20 times return on investment in less than a year; record retention of customers in a commodity business during a severe downturn; highest morale in the history of the company; and the best two quarters, ever, in terms of profitability. The key? An initiative called “Dream On.”
One thing I find interesting about a peer advisory group is how CEOs “play" together. Their behavior during an eight-hour Forum Day is indicative of how they interact in other relationships of their lives—both professional and personal. This is particularly evident when a member is seeking wise counsel by presenting to the Convene Team a business opportunity/challenge. Is a CEO member distracted by email and telephone, multitasking while thinking/saying he’s paying attention to the discussion at hand? Does she jump to solutions and give advice prematurely? Does he strive for deeper understanding of the issue behind the issue? Is she bored with the conversation, visibly disengaged? Does he enjoy telling/hearing his own “war stories” without regard for the others in the room? Does their sharing serve to sharpen the focus on the subject or does it derail the conversation? Do their statements reflect a true understanding of the person and subject?
I’m amazed at how often members are unaware or defensive of these behaviors. The Forum Day provides a place where we can speak truth with grace into other members' lives. That may include calling out behavior that is condescending, arrogant, defensive, prideful, unproductive, or offensive. When this is done in an environment of safety and love, the experience can have profound impact on the CEO's life. I encourage members to utilize and embed the processes they learn at Forum Day into their own meetings and conversations.
St. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12:3, “I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than one ought to think;” and in verse 12:16, “Have the same regard for one another; do not be haughty but associate with the lowly; do not be wise in your own estimation.”
The prayer of St. Francis of Assisi asks, “…Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled to as console; to be understood, as to understand.”
As Christian business owners we are called to stewardship of our companies and employees. Our duties as servant leaders include listening to our people, seeking to understand their issues, working with them to find solutions, and in that process helping them to grow and excel in their work.