Beyond the line of duty

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

– Confucius

The other day I was riding the bus on my way to work after dropping my kid at school. Granted, I don’t use transit as much as I should, but nonetheless I did that day. And one thing that strike me was the driver’s behaviour. 

The bus driver that day not only drove the bus flawlessly, was friendly and careful, but he did something quite unusual I’ve never seen before, particularly from a bus driver: he announced the bus stops not only by letting you know the closest street crossing to help you locate the stop, but he also explained to all passengers what sightseeing activities, important sites, etc were nearby that same stop. And he did that for every single stop! 

Think about it… right there, an amazing display of clear understanding the value that the bus and his job, provides to bus riders. He clearly understood his value was not just about taking people from point A to point B, but that people is in need to reach a destination, and for that the bus rider might need more than just a bus to get there. He/she might need information, either geolocation, or suggestions on things to do/see/experience.

I think it is safe to say that the bus driver did this on his own; that he did not get trained by the bus company  to do that (and if it was, kudos to the bus company!). That was simply an amazing display of seeing beyond his own job duty, and understanding that the ultimate value is measured by the bus riders, its ultimate clients. Increasing ridership on public transport ultimately benefits the bus company, hence the bus driver in particular and his job security.

There is a lesson there for everyone. We all do a certain job, a task, to accomplish something. But as the bus driver, we should be looking beyond our duty and try to understand what’s the value we bring, and what our customers are ultimate interested in. What are their needs, and how does our work help cover those needs? Do we see beyond the most immediate needs? 

In my daily job at Wazuku Advisory Group, I provide, just like all my colleagues, expert counsel to clients in need of specific support. Customers rely on me to give them the best advice and guidance on complex topics related to their business and/or major projects. Some times their needs are geared towards minimizing risk, sometimes is about maximizing throughput, sometimes is about peace of mind… Whatever it is, we must proactively search for that ultimate need and do everything it takes to provide it. Just like the bus driver, he woke up that same morning and actively decided to make an extra effort, and boy he did…

You could argue that he probably loved his job, and that was the reason why he proactively decided to go a step further without being asked to. And you might be right. To quote Confucius: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” That’s where I believe organizations play a key role in incentivizing this kind of behaviour. We all should act like the bus driver without expecting anything in return, but reality is that most will not, so organizations must look for ways to support individuals acting like this regularly, until it becomes part of the company’s culture. 

But for now, let’s all cheer up for that anonymous TransLink bus driver, and let his dedication influence us all in our daily jobs.  

Cheers,

– David 

“Opportunity is missed by most because is it dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

– Thomas Edison 

Photo credit: Andy Beales – unsplash.com