About 30 years ago, my then accountant Corrin casually said to me, “Over time, businesses start to reflect the values and personalities of their leaders.” I was fascinated by this comment. “Really?” I asked. “Yes,” Corrin continued, “Employees need to feel passionate about what they do and they need to feel a connection to the mission. Without that, employees don’t stick around.”
And likewise, clients and customers are attracted to organizations that share their beliefs and values.
A study conducted by Cone Communications found that 87% of consumers said they would purchase a product because a company supported an issue they cared about. In addition, 76% of consumers said they would boycott a company if it supported an issue contrary to their beliefs.
Now, rather than wait for the leader’s values to trickle down, organizations are becoming purposeful about communicating and acting on their core beliefs. Many organizations already have taken the time and energy to develop their vision and mission statements, and now they are drafting statements about how they will serve their communities and contribute to making the world a better place. A new and growing trend is to hire a C-Suite executive, often referred to as the Chief Purpose Officer, to help define and communicate these messages both internally and externally.
But what if your company is small and you can’t devote a senior level position to engagement? Here are some techniques you can implement as a leader at any level.
- If you do not already have a vision and mission statement, develop one! The method you use will demonstrate a lot about your organization. Will you involve everyone in the discussions? Just the senior leaders? Only the CEO?
- Communicate your vision and mission everywhere…on your website, in your newsletter, through your employee communications, and to your customers and clients. If you manufacture a product, put at least part of your mission statement on the product.
- Find a nonprofit or community organization that your company will actively support. Determine how much time, money, and additional resources you will devote to the group.
- Create an engagement survey and identify ways to connect with your employees and encourage their commitment to the mission.
- Make engagement a part of your attraction and retention strategies.
My accountant Corrin was right. Engagement is the key to retaining and motivating both your employees and your customers. Please share with me the strategies employed in your organization. Are they successful?
I recently came across a list of amazing quotes by acclaimed American poet, storyteller, and civil rights activist Maya Angelou. Since I often write blogs discussing the importance of gratitude and mindset in our personal and professional lives, I found it to be a treasure trove of inspiration. I will be highlighting a few of my favorite quotes in the months ahead, and I encourage you to share with me the philosophies and quotes that guide your life.
“I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.”
Wow! We have all been there, right? Well, my luggage was lost when I arrived in Vancouver this past January, after traveling all day, with no sleep, and it was my birthday. I was kind to the people I interacted with, but I can’t say I was spreading joy either. I will give myself a B minus. Not bad, but as I said, not spreading love and joy.
In terms of rainy days and tangled Christmas tree lights, I did have a necklace that was completely awry. I saw it as a personal challenge, so if tangled yarn and necklaces are telling, I can give myself an A+.
My advice for situations such as these is to think of yourself as being on camera. Especially in the case of lost luggage, where you may be interacting with someone who is less than helpful, imagine that only your side is being recorded. So no matter how the attitude of others around you may be complicating the situation, try to stay calm, cool, and collected. Be proud of yourself and your response, knowing that you will eventually work through it.
Do you have a story where, in hindsight, you wish you would have handled a difficult situation with more patience, tact, or grace? When you exhibited less than strong leadership? What helpful advice can you give yourself the next time you are responding to a challenging circumstance?
This article is one in a series discussing the importance of gratitude in our personal and professional lives, the benefits of routinely recognizing the good things in our lives, appreciating others who have helped us, practicing gratitude, saying thank you, trying a complaint-free day, taking a gratitude walk, improving attitude, and recognizing fresh starts.
Months ago I wrote about “Meraki.” Meraki is when you put your heart and soul into your work. I think there needs to be another word when you link something you are passionate about with something that is your gift or talent and then you turn it into your life’s work.
My colleague and friend, Karen Jacobsen, is known throughout the world for being the voice of Australian GPS. I listen to her every day as she tells me using her lovely voice, “In 3 kilometers, make a left.”
Karen is also a composer and singer. She was inspired by former Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s iconic 2012 speech to create a musical based on Gillard’s powerful words, in the hopes of ending misogyny.
I was fortunate enough to be able to participate in the Misogyny project from my backyard, along with a number of my colleagues from around the world. You can see the final result below.
Now Karen has gone to a much larger stage and she will be performing Misogyny Opus in April at the Mackey Entertainment and Convention Center in Queensland. If you don’t find yourself in Australia, other opportunities to hear the opus are here.
I find Karen’s commitment to equality, and her ability to combine her passion and talents into meaningful work, inspiring. How does your work reflect your passion and skills?