Short version of my side of the story…I started out as an aircraft electrician in the Air Force and worked in the backshop. Pretty much meant I worked on parts for the aircraft after they had been taken off. For example, a landing light breaks, they bring it in to me, I would fix it and put that part back into the supply system and it would eventually go back on another aircraft. I enjoyed that…but what got me excited was the time I was deployed and was actually working on the aircraft and pulled into work and one aircraft had engines running, ready to take-off…but needed some of my “expertise” before it could take off. Took about 30 minutes but I got it fixed and that aircraft took off and completed the mission in a deployed environment. I remember that sense of job satisfaction and calling my boss back home and telling him I wanted to go work the flightline so I could work on the aircraft.
I tell you that story because I received a similar call from my son yesterday with that same excitement. He too now serves in the Air Force as a PMEL technician…he calibrates equipment is the easiest way to explain it. Same scenario, folks bring him equipment in, he calibrates it and then they take that equipment and do amazing things with it…he just doesn’t realize it. Yesterday was different, there was an Army helicopter that needed a piece of equipment calibrated or it couldn’t take off. They trusted this young Airman to fix that equipment and off the helicopter went…he knew exactly why he was calibrating that piece of equipment.
We all do things that have an amazing impact to someone or something in this world…that impact just isn’t always conveyed. As leaders, it is our job to make sure our teams truly understand the “why” to what they are doing everyday. If they aren’t already excited about what they do every single day…fix that…because they should be! Ask your teams 2 questions and you’ll have a good idea: 1) Do they know the impact of what they do for whomever the customer is and 2) Are they excited about doing it everyday? The answers to those 2 questions will tell you a lot…you adjust from there. Have a great day!!