Busy Train Platform

I ran across the car park at Haywards Heath train station on Wednesday morning, keeping my head down from the wind and rain and hoping I wasn’t going to miss the train. I didn’t, in fact I had ten minutes until the train arrived. I looked for somewhere warm to hide and everywhere was taken so I braved the platform, and it turned out to be the best choice I made.

I stood and watched everyone starting their day with the commute into work, heads down, coffee in hand, busy waiting for trains to arrive, generally wishing they were anywhere but here. There was a train at the platform and the conductor was checking everyone was on. Certain the doors were clear he blew his whistle. Right at this moment a man ran from the stairs and dashed for the door shouting “NO, am I too late”. I was expecting the conductor to jump at the man and stop his progress from getting onto the trains. This comes from past experiences of what it is like and knowing that the conductors have a job to do. Yet not this one, “Come on mate, spring in your step and your in” he guided the man through the door, blew his whistle and the train was away.

What could have been a de-railer (i’m sorry but that pun was too good to miss) for that man’s day was averted by the happy nature of one great Platform Conductor. I continued to watch the conductor on the platform. He looked around, picked up some little and put it in the bin, ensured the bin was still attached, turned to a lady asking for help and with a huge smile gave her the help she needed, he noticed someone had dropped a pen so he picked up for them. All of the time he was smiling, in the cold wet light of this dull Wednesday morning in February this man was having a great time and so was everyone around him because of that. I then realised that this was beginning to have an affect on my day. I was really pleased to see someone taking such pleasure in their work, and I felt happy about it too.

I have on many management and leadership development program’s used the FISH videos as a development tool around leadership and engagement. They are great and show how enjoying what you do is key to success. Right here on my doorstep I realised I had my very own version of this. The conductor was so happy to be doing his job, he took ownership of the platform and ensured everyone got what they needed. It didn’t look to me that his job was about getting trains away from the platform, it seemed as if he was there to ensure each and every person got on the train when they needed to. He was working towards getting everyone to their destination. Everyone around him took notice of him and were part of his morning too, many people waving and chatting to him as they boarded their train.

I’ve explained this before on leadership programs and work with clients discussing what is Engagement and why is it important. Well right here, this is it. Someone who harnesses the power of their own happiness and engages with the work they are doing to be happy and create happiness around them. Simple.

Think about it. Organisations that can engage with each and every employee and create happiness for everyone will be successful. People can and want to do a great job just because what they are doing is appealing to their inner beliefs. When everyone takes ownership of what they are doing and wants to be part of it then success is a given.

Organisations that live and breath the acronym, P.R.I.D.E, Personal Responsibility in Delivering Excellence, are taking huge steps in creating an environment where everyone is responsible for what they do and for being part of a success story. The standard you walk past is the standard you accept. I saw one man this week make the day for thousands of people without them even realising, just imagine what it would be like if everyone was like this. Just think what your business could achieve with higher levels of engagement.