I’m taking a Masterclass on Personal Branding with Mark Schaefer. Faced with two deadlines and only time to meet one, I’ve decided to do the class homework, rather than blog.
I’ve written about this before in “Pies Make Me a Better Man” (2017) – a post that had hundreds of shares.
My recent visit with Don Egan, President of Sturgeon Electric, made me think of this topic again. I noticed some beautiful epoxy surfaced tables in Don’s office and Don said he’d made them. He explained that his summer passion is riding his Harley, and he wanted something to do with his hands during the winter months. He’d discovered that doing woodwork relaxes his mind and makes him a better leader. That made me consider my hobby: podcasting, which I love – and does not relax my mind. I realized that I need to spend more time immersed in a hobby that both refreshes my mind and yields a product that feels gratifying.
The most recent ProCO360 podcast episode is called “Deliberate Culture,” and was recorded with a LIVE audience watching and listening to the leaders of four Colorado companies known for having a positive culture. Recognizing that we’re in a massively competitive talent war, I wanted to explore what leaders DELIBERATELY do that creates and maintains a culture that is far superior to what might be typical (even good) in their industries.
All these people are passionate about their team members, they all seem like great leaders to work for. So how automatic is it when there’s a caring leader to have a positive culture? Here is a synthesized sample from each of the leaders I interviewed…
Alejandra Harvey, CEO of Tendit Group: “When we form a strong culture, we attract those who share our values.”
Mary Moore-Simmons, VP Engineering of AgentSync: “Difficult problems tend to be culture issues, and it’s important to include middle management in culture.”
Bill Graebel, CEO of Graebel Companies: “Seeing a new problem? Start by looking for where there is an absence of love, truth, or integrity.”
Anthony Lambatos, The Coach of Footers Catering: “Build a culture that embraces what’s HARD because accomplishing difficult things together in a fun way is the work people feel is most gratifying.”
Back to the original question: is a good culture what you get when you have a kind leader? It’s way more DELIBERATE than that.
In my last post, I shared finding and focusing on the ONE thing that drives successful outcomes for me more than any other – that focus has been very powerful. What about shifting gears away from accomplishing – to enjoying times of not accomplishing anything of “importance.”
On a beautiful snowshoe outside of Breckenridge, I got a lucky shot of my Havanese “Ziggy.” It’s a great image of being in the moment.
Lots has been written lately about Covid burnout, the need for vacation, the importance of recharging. I am just beginning to explore the question, “How can I thoughtfully accomplish nothing so that I’m recharging?” Can I shift my thinking about time off to believe that thoughtfully accomplishing “nothing” has value? Don’t get me wrong – I screw around plenty, but I often feel guilty when I do. I’m exploring how I can authentically, deep down, value being completely devoid of thoughts of the normal day-to-day to recharge. I’m finding it harder for me than work. I must be doing it wrong.
I made a New Year’s Resolution and have been trying it out. It is based on principles from two sources:
The foundation of my resolution is from The One Thing, and it’s related to work. The One Thing’s main premise (my words) is that while we all strive to do many, many things (again, I’m talking work here) there is ONE THING, one activity, that if done well, drives successful results more than all the other things that we think we need to do – including things we want to do, maybe things we think only we can do… The ONE THING acts like the proverbial “first domino” in the sequence to results. I have found that ONE THING for me, and am doing my best to apply discipline every day toward accomplishing it.
And this is where the second principle comes into play – the idea that Ego is the Enemy.
In order to focus on the ONE THING, I have to put my ego aside because my ego is happiest doing MANY things. My ego reminds me that I am good at more than just the ONE THING, and my ego (all of me really) feels stimulated when I do many things. Plus, my ego loves demonstrating to others my wide range of expertise and wisdom – when I do, my body is flooded with pleasant hits of dopamine!
So, the second principle requires that I put my ego’s desires on hold until I’ve accomplished enough of the ONE THING.
This seems to be working. Of course, it’s just January 20th.