We need accountability in our work.

Last week, I was working with my Dad, we were cleaning my old secondary school. Since I’ve left the place (many years ago now!), there have been some changes to the grounds and buildings.

Towards the end of the day, we were working on one of the new buildings. From the outside, it looked very fancy – a modern, new library, with lots of glass and wood panelling.

However, as we were working on it, we started to notice problems occurring. It was built in an awkward place, so we couldn’t clean the school hall windows. There was dried cement splattered on many of the surrounding windows. There were no gutters on the new, flat-roofed building, so a pool of water was sitting stagnant on top of it. And there was a hole in the roof the builders had clearly forgotten to fill in.

We spoke to one of the caretakers at the end of the day and reported the problems. He didn’t seem surprised and mentioned something about the incompetence of the builders.

My Dad and I were talking about this and it’s sad how poor a job had been done. There are a few lessons here:

Just because it’s a school, it doesn’t mean the quality of work should be any less. They’ll be paying the same, if not more, than a regular client.

The job looked rushed and was unfinished. The hole in the roof was very telling, where water, a birds nest or I don’t know what else could fall straight down into the school.

The work was carried out during the last period of local lockdown, so the school was closed. Other than the caretaker pottering around, I doubt there was anyone on-site to supervise the work.

It just goes to show how some people feel like they can get away with a lack of effort in their work when there is no accountability.

It’s sad because I’m sure this situation plays out in schools, offices and businesses everywhere.

 When the boss isn’t around, I can slack off and only do the bare minimum. 

Our education institutions don’t help with this mentality because they’re designed to promote compliance and conformity.

Instead, we need to strive to Great Work for everyone – ourselves, our leaders and those we serve – not just the bare minimum.

And if we are a leader in the work we do, we need to ask ourselves the question:

How am I creating a culture of enrollment in our work?

Or am I just promoting conformity, the bare minimum or great work?