The Doorway to Paradise

Over the holidays, our family stepped into a little diner not far from St. Augustine, Florida. The place had a modest, tropical feel, and the food was actually quite delicious. At one point, needing to get my young son to the restroom, I found this sign:

Come this way to Paradise. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Come this way to Paradise. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

I thought this was a funny way to describe where the restroom was. I turned down the hallway in search of the restrooms. In truth, it wasn’t directions to the restrooms themselves, but to someplace else. I discovered what that someplace was when I saw these signs down that hallway:

The doorway to Paradise. Photo by J. Jeff Kober
The doorway to Paradise. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Apparently the doorway to Paradise leads to the same place you go to when washing dishes!

What is Paradise? One definition for Paradise is “an ideal or idyllic place or state.” Most people do not think that they are opening the doorway to Paradise when they head off to work. In fact, I would dare say that most people think that it’s just the opposite. But what would it take to create a doorway to Paradise in your work location–even if it involved washing dishes?

  • Be surrounded by people you love to work with.
  • Feel like you are making a difference to others.
  • Do what you do best every day.
  • Feel recognized for the work you do.
  • Learn something new.
  • Have others truly care for you.
  • Feel proud about what you do.

I honestly feel that if you could feel most all those things every day, it just might seem like Paradise. And yet, these are foundational for employee engagement. In fact, they would be the very kinds of things that would be assessed in an employee engagement survey. And our model shows that there is a chain reaction of excellence when people are engaged:

World Class Benchmarking's Chain Reaction of Excellence.
World Class Benchmarking’s Chain Reaction of Excellence.

Not only is being engaged like being in paradise, you create paradise for your customers when you are engaged, because the cause and effect is a highly satisfied customer. And highly satisfied customers create for growth and mission success, which really means paradise every day.

Of course, what drives all of that is Leadership Excellence, which is a book in and of itself. But know that if you–regardless of position–can help others to experience those bulleted items listed above, then you are being a leader. And there’s nothing better than being a leader in paradise.

So ask yourself, where does the doorway to your workplace lead to? Is it leading toward Paradise? And how are you as a leader helping to make that a reality?

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