image courtesy of shutterstock.com
My intention with each of these posts is that you’re challenged to interrupt the noise and routine in your life, just for a moment, to think more deeply about what really matters in life… your relationship with yourself and with others in your professional and personal life.
I reckon our green recycling bin truck driver might have had a dose of what Daniel Powter sings in his catchy song ‘Bad Day’.
The first verse starts with … “Where is the moment we needed the most? You kick up the leaves, and the magic is lost.”
Talk about kicking up leaves … Along our entire street this morning, green recycle bins were left on their sides on the road, up against parked cars and leaves and green refuse from the bins that didn’t make it into the back of the truck were left for me and my neighbours to clean up.
The chorus of Powter’s song starts with the words “Cause you had a bad day” … and I reckon our green recycling bin truck driver was most definitely having a bad day.
To Complain or Not to Complain – That is the question
What would you have done in my situation?
For me, this wasn’t just about some person having a bad day and … this impacted our entire street.
So, I called the company who the council contracts to collect our garbage and recycling bins to report the indiscretion (don’t judge me – when you’re in a service business you need to know when you’re doing well as well as when you’re not meeting expectations).
I was required to provide my name and street address before the supervisor would speak with me, which I didn’t give much thought to, and had no problem in providing.
When I was put through to Shane the supervisor, he was very pleasant and as I shared with him what had happened, he asked if this was a regular occurrence, which my reply was “no”.
In fact, I assured Shane the supervisor “we’ve never had an issue with any of the bin collections since we moved into our home over five years ago now”.
Shane the supervisor assured me he would contact the driver and have him return to clean up what had been tipped onto the road in front of our homes.
This is a great example of a leader taking accountability for the work that his contractor was responsible for.
It was less than five minutes later the truck driver returned.
We watched from our front window the truck driver gets out of his truck, and with a broom and shovel he got from the back of his truck, he swept up the mess in front of our next door neighbour’s house, and shovelled it into their green bin, and placed the bin in an upright position.
He then walked over to our house and again, swept up the mess and shovelled it into our bin and placed the bin in an upright position.
He then returned to the truck, restowed the broom and shovel behind the cabin, reversed the truck and then collected our neighbour’s bin with the automatic arm and emptied the contents of the green bin into the back of the truck.
With amazement, we then watched him drive slowly forward to position the truck next to our green bin, which the automatic arm gripped, and then watch our green recycle bin simply be dropped into the back of the garbage truck and off he drove with it.
I reckon he was having a real bad day.
Organisational Trust and Individual Responsibility
Still shaking my head in disbelief, I again called the company contracted by the council to collect the bins, and updated Shane the Supervisor.
Shane the supervisor assured me he would have a new replacement bin to my house tomorrow.
(Just an aside, we are still green bin-less after three days).
Here’s the thing … at this stage, having lived here now for over five years, this is the first time we have had an issue with our garbage collection. I still trust that Shane will allocate the responsibility to one of his team to get our new green bin to us – that’s what he is accountable for.
Even if it takes a few more days (three and counting so far), not too much damage to the reputation of the Council or the company contracted for garbage collection has been done.
However, as my friend and author of The Truth About Trust in Business, Vanessa Hall says “Trust is fragile!”
None of us are perfect, and we all make mistakes.
It’s fair to say that we all have bad days.
I don’t know what was causing the truck driver to have a bad day, and I’m certainly not judging him.
The purpose of me sharing this experience (yes there is a purpose) is it’s a reminder that whenever you, me or any of us have a bad day, we need to take care that our bad day doesn’t become everyone else’s bad day as well.
When I called the supervisor, I wasn’t upset about our bin, and just wanted to report that their driver might be having a bad day and to check in on him … oh, and yes, I still expected my garbage and recycling bins to be collected without incident.
You might want to suggest I could have just let it go, cleaned up the mess myself (as some of the neighbours further along our street did), and I would still have my bin.
However, I reckon one of the problems we face today is a lack of responsibility and accountability.
Accountability, Responsibility and Trust
When there is a lack of responsibility and accountability for our actions and our results and the impact of those actions and results on others, we put trust at risk.
And, when trust is at risk … everything is at risk.
What are you responsible or accountable for in your various life roles and how well are you holding yourself accountable for that responsibility and accounta