Author Archive for: ‘Leslie Phillips, President & COO’
We recently heard Simon Sinek’s messages about empathy. He suggests that to practice empathy in the workplace we must — daily — make the well-being of others (our teammates, our customers, our health inspector, etc.) a conscious, visible, intentional priority.
This theme also connects with this article about the mood elevator.
The Mood Elevator is an awareness tool…used to describe our moment-to-moment experience of life. It encompasses a wide range of feelings and together, these emotions play a major role in defining the quality of our lives as well as our effectiveness.
Behaviors found on the “higher” (positive) floors of the mood elevator include:
1. Positive spirit/vitality. Creating an environment where there is teamwork, mutual support (AND EMPATHY), and cooperation…where people are fun to be around, proud of what they do, and willing to put in the effort that is beyond normal expectations.
2. Collaboration/trust. Creating frequent and open two-way communication… maintaining openness and trust…with high levels of (EMPATHY) feedback and coaching.
3. Appreciation/recognition. And rewarding performance.
4. Agility/innovation/growth. Encouraging people to innovate, create, and be open to change. Empowering people, and having a bias for action and an urgency to move forward.
5. Customer/quality focus. Having a high focus on, and awareness of, quality and customer service.
6. Ethics/integrity. Acting with honesty…Core Values and ethics are very important and decisions are made for the greater good of the organization. Seeing healthy differences and diversity as strengths.
7. Performance orientation. Having high expectations for performance and accountability for actions and results. Being a self-starter.
8. Direction/purpose. Providing a sense of direction and purpose…with clear alignment and connection with the organization’s strategic goals.
Live the above and you’ll be more creative, joyful and productive. Promise.
When we see or experience two people or two concepts that are silky smooth, fine tuned, natural, beautiful….we may say (or hear), “you know…they’re like Fred and Ginger.” Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers knew how to dance.
In Culture isn’t enough, the Fred and Ginger are Culture AND Brand.
Timely, especially as we work on our company meeting agenda where the word “brand” is spotlighted.
On the topic of Culture, it’s true, “happy, engaged employees do indeed produce better results.” Employees get and stay engaged for a variety of reasons. Having the chance to do what you do best every day, hearing appreciation, getting coaching and honest feedback so you can grow and be successful…the things that turn you on, turn on your team, too.
“But if you want to do more than survive — if you want to increase your competitiveness, to create real value for your customers and employees, to future-proof your business — having a good, generic culture isn’t enough. You should cultivate a culture that is aligned and integrated with your brand.”
How to do this:
1. Adopt a single brand purpose to inspire, focus, and guide everything your organization does. Start with why your organization exists (not what you do or how you do it). And why is NEVER “to make money.” Customers do not seek us out because we do something to make money. MG’s why? Articulated by many in many different ways — but all seem to center around wanting to make lives better (our customers, our employees, our growers, and on and on).
2. Articulate one set of core values and use them to shape what you do inside your organization and out.
3. Check in on how you are doing. Are you performing well in both areas? Are employees engaged and feeling good about their work; and are you making lives better every day?
Can you hear the music and see the silhouettes gliding across the dance floor?
I love our mantra, Make a Difference Every Day. I love wearing my MG tee shirt that reminds me to set this daily intention and helps me share the message with everyone around me. And yet, sometimes, I fall into the trap of measuring the difference on the wrong scale. While some days it’s huge — something you plan for, commit to, and do (like organizing a full day of service in your community; helping build a Habitat house, etc.); the rest of the days, it’s not.
“We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily difference we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.”
— Marion Wright Edelman
And that’s what makes this mindset…and our actions that support it, every day…so magical.
Life will always have contrast to it. Day, night. Joy, grief. Beginner, expert. Hot, cold.
Some days we feel like we’re “in the groove” – everything is falling into place and going well. And some days — well — just the opposite.
When someone comes to you and says, “this isn’t working, things are bad,” what do you do?
From Don’t say ‘it’s not that bad’ to someone who thinks it’s bad:
Say, “you know, you’re right.” And then ask,
Treat people who think things are bad like intelligent competent team members (because hopefully they are!)
“Treat others as you would have them treat you.” That’s a modern adaptation of the Golden Rule and one that we’ve probably heard a number of times throughout our life. It’s an ok model. Certainly better than treating others worse than you would have them treat you. But, this article suggests the Golden Rule doesn’t work as well as we may think.
Why is that ineffective? Because it’s based on just this teeny, tiny assumption that the whole universe wants to be treated the way I want to be treated. That’s not the case. We’ve got to learn how to treat others as they want to be treated, which is the Platinum Rule.
We all see the world through our own filters. These filters are unique to us and while we know they must exist, most of us are unaware of them as we move through our day to day interactions.
“Filter – shift” is a concept where we learn to recognize our individual filters and shift our behaviors or responses to them (in other words, our bias) so we can be more effective and have better relationships with one another.
You can be less wasteful. Guaranteed. Wasteful of what, you might ask. Lots of things. But, let’s start with food.
You’ve heard this before: 40% of edible food ends up in the trash. Globally, about 1.3 billion…TONS. So much…it’s hard to even imagine, but let’s try. An average elephant weighs 4 tons. That’s 325 million elephants worth of good food in the trash. Still hard to imagine. The average skyscraper weighs 222 tons. That’s 5,842 skyscrapers. Did that help, or are you still mind-boggled? It’s tempting when we see or hear something that is unsettling to just walk away from it…to try to put it out of our mind because we feel bad about it.
Salt & Straw is a small ice cream shop in Portland, Oregon, and they are whipping up some new flavors using food bound for the trashcan. Get inspired to be less wasteful, to find a way to use ALL of your edible food and to have nearly nothing end up in the trash.
Guess what leadership “interaction skill” has the most impact on a team member’s job performance…clarifies details? Encourages involvement? Supports? Develops others’ ideas? No, no, no. And no.
Listens and responds with empathy.
Yep. That’s it. And it’s a bona fide superpower.
[It] is not just about being able to see things from another perspective. It’s the cornerstone of teamwork, good innovative design, and smart leadership. It’s about helping others feel heard and understood.
Even Albert Einstein agrees, “empathy is patiently seeing the world through the other person’s eyes. It is not learned in school; it is cultivated over a lifetime.”