warehouse while in college, though I never joined the union. It paid well but was a miserable place. There was, however, one supervisor who was a fun, stand-up guy. Without him, I would’ve left much sooner.

Some successful leaders whom I’ve worked with were tough and demanded accountability. But all the great leaders whom I’ve worked with had a sense of humor, cared about their employees, and tried to create a fun, positive environment.

Get results, but lighten up! If my dentist can generate a fun environment, so can you!

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  • Vance

    8:06 am September 6, 2016

    I love all three of your observations this week, but Number three is by far my favorite.

    • Todd Ordal

      6:52 pm September 6, 2016

      Thanks, Vance!

    • Tom Holmes, CMC, CPIM

      8:48 am September 7, 2016

      This also hit me last week while reading some of the entries on Facebook. It looks to me like state and federal legislators believe they’re paid by the pound of paper required for the new laws they think they must initiate. Ever consider sunset laws? Ever consider dropping two laws in order to pass a new one? How about dropping one chapter of the tax code for a new loop-hole? Or, just simplify laws by making them apply to everyone, including the government and leaving out all the loop-holes and pork.

      Same thoughts apply to business rules and programs.

      • Todd Ordal

        11:31 am September 10, 2016

        Thanks, Tom. I believe one of the provinces in Canada had a “scrap 2 for every new law” process. Not sure how it worked out, but sounds appealing!