Showing Up Seems To Make Sense

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showing up

Showing Up Seems To Make Sense

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There are many stories out there about the effects of low unemployment numbers. Some doubt the validity of the numbers, some suggest they can’t find anyone to hire. Others are just thankful that employees are showing up for work.

I want to ask, “Is that the best we can do?”

If our expectation as an organization leader is that we are grateful when people are showing up for work, something must be wrong.

Showing Up

I remember years ago when the chairperson of a community workforce meeting stated that finding employees was a challenge for local business owners. The chairperson asked a CEO in attendance, “Are you fully staffed, and if so, how are you doing it?”

The response of this CEO took me aback. He said, “Simple, we ignore the pot.”

What he meant was that through drug testing they were willing to overlook someone who tested positive for marijuana use. This was in the early 2000’s.

I’m not writing this to spark a debate about marijuana use. I’m expressing this scenario to ask, “Is this the best we can do?”

What is going on when organizations must lower their standards in order to onboard or keep employees? Worse, what is happening when they are happy they have succeeded? When they are overjoyed that people are showing up?

Tough Problem

I recognize that this is not an easy problem to tackle. I also recognize that there may be many factors involved.

Things that often bubble to the surface are things like, generational challenges, pay scales, and dirty jobs.

Maybe it is something a little more complex and less obvious. Perhaps there are connections to the organizational culture.

Does the CEO measure the value of employees as human capital (an investment), or are they measured as an expense (keep this number low)? There is a significant difference in the mindset.

When we are overjoyed that people are just showing up for work, we’re caught in a downward spiral.

Maybe the standards need to change. Maybe the culture, the business model, or the vision of leadership should pivot.

Just showing up, is that the best we can do? 


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+

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Dennis Gilbert

January 31, 2019at 5:35 am

I agree there are societal pressures or (PC-ness) that are shifting and shaping what is considered acceptable, desirable, and in good taste. Maybe Great, Great, Granddad said the same thing (I’ll never know for sure). I think there are sometimes good reasons for change and sometimes silly reasons for change. Since I’m in the workforce space, my hope is that we continue to make workplaces great. Thanks for dropping a comment!


January 30, 2019at 9:33 am

“What is going on when organizations must lower their standards in order to onboard or keep employees? ”

Lowering standards for just about everything has been going on for decades. It happens in the work place, the family, in church…everywhere.

In this era of PC where an accusation is equal to a jury conviction, the standard by which allegations become truths has been trampled. A major mid-PA Entertainment corporation uses an animated commercial with bouncing boobs to promote a theatrical performance but don’t be the guy be caught staring at some cleavage.

It is hard enough to stick to a standard that people all agree upon…it is impossible to recognize a standard when it changes to suit the agenda and economic interests of the du jour validator of the standard at issue.


Make America Strong Again… is yet another example. Why is strength out of fashion?

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