I was talking with a good friend and business associate earlier today, and we were discussing some of her staff. Other than senior leaders in her company, her team is content to show up for work, do what needs to be done, and leave. Nothing more. No passion, no excitement, no adding value. She’s tried various methods to engage, encourage and reward the higher level thinking and behaviors she’s looking for – but to no avail. And in one-on-one conversations these employees have indicated that they’re content with the status quo.

My friend and I are both very driven, and have extremely high expectations of our staff. I’m fortunate that the MBM team are all highly committed and driven. But what is it about her staff? It’s not a generational issue, nor is it level of work, type of career or compensation issue. We came to the conclusion that it’s a mindset – a wish to have a job, but not a career. Which is certainly understandable, especially if someone has other priorities or challenges in his or her life.

However, there’s another aspect of mind set that is not mutually exclusive of “job not career.” I recall a concept from Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged) that stated no matter what you do, do it to your very best. It doesn’t matter if you’re the president of the company, a street sweeper, a mailman, a dishwasher, a mother or a mid-level manager. Be true to your greatest abilities and talents and do your very best, with pride and passion, every day. Obviously, that’s my version of the concept – but it’s one that I read when I was just finishing college (the 1980’s) and it’s stuck with me ever since.

Having employees who do their best, every day is a good indicator that your brand is clear — and clearly delivered. No one is more responsible for your brand experience than your employees. Have you ever been to Trader Joes? If so, I don’t need to say more, and if you haven’t, then go. Today. Their staff knows how to deliver their brand – with confidence and passion because they want to do their best, every day.

Think about it – for you, for your employees, and for your brand. Are the people on your team the ones you want? What kind of brand experience are they giving your clients?

– Maggi