58 | Finding purpose in foreign climes

July 15, 2019

 

We're just back from an amazing three-week trip in Borneo.  Though in fairness, to call it a 'trip' is to do it a massive injustice - it was an experience of a lifetime for all of us.

 

We did the lot - orangutans (there's one in that pic!), sun bears, mountain climbing, jungle camping, river safaris, releasing baby turtles, snorkeling - you name it, we did it.

 

The one thing that really stood out in many of the experiences was the passion people had for what they did. 

  • The volunteers who worked in the world-famous Orangutan rehabilitation centre in Sepilok training abandoned orangs how to survive in the wild

  • Our snorkeling guide who carried a string bag for rubbish he/we might find along the way

  • Walter the river guide who was so proud and knowledgeable about the jungle he brought his guests through

  • The team who ran the turtle hatchery and who cleaned the beaches every day to ensure mother turtles came ashore to lay

  • The drivers who brought us from pillar to post and were always happy to share some history, a story or an experience to bring a bit of colour to every bumpy journey

  • Even the staff in the very lovely 5* Shangri-La hotel who always said hello, always had a smile were always happy to chat or answer questions (and, looking at their site, their mission couldn't be more spot-on 'To delight our guests every time by creating engaging experiences straight from our heart')

The upshot was that whether their purpose was animal conservation, tourism or ecology, THEY CARED. And they cared about something that was bigger than just doing their job in pursuit of a pay packet. 

 

And for us as visitors, that made our trip, made us advocates and ensured that we would go on to recommend everything we had done (that said, my 11-year-old daughter may be slow to recommend the jungle camp where there was a spider the size of her hand in her bed!) :-)

 

We spent our last few days in Kuala Lumpur.  It was roasting, and much of our time was invested in dragging the kids between various vendors of cooling ice creams (I'm still weaning myself off macadamia magnums) and juices!  One of those was Boost, an Australian juice-bar franchise under the famous KL Towers - a busy spot with maybe 6-8 people peeling and slicing fruit and making smoothies and juices with it - pretty manual work for which they're likely paid not much more than minimum wage I'd guess.

 

However, it was on one of our visits that I noticed their customer promise.  It closed with :

 

'We're not just here to make juices and smoothies. We're here to make you smile'

 

For me, if that business truly believes that and lives it every single day of the week, then those people's jobs aren't at all about prepping fruit or running blenders or smoothie recipes

 

They're about something much, much more motivating and impactful.

 

What's your business doing to engender that in your people?

 

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