Be Passionate by Jim Johnson

To many folks, this idea sounds too dramatic.  Why be passionate about your job or even your company?  Well, you are investing a significant amount of time each year at work.  Why not throw yourself into what you do?  Why not seek the real purpose behind what it is that you do?

Do you know what you company’s vision/mission statement is?  If you do, write it down below:

My company’s purpose is to…

Why is this idea so important?  Perhaps this can be answered by asking this question:  would you want to work at a job where there was no meaningful purpose to what you produced? 

But I hear you say, “I just work on an assembly line.”  “I only balance a GL.”  “I have to answer the phone and hope to not get yelled at.”  “I cash checks and make deposits.”  “I have to make sure items are stocked on the shelves on time and answer questions from customers.”

What is the real purpose behind your job?  Do you know? 

Years ago, I traveled from Indiana to Orlando, Florida.  I spent the night in Indianapolis at a La Quinta Inn prior to leaving on a very early morning flight.  I was allowed to leave my car at the hotel instead of paying for short-termed parking (a great service).  I was shuttled to the airport and told to call the hotel back when I returned so they could pick me up.

When I returned, I called La Quinta.  I was informed that their shuttle van was broken down.  I was then instructed to take a taxi back to the hotel and they would pay for the fare (they did).  After I loaded my luggage into my car for the drive home, I discovered that my battery was dead (it was winter and very cold out).  I went inside to call AAA.  While I was on hold, the front desk manager asked what had happened.  I told her. 

“Oh, hang up, honey.  We’ll take care of you!”  And they did!  Within 20 minutes the hotel manager (it was his day off) drove to the hotel, jumped-started my car and I was on my way home.  The hotel personnel all treated me as if I was the most important person around.  They did it with smiles and enthusiasm.  I felt as if I had known these folks for years.  They were genuinely nice.  La Quinta’s brand statement is “wake up on the bright side”.  They certainly brightened my day more than once. 

If you work on an assembly line, focus on the product your team is producing and the part you play in this process.  If it is manufacturing a car, you are not just working on an assembly line.  You are creating a quality driving experience for the consumer. 

If you work in a call center, you are serving your customers by listening to their issues and providing solutions that can help them save them time, save them money or fulfill a need.  If you wait tables at a local restaurant, you are actually selling an experience rather than merely getting hot food to patrons on time. The better the experience, the more likelihood the customer will be back and even recommend others to visit your eatery. 

You can personally impact your company’s success!

Being the right person means you will passionately discover and live the true purpose behind your job.

From The Path to Promotion: by Jim Johnson

Creating a Great Customer Experience by Jim Johnson

If you are in business, you deal with customers all the time.  You want to provide a great customer experience, I know it!  And your customers want a great experience as well.

But it doesn’t happen automatically.

Providing a great experience for our customers must be done intentionally.  I created the following to help my team understand how they can deliver a great experience with our customers (we call them members at credit unions).  Does this make sense in your business environment?  Comment below.  We all would love to read your insights.

T.L.C. for Followers by Jim Johnson

I just typed “leadership book” in the search bar on Amazon. I see there are at least 60,000 books I could purchase on this subject. I then just typed “follower book” and then “followership book”. Just over 10,000 results. Are you surprised? I’m not.

Here in the U.S., our culture places leaders on the pedestal. We flock to hear great leaders speak. Some of us purchase book after book to read what great leaders write. Podcasts abound from great leaders.

But what about being a great follower? Doesn’t that count for something? Shouldn’t it count? After all, every leader started as a follower.

“I bet we’d agree even the best leaders accomplish nothing without effective followers. If we agree followers are essential, why do so many people take being called a good follower as a criticism rather than as a compliment?”  from Old School is Good School by Chief Master Sergeant Kevin Slater (U.S. Air Force).

A while ago, I was thinking about what it means to be a great follower. I have followed some great leaders. Cam taught me that there is always a way, an option, a solution – no matter what. That mindset has helped me more times in my life than I can count. From smuggling letters out of the former Soviet Union to helping my daughter with her history homework, I personally know that there is always a solution to big issues.

Chuck taught me that I can do anything I put my mind and my heart to. He gave me a shot in his company. I had zero experience, but he saw the potential. I learned and failed and kept on learning. I eventually took the job I had been given, whittled it from 40 hours/week to around 25-30 hours/week. I then was tasked to train my replacement who was given more responsibilities to fill that gap. Me? Oh, I was promoted to a management position.

Wayne taught me that anyone can conduct music. But a true conductor will get the most out of his musicians when he clearly communicates to pull from them their very best. I learned that it’s fun being a musician. But being a conductor allows you to create a musical experience and help others discover the beauty hidden beneath the notes and rests on the page.

None of these leaders coddled me in my developmental process. Far from it. They took me through what I now call the T.L.C. of being a great follower:

Think – Followers need to think, trouble-shoot, and solve problems.  Most of the time, they are the closest to the action. You may not always get a “vote” in what goes on, but you certainly have a voice. Followers influence leaders!

Learn – Followers must learn new skills, learn how to communicate better with their teammates, learn what they are passionate about, and learn how their personal strengths add value to the team

ContributeFollowers must be active participants in their team’s/company’s success.  There is no place for sideline observers on a winning team.  Always look for ways to add value.

The leaders I named above expected this of me all the time. I’m glad they did. What I learned when I applied T.L.C. to my followership paved the path to my taking on leadership roles. I am forever grateful to these and other leaders who took me down this road.

Are you a follower? Great! Apply some T.L.C. to your journey. Who knows, perhaps you will soon be helping a follower under your leadership!

You are a Marvel

Pablo Casals, the famous cellist, composer, conductor, once said (modified a bit):  

“Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all of the world there is no other person exactly like you. In the millions of years that have passed there has never been another person like you… You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel. You must cherish one another. You must work—we must all work—to make this world worthy of each of us.”

Do you approach your day with this mindset? What would change if you did?

I’m inspired. Oh, how our world would change for the better if we all worked “to make the world worthy of each of us.”

You are a marvel.

Gourmet Chicken Salad – Making My Wife’s Lunch

I love to cook, and I love to create. I also love my wife very much! So I make her lunch on the days she goes into the office.

So today, I’m sharing a simple lunch salad recipe my wife loves. Why? We are called to serve others – for me, this starts at home.

Gourmet Chicken Salad by Jim Johnson

Ingredients:

* 2 boneless, skinless grilled chicken thighs (or half of a chicken breast) – note: this is a great way to use leftover grilled chicken from the night before. I marinate mine in a sesame ginger marinade. I find this makes the best tasting chicken for the salad.)

* 5-7 green seedless grapes cut in half

* 1 Tbsp of a great relish – I use Sechler’s Hungarian sweet relish. It’s made about 40 minutes north of my city. Simply the best relish!

* 1 overflowing Tbsp of mayonnaise (use your favorite)

* iceberg lettuce chopped

* fresh spinach chopped

Putting it together: Simply mix the grapes, relish, mayo, and chopped chicken together. Place on the lettuce/spinach.

Try this easy and incredibly tasty salad.