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Friday, January 21, 2011

Treating People Properly

Successful leaders know that if you treat your people right, great things happen. 

Treating people with care and ensuring that the work environment is enjoyable, that people feel good about themselves and what they do, and their position in the company is key not only to the adaptation of the culture but also productivity and performance.

Employees who are treated with care and concern treat their customers with the same care and concern. Balancing people with process not only ensures performance and results, it inspires the kind of loyalty that boosts retention, loyalty, and work passion. Profit should never be the focus but rather the result of a taking care of your people.

This type of servant leadership is what leaders must focus on when: everyone is clear about where they are going; when policies, procedures, systems and leader behaviours cascade from senior management to the front line, and when the operational components of leadership are aligned. Servant leadership is about loving your mission, your customers and your people so that your people can be magnificent.

Southwest Airlines has been doing this for 40 years.

Southwest Airlines LUV Stories - 40th Anniversary from The Butler Bros on Vimeo.

The Turtle Effect

Nikki Stone is an Olympic Gold medallist, with many World Cup titles and other titles/medals in her credited accomplishments. As a personal coach to many other Olympic athletes and other business professionals, she applies her parents' Turtle Effect. In essence – know when to have a soft inner, when to have a hard shell, and when to stick your neck out. 

When Turtles Fly: Secrets of Successful People Who Know How To Stick Their Necks Out is a collection of short stories by varying contributing authors, and all pertain to the Turtle Effect.

The Turtle Effect has seven key lessons. As she puts it: “To have a soft inside, I would need a passion for my pursuits. To build a hard shell, I’d have to focus on the task at hand, completely commit to my goals, and develop the ability to overcome any adversity that was thrown my way. And in order to stick my neck out, I’d have to have confidence, take substantial risks, and be a team player in order to succeed.” 

In the book, Stone shows how these lessons play a part in the lives of 40 extraordinary successful individuals. In one chapter she urges us to focus on the questions, not the answers. She writes:

'We are often so focused on finding answers that we forget to keep asking questions. We need to explore the unknown in order to further our learning. People are sometimes afraid of questions that don’t have concrete answers, or answers that may be hard to discover. Kids have it right, constantly asking “why?”'

Think up questions that you don’t have an answer to. Become a kid again this week and ask people “why?” rather than just accepting their statements. You may find out more on the subject or you may even find out that there really is no sound reasoning to their response.