The past three weeks has seen me return to my old profession of swimming coaching. Long story short. My old club Melbourne Vicente needed a coach to fill in for three weeks and one of my ex swimmers, the wonderful Nicole Livingstone thought it would be great idea for me to dust off the old stop watch, reset the alarm clock and get myself back on pool deck.
The one thing about swimming coaching is that it brings with it early mornings and although my brief return didn’t mean I was getting up any earlier than normal, it did however mean that I was around a lot more people in the early hours of the morn.
Early mornings unfortunately do not always bring out the best in people and for me, it was interesting to avail myself of the chance to reacquaint myself with what people were like at 5.00am. What did it do to them, how do they act, what are the like with others?
A pool environment at 5.00am also means that people are getting ready to work and although it maybe in different capacities, everyone is there to do a job. Coaches, pool Management, Athletes, pool Staff all getting ready for their workday to begin.
The routine at this particular pool was similar each day, pool Staff and Coaches entered through the back door between 4.50-5.10am whilst Athletes were ushered in through the front door between 5.00-5.15am.
The pool Staff were responsible to get the pool set up prior to the Athletes hitting the water at 5.30am.
Their tasks included organising pool configuration, allocating lanes, tightening lane ropes, removing submersible pool cleaners and rolling out the rubber mats around the edge of the main pool. in real terms, there is quite a lot to get done in a short period of time so that training for the athletes could begin right on the stroke of 5.30am.
In my experience these situations bring out either the very best or the complete opposite in people. For the most part over my return stint I saw diligent, hard working staff doing everything they could to get the job done and done properly.
However there was an exception.
On one particular morning a young female pool attendant/lifeguard had been assigned two jobs. The first, was to roll out the rubber mats that sit around the edge of the pool, the second was to lower the false floor in the main pool to a height of 2.10 meters.
Lowering the pool floor,not problem, dial in the required height and press the green button. Rubber mats, well, that requires slightly more involvement and an increased level of human exertion. On this day the young lady of whom we speak was no more interested in rolling out those mats than flying to the moon. Pretty much wherever the mats landed after she threw them on the floor is where they were going to be rolled out.
It was amazing to watch someone who in their mind obviously had reasons as to why there was absolutely no need to take any amount of care and diligence in doing this task.
So within10-15 mins the matts were on the floor and off went our young lady to her next task. In her mind job completed!
Problem was it hadn’t been done right, not just in my opinion but also in the view of one of her colleagues who had come along and noticed how the mats had been rolled out and therefore, took it upon herself to shift each and every mat into a correct position.
So now we have two people doing the job of one!
But as they say in those infomercials …”Wait there is more”.
So our second young lady does what she can to rectify the situation but at the same time, she has other things she needs to do, so after a quickly rearranging some of the mats, she moves on to her next job.
Next thing, along comes the shift Supervisor. He takes one look at the mats and decides they are still not up to scratch so he then proceeds to finish the job by organising the mats in their proper configuration.
By this time I am losing my mind.
I pull the athletes out of the water and talk them through what I have witnessed over the last 30 mins.
My message was simple…”if you have the responsibility to do something, then do it and do well. And if you don’t know how to do it, then ask someone to tell you what needs to be done and how and then do it”
But don’t do your job in a way that will have someone needing to come along after you and do the job properly because you didn’t.
Pride and responsibility. Two key areas to make sure that in the right way, and for all the right reasons…
The Journey Continues!