March 17 is an American holiday to commemorate St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. Although it was not originally celebrated in Ireland, this day is important to Irish immigrants as a way to remember their heritage.
And it’s one that I have never celebrated. Until recently.
As with most oral family histories, mine was shared by relatives who spent time digging through genealogical records. I knew that my Dad’s side was German & English, and my Mom’s side was mostly English (my Grandmother is a descendant of the first King of England, Egbert of Wessex).
But that’s where my identity ended. Mostly English, with a German surname from my Dad’s side.
I thought I knew everything about my company… until the day I stepped out of my management role and into those of front-level staff.
Working in new job tasks was the most eye-opening thing I ever did as a manager. The act of observing their roles first-hand made it crystal clear where the problems were originating. And… spoiler alert: 99% of problems in a company are because of poor management decisions!
I call this boots-on-the-ground observation method the “Employee for a Day experience.”
It’s terrifying, enlightening, humbling, and eye-opening.
And it works like magic.
Here are some ideas for how to implement this incredible (free!) tool for yourself.
Do you ever go through an “a-ha moment” that suddenly makes you aware of a totally new perspective?
That happened to me a few years ago. Like many top-level leaders, I had slowly and imperceptibly developed “Corporate Ladder Bias” during my transition from employee to executive. This subconscious change occurs when our field of vision is consumed with all the problems and headaches at the management level. We become blind to the day-to-day frustrations of what I call the “Foundational Staff.” These are employees at the lowest levels of an organization, including: