Do your jobLast month I think I was a little bit too cryptic in the title of my newsletter. So this month I’ll be a little more Direct.

If you want to keep your job, get promoted, build your business and have happy customers all you have to do is – do your job.

I seemed to have hit a nerve in the Happyology keynote, when I tell people if they wish to be happy at work and have a happy manager all they have to do is – their job.

Recently after a talk the MD of a large construction company thanked me for my presentation. He had just realised that he and his co-directors had spent the most part of the past year doing nothing more than setting up policies and procedures to ensure that people, just do their jobs.

People complain that we have no leadership, yet when walking into most companies you will find instead of leading, leaders are spending most of their time chastising, disciplining, negotiating with labour, the unions and sitting at the CCMA fighting with people who didn’t do their job. Imagine if that time was actually spent leading the company to new horizons!

I realised just the other day while watching Man United losing to Swansea that the reason they lost was because someone didn’t do his job. His job was to mark a player. He didn’t do his job. The opposition scored and United lost. It’s really the same with any sport, let’s see how the Boks do their jobs in England this month.

So whether it’s textbooks not getting delivered to children in rural areas, no supplies on hospital shelves or no nurses to deliver babies – someone just didn’t do their job.

Getting a divorce? Someone is not doing his job. Someone is not doing her job. Let’s face it when we sign up for a marriage it’s basically a job. The employment contract is pretty simple and read out and agreed to before God and all of your relatives, and hers.

Generally the holy guy will ask you in your position as wife / husband if you will have this woman / man to be your wife / husband, to live together in holy marriage? Will you love her / him, comfort her / him, honor, and keep her / him in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, be faithful to her / him as long as you both shall live? You reply an emphatic “I will!”, and with that the employment contract is sealed.

For the most part and especially in the beginning it’s a fun job. There is the caring job, the listening job, the sharing job, the time and attention job, a few fun jobs, and all the other jobs that go into running a successful marriage. But then someone stops doing their job or just some of the jobs. That’s why I honestly believe that a more complete job description should accompany all marriage certificates. So when someone stops doing their job (the way they did them before the nuptials) they are in breach of contract and they can be called on to be accountable.

I was once asked if I could record clever messages for a call centre so that the customers would be occupied whilst on hold and waiting for the phone to be answered. My reply was simple; just answer the phone and help the customer immediately. In other words just do your job. Don’t make excuses as to why it can’t be done. Don’t tell me that I don’t realise (I love it when people tell me real-lies), and please don’t try and rationalize (tell me the rational-lies).

one jobYou accepted a job and the responsibility. You said “I will do the job”. So do the job! Don’t do it half, don’t do most of it, and don’t have good intentions or mean to do the job – just do your job.

I love the words of Vince Lombardi when he said, “Winning is an all-time thing. You don’t do things right once in awhile you do them right all the time.”

At this point I can see most managers and business owners are literally giving me a standing ovation and offering me s3xu4l favours. But before you hit the send button forwarding this message on to all the section heads to disseminate these words of wisdom, depth and philosophical amazing–ment at the next staff meeting, let’s not get ahead of ourselves shall we!

If you were doing your job your little minions would be doing theirs! People generally don’t do their jobs because there are no consequences. People complain about staff not being accountable and responsible. Lovely words, nice things to say around the boardroom or as a keynote at the company conference.  BUT …

What makes people accountable and responsible, is knowing that consequences are real and dealt out firmly, fairly and consistently!   

Read that again!

passive aggressiveMost leaders and managers should rather go and make chocolate or watches because they are too afraid of holding anybody accountable and they avoid conflict like the Swiss! Research tells us that 80% of people in any form of leadership capacity will avoid conflict and tolerate poor performance instead of confronting it head-on. Half of people in organisations will just merely work around the nonperformance. Non-performing people create a culture of frustration, anger and disappointment. It also creates one person who will be called upon not only to do their own jobs but to continuously do the job of the others who do not perform. In South Africa I think they’re called “the Kippie or “Kippie the ….”

There are really three basic messages here today:

  1. Do your job
  2. If you are any form of leader do your job, by getting others do their jobs
  3. Hold them accountable & make them responsible

Stop asking me to tell people to be accountable and responsible at your conference. Stop telling people to be accountable and responsible. Hold them accountable and responsible and you will have accountable and responsible people who do their jobs. If the people on the floor are not performing it’s because the manager is not performing. If the manager is not doing his job it’s because his director is not doing his job. This goes on and on until you find where the buck stops. And it normally stops at the person asking other people to be accountable and responsible for their jobs!

Life really isn’t that complicated. Just do your job. Nothing more, nothing less.

Have a great month, now that you’ve wasted 15 minutes reading this nonsense,

Go Do Your Job!

  1. Kathy Singery says:

    Damn straight

    Dont look back ~ you’re not going there


  2. Paul Gouge says:

    Spot on, the more you give the more you will receive cool cheers


  3. Nisha says:

    Good one

    Assuring you of my best service and attention at all times!

    Keep in touch!


  4. Sue says:

    I ma making this part of Company Policy !


  5. Braam says:

    The beginning of an essay penned by Bob Black in 1985 entitled “The Abolition of Work” read, “No one should ever work. Work is the source of nearly all the misery in the world. Almost any evil you’d care to name comes from working or from living in a world designed for work. In order to stop suffering, we have to stop working.” In a leisure-loving culture, many would wholeheartedly echo Black’s sentiment. Americans spend approximately 50 percent of their waking hours devoted to work. Is work a curse, or is it something that humans were uniquely designed to do? In stark contrast to the assertions of Bob Black, the significance and beneficial nature of work is a resounding theme in the Bible.

    The origin of work is depicted in the book of Genesis. In the opening passage, God is the primary worker, busy with the creation of the world (Genesis 1:1-15). The Bible states that God worked for six days and rested on the seventh day. These passages reveal that God was the first to do work on the earth. Therefore, legitimate work reflects the activity of God. Because God is inherently good, work is also inherently good (Psalm 25:8; Ephesians 4:28). Furthermore, Genesis 1:31 declares that, when God viewed the fruit of His labor, He called it “very good.” God examined and assessed the quality of His work, and when He determined that He had done a good job, He took pleasure in the outcome. By this example, it is apparent that work should be productive. Work should be conducted in a way that produces the highest quality outcome. The reward for work is the honor and satisfaction that comes from a job well done.

    Psalm 19 says that God reveals Himself to the world by His work. Through natural revelation, God’s existence is made known to every person on earth. Thus, work reveals something about the one doing the work. It exposes underlying character, motivations, skills, abilities, and personality traits. Jesus echoed this principle in Matthew 7:15-20 when He declared that bad trees produce only bad fruit and good trees only good fruit. Isaiah 43:7 indicates that God created man for His own glory. In 1 Corinthians 10:31 we read that whatever we do should be to His glory. The term glorify means “to give an accurate representation.” (Quoted from


  6. Clive Fanner says:

    Hi Gavin,

    Fantastic read and very simple yet truthful message!!!


    Clive Fanner


  7. Frank Furness says:

    As usual, love it Gav.


  8. Hi Gavin A1 again…. not the tip of the iceberg but the huge chunk lying beneath that needs to be doing any job well…..some people cannot see the berg beneath the waters… though ….


  9. Mark says:

    And that’s why I rate Gavin as my favorite “real world” speaker in South Africa!


  10. Vincent says:

    Excellent article, thank you.


  11. Salome says:

    Your article, I think, goes hand-in-hand with my motto – “Get the basics right and the rest will follow!” It’s actually quite simple.

    Thanks for your straight forward newsletter.


  12. Theresa says:

    Agreed. I like his reality checks. Amazing how many line managers dont do what they are supposed to about poor/non performance.


  13. Anne Marx says:

    excellent GAVIN you have hit the nail hard on its head thank you for inspiration


  14. Sonja says:

    Hi Gavin. I have just wasted 15 minutes of my precious time reading your September 2015 newsletter,,,,,,,,,,,,but it was worth every minute of it!!! Just do your job! 🙂


  15. Peter says:

    So much time is wasted when dealing with government departments in my experience that I guess like my wife says I should learn to be more tolerant towards those who clearly cannot do their job properly. It doesn’t matter that I have to repeat myself in clear concise English multiple times when engaged in a telephone conversation or in person. It doesn’t matter that none of my questions are addressed accurately or at all in the emails I send to government departments. I t also doesn’t matter that when asked to collect my business visa from VFS Global in town that we both book a day off to find that we have wasted our time travelling in to Cape Town and waiting for ages because some idiot at Home Affairs hasn’t done their job or when the fact that I had to make 4 trips to HA to collect my son’s birth certificate or in
    Or indeed the fact that HA lost our marriage certificate. No indeed this is all perfectly acceptable because this is the norm.
    With that been said why should I stress about any of this after all they don’t. When I am asked to do something in my job I do it to the best of my ability ALWAYS… why? Because I have high standards… nope… merely to ensure I do my job.

    I think the problem apart from possibly poor training and cultural attitudes, could be, and forgive me for the following wrong usage of protocols but it is bandied about so much in business these days, the staff stick solidly to the …protocols (and in some cases idiot cards) at their disposal that there is no room to use common sense, even in the smallest way possible such as… I don’t know the answer to your question sir but I’ll check with someone else who may be able to assist.
    You know I was once told that with age one learns to become more tolerant and while this is true up to a point because you simply begin to care less about the stupidity and inefficiency of others it is also untrue because we have had a lifetime of experience in dealing with these issues and I’ll be damned if I’m going to accept some of the idiotic and disrespectful responses I hear from some sources.
    Is it just government departments? No it is everywhere, Banks, shops, lawyers etc.
    Rant over… for now

    As always Gavin, very topical


  16. Mike Lund says:

    Very well put Gavin, words of a very wise man! If every man / woman will just do their job, businesses will run so much smoother! Thank you Gavin.


  17. Andre says:

    Thanks Gavin – but please help with some examples of “holding accountable” and “consequences” especially in the SA context. As the way I want to implement the above is currently socially and legally unacceptable – hahahaha. Especially when the individual concerned is a fellow director


  18. Paul says:

    Well said Gavin,this advice should be imposed on our government and it’s employees!


  19. Joachim Du Toit says:

    I was doing my job when I read your mail – 15 minutes well spent. I am going to hold the people accountable – will be a big surprise to them !

    Thanks for your e-mail -never a waste of time – keeping everything in perspective,
    regards and enjoy your day,


  20. Liina says:

    I really enjoy reading your nonsense, humor.
    I will do my job and share this information with everyone .


  21. Sipho Msomi says:

    Don’t ask for my comment, just do your job, I will do mine! I got the message


  22. Keith Wakefield says:

    Hi Gavin,
    Once again excellent- will be in touch


  23. Rita Kabinga says:

    Very nice Garvin, thanks for this. Let me get back and do my JOB.


  24. Mpho Letlatsa says:

    Ooh I love this..especially because it touches on marriage

    So true that when one stops doing his/her job in a marriage, things start falling apart and so true about a JOB as well

    Good one Gavin

    Keep up the good work…I love your LOGO (cap) still and your slogan(everyone’s entitled to MY opinion) . wow…

    “see” you in October


  25. Marina Knox says:

    Love it!


  26. Gavin Sobey says:

    Brilliant stuff!
    Thanks for info!


  27. Leon Van Der Westhuizen says:

    Brilliant Gavin, thanks.

    Now, I need to go do my job…


  28. Michael Foster says:



    Michael Foster


  29. Oswald Maloy says:

    Thanks Gavin


  30. George Uukelo says:

    Hi Gavin.

    It was a wonderful opportunity for me to read the mail and it really making sense to change human’s behavior toward their jobs and I love to see more of this mails, thanks.


  31. agnes vermaak says:

    great read i am going to do my job now.


  32. Peter Enslin says:

    This was a great article – brilliant in its simplicity. Well done.

    Kind regards

    Peter Enslin


  33. Sophie says:

    Awe .. !! “Go Big Or Go Home .. !!”


  34. Charles Orsmond says:

    Hi Gavin, enjoyed another practical message. Have forwarded to my superiors for their interest.
    I am interested in the Big Five as an analogy towards Sales achievements. We can learn a lot from our fellow Africans when it comes to attaining goals.
    Kind regards,
    Charles Orsmond


  35. Samkelisiwe Malevu says:

    Nice one! Very powerful

    Kind regards


  36. Gugulethu Buthelezi says:

    Thank you Gavin. Very relevant message


  37. Elmari says:

    Wow, I just love this message. I want to share this to everybody around me and even if only one listen and pass the message the workforce might just be improving day by day.
    There is a wonderful saying: “A bad attitude is like a flat tire, you can’t go anywhere until you change it”


  38. BRAVO!!!!!! Very intense, truthful, plain and simple message to just get on with getting on!!


  39. ndagiremavis says:

    wow thank you , its reality and we have to accept


  40. thandie zwane says:

    good one Gav , it is called integrity and credibility


  41. nomzamo says:

    eish simple as that Gav…… ok let me go and do my job lol, yours is done


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