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On one side of the coin it reads, “How do I help my workers achieve?” On the other side, “How do I make a contribution in this job?” These are the two sides of the same coin of managing people.

Recently, we were catching up with our friend who works as a receptionist at a campground where my wife and I spend several nights each year under the stars. We’ve always been impressed with Ola and her customer service and people skills. At 82 years of age, Ola looks forward to coming to work each day, serving her customers, and being the ambassador of her campground’s brand.

The campground has been under the same management for years and in all that time the owners have never shared their organization’s purpose and vision with Ola. Curbing my speculation, it seems their main interest is in maintenance, making physical upgrades, and keeping track of the cash flow and accounts. The rest, they leave to chance.

Well, as chance would have it, Ola is intuitively filling in the rest. She has a keen sense of what the campground stands for and its small-but-growing reputation as a destination. She recounts stories about visitors from all over the U.S. and several points abroad. How they heard about her place, how she made them feel welcome, and the positive experiences they had. She gets post cards from friends she’s made as they pass through her campground and her life.

I asked her if the owners support her and help her achieve these amazing results. Her reply, “No, not really. But, I don’t let that interfere with my purpose here.”

Ola demonstrates impressive knowledge in three little words, “My purpose here.” She looks for the ways to realize the unused potential in her job. She’s working for something larger than herself. She’s achieving results for her customers. Ola is a self-managed executive and an inspiration.


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