The purpose of business is to provide goods or services that create sustainable profit. I learned that over 30 years ago when I started my first business mowing lawns. It became a full-time second job that supplemented my teaching income. Within a few years it expanded to 88 customers and 7 employees. “Quality” service grew my business; good safety and employment practices kept me in business; and, a very healthy and energetic workforce contributed to a profitable business. It lasted 9 years. Subsequent jobs provided business experience and an MBA, but all I ever needed to know I learned behind a lawn mower.
Pushing a lawn mower taught me two very important business principles: 1) Provide the highest quality good or service possible, and 2) Take care of your most valuable asset - your employees. I did not need OSHA regulations to compel me; rather, I simply did what was in the best interests of my customers and employees.
In recent years, my understanding of taking care of employees has expanded. “Care” extends beyond keeping people safe on the job and providing competitive wages and benefits. The same care that ensures the highest performance from equipment, e.g., a lawn mower, should be extended to employees. Regular preventive maintenance, routine diagnostic testing, scheduled downtime, and ideal environmental conditions are measures taken to ensure optimum machine performance. Shouldn’t our most valuable asset, the employee operating the machine, receive the same quality attention?
We maintain a machine with the belief that it will enhance performance and extend its life. Humans function the same way. Good “human maintenance” should make employee health and well-being as much a priority as quality and safety measures. When that is practiced, employees will perform at a higher level and last longer - both at work and on the planet!
M. J. White is the creator of “LEAN Wellness”, which transforms work environments with a radically different bottom-up approach that inspires continuous improvement in health and wellbeing. To learn more, visit the website at: www.wellstreet.us or email M. J. directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org