Last week, I wrote about a “stay” interview, which involves proactively asking our good people what they value about our work and company and for their ideas. Better still, stay interviews are a way to be having regular informal conversations with our team members.
I know, we’re crazy busy, yet conversations, even short conversations, really matter and ought to be one of our most important priorities. Having conversations will lead to a winning organizational culture, which leads to outstanding financial results, year after year.
I was amazed by the reception this paper generated. All week, I heard from readers that they thought this was an especially invaluable message. I loved what people shared, that they really appreciated just how important it is to make the time for conversations.
Conversations are critical success factors. In my work, I regularly hear how appreciative people are that their boss stopped by their office, asked how things are going and said, “Thanks for the good work.”
And, by the way, I also hear about the valuable ideas that bosses pick up from their people in these conversations. Remember, the best ideas are bottom up ideas!
This feedback made me want to continue this theme this week. By coincidence, my friend, Elise Schramm from Rollins College, loaned me a book, 10 Powerful Phrases for Positive Peopleby Rich DeVos, the founder of Amway and owner of the Orlando Magic.
I liked the author’s messages, about the importance of these phrases:
- I’m wrong
- I’m sorry (must be genuine)
- You can do it
- I believe in you
- I’m proud of you
- Thank you
- I need you
- I trust you
- I respect you
- I love you
These must be authentic and come from our heart. These phrases are so in keeping with asking our people how they feel about our company and our work, and for their ideas.
I was recently told a story about a CEO who spoke to a group of graduate students, and his whole talk seemed to be about himself and his accomplishments. Our success as a true leader goes well beyond what we do ourselves; it’s about the dedication and achievements of our people.
Yes, there are CEOs and senior execs who have risen through their companies by being self-absorbed and maybe even have bullied their way up. Very likely, their companies will suffer, and we sure see a business landscape that is littered with poorly performing companies and a great many failed companies.
And that is the message. As a leader, it’s not about us; it’s about our people, taking the time to speak with them, letting them know how important they are, that we appreciate them, and care about about their ideas and feelings.