Help them “Run Back to the Barn”

HorseWhat brought our family to Colorado was a wonderful experience in the early ’80’s at a dude ranch in Sedalia, CO (only about an hour from where we live today).

The Lost Valley Ranch is a family owned and operated working ranch. Its Rocky Mountains location is gorgeous – but what makes it special is the guest experience. Programs for all ages, activities of all kinds (including hammock napping, if that floats your boat), fabulous mealtimes with family, and great entertainment by the ranch staff make the experience special.

Our family went three times over six years. These trips helped our daughter fall in love with Colorado. She went to college here, fell in love here, and settled here. The rest of us have followed her lead to end up living in this beautiful state.

At the ranch, each adult was assigned a horse at the beginning of the week. Wranglers would discuss your experience with riding (or lack thereof) and pair you up with a horse that would accommodate your skill level. They wanted us to be safe and have fun on our rides.

I wasn’t an experienced rider. I was assigned a beautiful, big Paint Horse that was steady and sure-footed. As I grew more comfortable with riding those first days, I wanted my horse to gallop a bit. And, my horse wasn’t a galloper. No matter what I tried out on the trail or in the fields, I couldn’t get him to run on command.

However, he did run consistently when we reached sight of the barn, his home. At the end of our trail rides, he’d run back to the barn, every time.

It wasn’t surprising. His barn, his stall, was home. He was fed there. He was lovingly bathed and groomed there. His peers were there (horses are social animals, which I didn’t know). The barn was a cool place to be. So, he ran home – because he loved the barn.

Is your workplace somewhere employees run to? Are they excited to get to work, to serve customers, to solve problems with valued peers, and things like that? Or are they not that enthused about getting to work each day, more listless than inspired?

Leaders, choose to create a workplace that is a cool place for employees to be. If they’re treated consistently with dignity and respect, they’ll thrive there. If they’re given challenging work that makes a difference, they’ll bring their best selves to work. If they’re valued for their efforts as well as their accomplishments, they’ll apply discretionary energy to team goals.

And, if peers also treat them with dignity and respect, that’ll be an even greater draw.

#Workplace Inspiration doesn’t happen naturally. Power plays, politics, and ladder-climbing is what happens in workplaces naturally. If you want #Workplace Inspiration, you must intentionally model it and demand it, of everyone.

That’ll make employees “run back to the barn,” at the start of every workday.

What do you think? How inspiring is your workplace today? What did your #GreatBosses do to craft a work environment where you thrived? Share your thoughts about this post/podcast in the comments section below.

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