(yes, my kids are Bears fans, which does not make me happy)
As I was down there, a colleague of mine e-mailed me some links about the company that makes footballs for the NFL, Wilson Sporting Goods. These footballs are what are used in almost every football game across the country and are considered the best out there. I actually owned one for a while and someone stole it from my garage so apparently they are pretty valuable.
As I read about the company, it is quite amazing what they do to get the footballs ready for the Super Bowl which you can read about here. What is more impressive is the apparent employee loyalty at this company. If you look at some of these videos you will hear people talk about being part of the company for 40 years or more, and they seem excited to talk about Wilson and their job. You listen to Willie talk about the bladder in this video and you can just see the pride he has when he talks about his job, it is inspiring. Look at how long many of those employees have been there. Generally in a manufacturing environment, employee loyalty can be lower than other industries so to have what seems to be very high employee loyalty is quite impressive.
Think about this for a second, do you take such pride in what you produce, be it either a good or service? Probably not. Why is that? Are you not proud of the products and services you produce? My guess is you are. Too many of you what you do probably feels like a job, that is why it is critical for Senior Leaders to articulate the bigger picture and then for managers to help employees understand their role and how they impact the organization overall and when possible, community and society as whole. For example, I heard about a company that produces products and technology to help improve animal wellness and productivity. However, they talk about their mission really being to help impact world hunger. Talk about being motivated to do your job, if you can take it past the day-to-day activities and how they are impacting something bigger than themselves, that is how you get someone excited about their job.
*Just to clarify, the only time I have been asked for an autograph is when I was 13 and did some freestyle biking at a local church to a group of elementary and middle schoolers and one of them came up and asked for my autograph.