Do you want a better company culture? That is not out of your reach. A couple of years ago, I shared some of my thoughts on this. Follow the link below to read about it.
Today is Valentine’s Day. Here in the US, that means there will be lots of flowers and chocolates and cards given. Restaurants will be packed with lovers.
All this brought to mind a verse from the Bible. It is in Romans 12:10:
“Love one another in brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”
Now, you may not be a person a faith. That’s ok. Stay with me here.
I often tell people who ask that I like my job and love the people I work with. It’s true. I’m not perfect in this, but most days and in most moments, it’s true. It’s what drives me to serve them, to push them to be their best, to cheer them on.
But I want to focus on the second part of this verse – “Outdo one another in showing honor.”
What would happen to your company culture if the majority of the team did exactly this? I know many of us seem to be in competitions with each other within our companies. People strive to be the top dog in sales. Project leaders are looking to excel more than the last project manager.
But what if we all started striving to “outdo one another in showing honor.” How would conversations sound differently? How would meetings be run? How would conversations about someone who is not present sound (would those conversations stop?)? How would even casual interactions change for the better? How would your company’s culture change?
So, on this Valentine’s Day, I challenge you and me to work to outdo one another in showing honor. I think this could have a positive, systemic effect in your workplace. It can become a place where we honor, respect, and appreciate each other.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Much has been written about networking. There appears to be a change in how people view networking today. Let me be clear – I enjoy networking events. My brother and I started one that has grown to 3 major cities in 2 states! But it’s how we and those who participate in First Fridays Fort Wayne approach networking that makes the difference.
To many, networking is simply about meeting as many people as you can at an event and handing out business cards as if they were candy. Keep it upbeat. Keep it on the surface. High energy. This, in and of itself, is not bad. That approach may work.
But it doesn’t work for me. I want to encourage you to try a new approach.
How to Expand Your Relationship Reach
- Approach Networking Intentionally. Go to an event in order to seek out new relationships. That may result in exchanging business cards. Absolutely be upbeat. But make your goal to get to know someone better. Learn who they are, what drives them, how they impact the community, what leadership looks like to them in their current circumstance.
- Follow up & Follow through. Networking events should not become a one-and-done event. When you seek to get to know someone more, the networking event is only the start. After the event, follow up with an email or a LinkedIn message. Thank the person for their time. Thank them for sharing with you – allowing you into their world. Then invite them to coffee, breakfast, or lunch. Guess what? People will talk with you when you buy them a meal! They really will!
- Intentionally Prepare to Add Value. When you get together over coffee or a meal, come prepared with more questions to ask. Prior to this meeting, visit their website (personal or business). Review their LinkedIn profile and content. Your goal should be to have an engaging conversation that will lead to understanding the person better, understanding their business, and how you can help them connect with others, grow their business, and become better.
- Introduce Them to Other Leaders. Learn the skill of connecting people to people. You will help your community to become better and stronger when you become a connector of people.
- Continue the Connection. Share content you discover with new connections. Do this via email or on LinkedIn. Read content they’ve shared on LinkedIn and make positive comments. Share their content with other leaders who you know would find that information valuable. Drop them an encouraging email or text from time to time. Invite them to a ballgame. In other words, nurture the relationship.
The result of intentionally doing this has created so many meaningful relationships with leaders in my community. My 13 year old son constantly tells people, “my dad knows everyone.” That’s not true, but he recognizes that I have worked hard at building relationships, and we have talked about why I do this and why it is important.
I have found no down-side to developing relationships in my community. My life has been blessed by the people I’ve met:
- A seasoned leader who continues to impact emerging leaders, entrepreneurs, and a mentor to men and women who are growing their businesses. He is an author and a proud dad to 2 accomplished children.
- A leader who has served an Indiana Governor. She has been recognized with the highest award given to a citizen of our state. She continues to impact our community through her economic development work.
- A leader who influences young people through the arts. His choir has been a World Champion in a competition in China. His vision will impact at risk young people for decades to come.
- A leader who has served 2 Secretaries of Defense in Washington, D.C. He has shared what he has learned from world-class government leaders with local leaders here giving us a perspective few have had.
- A leader who was an award winning news anchor shared how to communicate like a pro. Her insights from her experience inspired many leaders in our area.
- A leader who recently shared his life story with me. From a high schooler who didn’t care about much to learn some hard lessons along his journey to an effective leader today who has fiercely decided he needed to self-develop for the good of his family, his company, and his community.
“So, should I go to a network event?” YES! There are so many events out there. I just want to encourage you to take a different approach to networking. Think about it…then take action.
You will not regret developing relationships. You will become better by doing this. You will help others become better. And, as a result, you will help your community become better.
(photo: my brother doing his thing. He’s a true connector!)
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GO believes that people on-the-move should have the finest orientation and destination experience. This is why we maintain a robust, expansive network of professionals to connect relocating associates to their new city with confidence and comfort.”
Are you planning a move to a new city because of a new job? Are you in HR and are tasked to help an new executive relocate to your city?
I’ve just been introduced to John Merriweather , CEO, and his team at GO Destination Services based in Carmel, Indiana. They provide valuable services such as:
- Area tours giving a new family the ideal “lay of the land” as they prepare to make their move to a new city.
- School searches
- International assistance
- Spouse/Partner assistance
- Cultural training
- And more!
Learn much more by clicking on this link: https://www.godestinationservices.com/
Event Notice: John Merriweather will be the inaugural speaker at First Fridays Indianapolis on June 7. For more information and register for this free event, click on this link: First Fridays June 7 Registration Information
To learn more about First Fridays, where leaders grow & network, visit them at: www.firstfridaysfw.com
This is a guest post from Alex Sal from New York.
Healthy habits and projects have life-changing potential. Both help to accelerate the process of achieving virtually all your goals because they require self-discipline, which is a quality that can be applied in all facets of life. In addition to this (as if that were not enough) healthy habits and projects also help reduce stress. And, who does not need to reduce stress?
After all, we all live in a fast-paced, highly demanding, stressful age. It’s an epoch where a multitude of demands are being made on our time, and we have a plethora of choices. Sadly, time is finite. You can’t increase it. But, you can manage yourself better by inserting healthy habits and projects into your daily rituals. The truth is that many people struggle with this – they’re easily distracted.
It’s your lucky day, if you sit a spell with me, we’ll explore how to focus on ritualizing healthy habits and projects?
So, let’s focus on the task at hand. Let’s take a step back and ask ourselves what it means to focus. It’s quite simple, really, to focus on something means “to pay particular attention” to it.
The following are a few proven strategies:
- Leverage visualization and planning
- Use the power of frequency
- Destroy distractions
- Track your progress
1) Leverage visualization and planning
Visualization and planning are superpowers if you’d like to easily ritualize healthy habits and projects. You’d need to start by consciously creating new patterns. At first blush, visualization feels a tad like daydreaming, and some people may dismiss it. The truth is that there’s scientific evidence to show that it’s effective.
Consider that everything that manifests in our lives starts in our minds as pictures. When we visualize, we’re steering our attention in a particular direction. The images we generate can be so powerful they feel like virtual reality. When this is done regularly, and coupled with planning, inserting healthy rituals become easier because we’re engaging both parts of our brains to harness and direct where our energies flow. Planning makes it easier because we are providing clear instructions to ourselves.
Visualize your path and don’t let the concept of failure get in the way.
2) Use the Power of Frequency
Have you ever wondered how you could easily recall your favorite songs? It’s due to the power of repetition. It’s very easy for what we repeat to stick. The more we try to do those things the more we’re building neural pathways that make it easy to reproduce them with ease in the future. When you repeat your goals, you’re telling your brain your priorities. As you know, prioritization is a fundamental ingredient for being able to focus.
So, consciously block out time on your calendar for healthy habits and projects. Set reminders on your computer, tablet and mobile phone. Create posters with reminders and put them in different parts of your office and home. Create musical triggers – you could select 3 of your favorite classical recordings and mentally associate them with three major habits and projects you’re trying to insert into your life. Ideally, you want music that’d galvanize you. Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” is a great example. So, each time you hear this song, for example, you’d know it’s time to go jogging or time to start writing that manuscript that you’ve been putting off since the 80s.
3) Eliminate Distractions
If we are honest, a lot of people know what to do, to ritualize healthy habits and projects. Distractions are what many struggle with. In fact, most of us struggle with it. Just as we can consciously create new patterns, we must consciously avoid, reduce, or destroy those things that lure us away from a more evolved version of ourselves.
It could be television, it could be social media, it could be binge-watching movies…It’s actually relative. A scriptwriter, for example, may need to be watching a lot of movies. We need to realize how vital the concept of opportunity cost is. The time we spend on X, is the same time that could have been spent on Y. Let’s suppose Mr. M wants to be a software developer or work in organization design consulting but spends most of his time on activities that do not move him towards his goal. What’s likely going to happen to his dream of being a software developer? It’s the same for us. We must consciously and regularly ask ourselves if our activities are fuel for our main goals or if they’re subtly and slowly killing them.
4) Track Your Progress
It’s important to regularly compare our realities to what we visualized. If at the beginning of the year, you envisioned a fitter and healthier you, and every month you use an app to check some of your activities and stats – if you’re on the right track – this will serve as a stimulus for you to continue on the path. It would serve as positive reinforcement for you to accentuate your focus on ritualizing healthy habits and projects. You would find it easier to be fixated on the healthy habits – the record of your progress will be highly motivating – because at the end of the day, leaders take their time but leaders light a fire.
We’ve explored some of the strategies to help you focus on ritualizing healthy habits and projects. Interestingly, it’s not difficult. It all starts with making a firm choice. It starts with envisioning a better you.
What are the main challenges you experience when trying to focus?
Alex Sal is a business journalist, startup entrepreneur, and frequent contributing writer for Markitors.com. He is also a recent graduate of economics from Queens College.
In this final post on Culture Confidence, I want to share some practical things you can do to help build your company’s culture and by merely doing these, you will gain more confidence in becoming a team member who PROMOTES, PRACTICES, and PROTECTS your culture.
Just do it. Intentionally, sincerely PROMOTE, PRACTICE, and PROTECT your company’s culture. I know this sounds obvious, but we are all prone to getting in and remaining in a rut at work (and in life). Watch and listen to your work environment and find ways to positively impact others. Such as…
Spotlight coworkers. If your company periodically recognizes outstanding work coming from the team, do you part by nominating someone for this recognition. Even if the other person never knows you nominated them, do it!
High 5. At my company, we have developed a way to send digital “High 5’s” to coworkers when we “catch them” doing great things. This High 5 – one of our superstars created this process in Hyland’s OnBase – is a simple form filled out and then sent to the identified team member and sent to their supervisor. The supervisor can then save this to our company’s performance software for review considerations.
Thank You Notes. Yes, actually sit down and in your own hand writing jot down your appreciation of someone and send it to them. Or walk it to their desk and give it to them. People LOVE to receive these. Be thoughtful and specific.
“I appreciate you.” This one may be a little bit harder for some of us, but actually tell someone you appreciate them – out loud. Or at least write it down and send your thoughts to them in a note, email, instant message (not my favorite because it typically cannot be saved). These are powerful words that can turn someone’s day around, lift their spirits, and build better relationships.
Assume the Best. Too often, culture suffers because we assume the worst. Turn it around. Assume in best in what you are hearing or seeing. If an email comes off fuzzy in its meaning, get up and go talk with the sender to get the clear meaning. Assume the best. And expect the best – from yourself and your team members.
Ask Questions. Asking great questions will help you get to the heart of an issue. Asking great questions helps you learn more about a person’s role in a project. Asking great questions helps you understand the other person’s point of view. Ask great questions and listen carefully.
Lunch/Coffee. Ask a colleague out to lunch/coffee with no agenda other than to get to know them better. How do you do that? Ask great questions about them. It may shock your colleague, but this earns great relationship dividends.
Self-Talk. Be careful of what you say when you talk to yourself. We so easily talk ourselves out of becoming more confident. We talk ourselves down when considering our performance. Your company hired YOU. Step up and shine! Reprogramming your self-talk will surely help you to become more confident in your work, your behaviors, your thinking, and your significance. You are worth it.
We spend so much of our lives at work. Let’s make that work meaningful by creating great company cultures.
You will benefit from this. Your team will benefit. Your company will grow. Your community will be positively impacted. Your customers will notice.
Culture Confidence. We can do this.
In my last post, I introduced how team members can have confidence in building their company’s culture. I shared about those critical moments when an employee has to make decisions about how to respond to counter-cultural situations. The best course of action, in my opinion, is to do these 3 things as a matter of habit:
- PROMOTE – This is where we actively, intentionally promote the very best of our company.
- PRACTICE – The best way to promote a company’s culture is to practice it.
By protecting the culture I mean intentionally standing up for it. Let me give an example.
You are in the company’s lunch room. You hear one employee gossiping (assume negatively) about someone who is not present. Others are around listening and sometimes joining in. Others are doing and saying nothing.
At that moment, what can you do to PROTECT your company’s culture. You know what you are observing is NOT going build a healthy culture. You know what you are hearing is hurtful and not helpful. So what can YOU do?
In my opinion, you have the right – and responsibility – to approach the gossiper. Wait…what?!?! Yes, YOU have this right. But take the right approach:
- Approach the gossiper in private. Don’t create even more negative drama by calling them out in front of a group. That rarely, if ever, works. Yes, what that person is doing is wrong, but professionally meet with them in private. This will truly help “save face” to the one in the wrong.
- Explain what you heard. Tell them that the company’s culture is too valuable to make room for hurtful talk about each other. Tell this person you believe they are better than they portrayed themselves to the group in the lunch room. Maybe even ask them, “How do you think people perceived you when you talked about that other person in the way you did? Do you think any of them may believe you’d do the same thing about them? I want you to be better than this. I hope you would want the same thing for me and others here.” Help this person understand you care not only for the person being maligned but that you care for the gossiper, too. Face it, most of us become blind to certain behaviors and attitudes. But approach this person with the intent to help them become better.
- Tell them that you are not their supervisor, but as an employee of this company, you care about things that move the company forward. And you care about things that hold the company back. And you care about the people that work here.
Please note: this is NOT simple to do. Too often things get in the way of us making the right choice to protect our culture:
- Easy. It’s just as easy to not act as it is to act. Just like losing weight or exercising or reading or being intentional in a relationship….easy to do and not easy to do.
- Fear. We fear taking a stand. I’ll admit it, it is scary!
- Deflection. “It’s not my job. I’m not a manager, VP, CEO…”
- Since when is protecting our culture the sole responsibility of a supervisor?
- If you saw someone trying to kidnap a child at the mall, you would step in, right? Or would you tell yourself, “hey, it’s not my kid…”?
- Self-worth. Too many times, we don’t take a stand because of what we say to ourselves.
- “I’m just a low-level employee. I have no authority.”
- “People will make fun or treat me badly. I don’t want to risk that.”
- “I’ve only been with the company for 18 months. I don’t know enough to speak up.”
- “Who am I to speak up? What do I know? I should shut up.”
But your company’s culture is worth protecting and nurturing! Every time to PROMOTE, PRACTICE, and PROTECT your culture, you help build momentum.
And when momentum builds, it becomes the norm.
You help raise the standard.
You don’t settle.
You refuse to live to the lowest common denominator.
The culture becomes more alive.
You/We become the culture.
Next, I’ll share some practical ways to PROMOTE and PRACTICE the culture.