My wife and I were at Canlis Restaurant in Seattle for dinner. I must confess, I’m usually content with Waffle House, so I was happy to catapult to the #7 restaurant in the U.S. I was secretly wondering, however, what it was that I was about to experience. My first clue should have been the New York Times review that noted, “A Canlis Salad, when properly prepared, is a revelation.” - Sam Sifton, NYT. A salad? A revelation? About that time, Wanda, our server who had been a team member at Canlis for 33 years, came up to our table and greeted us.
Welcome back to Season 1, Episode 2 of the Convene Podcast. This week, Brian Bosche and Gabrielle Jackson-Bosche joined Greg Leith to discuss The Millennial Solution, the title of Gabrielle's book and company. The Millennial Solution is dedicated to helping CEO's and businesses bridge the generational gap that has been created with the influx of over 80 million millennials joining the workforce in the past few years.
The New York Times recently published a great article about how there is “No Time to Be Nice at Work.” Author Christine Porath was on target regarding several significant concerns that are especially relevant today. One of the first things that struck me was her points that incivility has been growing, and that it definitely has a cost.
Porath joins others in noting that incivility and similar behavior causes stress. Continued stress, even intermittent stress, creates a hit to one’s immune system, sometimes a big hit. Cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and ulcers are all possible results or side effects of long-term stress. Several of these can kill you or a co-worker.
The author also notes that you don’t always need to experience causes of stress directly. Simply being in a chronically toxic environment for several hours each day can do the damage.
Porath focuses much of her article on mean bosses, but I’d also note that toxic environments can also be caused by fellow employees. That’s why I stress that smart leaders should be aware of the environment at the office, including how staff members treat each other. It’s the type of intangible that can make a big difference in any workplace.
Some will find it unintuitive, but numerous studies have shown that performance is degraded by more than half when testers deliberately exhibit a rude, dismissive or demeaning behavior. Although it would be an exaggeration to expect 50 or 60 percent better office performance just from being nice, the evidence clearly shows that chronic off-hand brusqueness and the like is counter productive. Employers and managers who prefer to be rude and obnoxious can continue to do so, but they need to know it costs them, big time.
One of Porath’s interesting points involves contemporary incivility. She writes that this and similar bad behavior have grown over recent decades and that it’s part of a culture of “busy-ness.” In one extensive study, Porath noted people said they were simply “too busy to be civil.”
“Over half of them claim it is because they are overloaded, and more than 40 percent say they have no time to be nice,” Porath wrote. “But respect doesn’t necessarily require extra time. It’s about how something is conveyed; tone and nonverbal manner are crucial.”
Clearly, no human in any role can always be “Miss Manners,” and any executive, manager or other leader can always be nice. Just ask Donald Trump! But good management starts with awareness if others are experiencing anxiety or stress, followed by offering to listen and providing support. This used to be called moral support—letting people know that they are not going through this alone is stress and anxiety reducing. Likewise, deliberately creating a “Shark Tank” environment as part of a long-term organizational plan is not a good idea. It might work for a 30-minute television show, or even peak office situations that occur on occasion, but it will not lead to long-term success.
Most managers will know if some staff members are feeling pushed too much, but keep in mind that everyone will react to pressure and show stress in different ways. A given factor may be serious for one person and little more than a bump to another. Differences will occur depending on what is going on in the employee’s life; illness, death of a loved one and financial problems are among the possible factors. Likewise, people will show stress in different ways; some are very vocal while others keep it bottled up (which may be worse). That’s why an option worth considering is an annual employee satisfaction survey. These can help you know if employees are overly stressed or anxious and pickup on issues you might not sense.
I would definitely agree with this article that stress in your office should not be overlooked. Although seeing and dealing with it may require some effort, especially at first, handling it properly can definitely pay dividends.
“Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; By knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches” Proverbs 24:3,4. All of you who own or run a business know the breadth of issues that literally bombard you daily, particularly given the speed of information and pace of events these days. The sheer volume of concerns clouds your vision—you sometimes cannot see the forest because the trees are in the way.
Making progress often feels like moving a pile of boulders by hand—it takes a lot of effort to advance a short distance.
Take a moment to focus on your own “pile of boulders”. Is it a process, an employee, a department, or a client that is holding your business back? Is it cash flow, equipment, legislation or competition that is stifling growth?
Convene can help through our method of wise counsel; members are escorted through a group process that brings clarity around the most potent step that will move their business along by:
- Asking questions for clarification on the issue,
- Referring to Scripture for wisdom, and
- Making recommendations for consideration.
Clarity can come in the form of a different perspective from another member or affirmation that your decision is a valid one.
Convene Chairs are trained to help you distill business and life issues down to the most potent action that, when executed well, will accelerate growth. Often times you sense what that direction is but it is choked among the weeds of impending issues.
The process doesn’t end; from there comes encouragement and accountability. Encouragement in the form of support, prayers and even “cheer leading” from your Convene peers. Accountability through reporting back to the group of your success, or adjusting your plan, which in turn encourages others to take potent steps.
It’s like clearing a log jam on a river or a clogged drain. When you remove the obstacle, there is a rush of action and things flow again. Movement is good.
Do you feel relief just thinking about that?
“Without consultation plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed.” Proverbs 15:22
If you don’t get this right a lot of things will happen and none of it is good! Planning, in my view, must be strategic, deliberate, premeditate, calculated, considered, and intentional. We are admonished to do everything decently and in order.
My question to you is, “How do you know what direction to take unless you plan it out?”
If there was one I believe that these people, among others, would be included in the “Planning Hall Of Fame”; those that planned strategically as they sought to carry out God’s vision for them:
1] Jethro, Moses father-in-law, mentored Moses to appoint officials over the people of Israel and had them serve as rulers to judge over the people. [Exodus 18: 17-27]. I view Jethro as history’s first organization development consultant.
2] King David knew his role in the planning for and staging of the resources needed for the building of the temple and left everything needed for Solomon to complete the building of the temple.
3] Nehemiah made careful preparation and plans for the rebuilding of the Wall around Jerusalem.
4] The apostle Paul developed a strategic missionary strategy of proclaiming the gospel and establishing churches in centers of commerce from which believers could take the gospel to outlying villages.
5] Jesus Himself was a planner. Reading the gospels I get the clear sense that Jesus operated intentionally. He was clear about His identity, His mission, and deliberately went to places like Caesarea Philippi just to ask the disciples, “Who do you say that I am”. He could have had that conversation anywhere but he intentionally traveled a long way to just to ask that question; “Why”, is the subject of another blog.
Additionally as the time approached for Jesus to complete His mission, he moved intentionally toward Jerusalem in order to complete His Father’s mission for Him. He knew His plan and was able to declare, “It is finished”.
Jesus gave the disciples a vision, provision and a plan to reach the world when He told them, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Throughout biblical history Godly people have been planners and strategic about it. Prayerful and thoughtful analysis and preparation are the keys in designing for success in the work of God.
Questions that support the need for planning include:
- “Who are we?”, is about mission and purpose
- “Where are we?”, is about analysis
- “Where are we going?”, is about vision
- “How are we going to get there?”, is about planning
- “How are we going to pay for it?”, is about cash flow generation and management
- “How are we doing?”, is about implementation and measurement and Course correction
The purpose of planning, which is the Business of Business, is to ultimately create a set of priorities that enable a CEO to act courageously and responsibly today in order to advance toward a God given future vision and legacy with an ever greater expression of God’s power in the marketplace. It is an intentional systematic effort to seek the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit in order to discern the will of God as we move into the future.
If a designated leader isn’t planning how can that person really be a leader? My experience as a business leader is that there is no substitute for good planning and preparation leading to efficient and effective implementation.
King Solomon wrote, “Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint”. Jesus says, “My people perish for lack of vision”.
Here is a question for you to ask of yourself, “What area of my life and business do I need to be more strategic about?” God wants to reveal to us not only what we are to do but give us the energy, will and determination to do it strategically, faithfully, and persistently.
“Four steps to achievement: Plan purposefully, prepare prayerfully, proceed positively, pursue persistently.” William Arthur Ward, inspirational writer
Here I am Lord send me!