Tag Archive: build relationships

How Tradition Can Be a Win for Company Culture

November 24th, 2015
work traditions

Employers can build a company culture by tapping into traditions that pull employees together through shared experiences that build cohesion and camaraderie.

Since Halloween recently passed, I’ve been thinking of the value of tradition with your people. Yesterday I went to a client that has an amazing people culture, and although the people were committed to the important session we were conducting, they all wanted to go to the Halloween pot luck at lunch. It was a fun and vast tradition – my client said that grazing started right away and lasted all day. Everyone looked forward to it, and it has become one of the few traditions that is meaningful in their culture. I have to say the food looked amazing!

This morning, I went to my hair person, and she told me that they really enjoyed having kids in costumes parade through the salon for Halloween. Next, I went to Ihop to get some multi-grain pancakes with chocolate chips, and everyone there had very cool costumes. They seemed to be really enjoying the Halloween spirit, and the customers seemed to enjoy it as well.

My Dad also got flowers for my Mom every Halloween, and so this Halloween is bittersweet since he just passed away. I liked that idea of tradition, and so the last two years, I ordered her flowers from him as he couldn’t do that anymore due to his Parkinson’s. Nice to receive flowers for over 50 years every Halloween!

These types of traditions can pull people together. We are much more likely to collaborate with those we like and trust than anyone else. Do you have any traditions at your company? Can you create one? How about in your department? Or with your group? Silly and fun traditions can yield great results. For example, one of the groups I belong to had a bowling competition, and even those who are not bowlers enjoyed the competitive spirit. Another group (a women’s professional group) really enjoyed a cooking class and bottles of wine. Who wouldn’t? I got to know several of the women much better that evening. And they found out I attended because I value relationships and like to eat!

Be creative and think of ways to start or build upon tradition. There’s no need to spend money or ask for approvals. Find something that is enjoyable and would pull people together. Ask your colleagues for ideas. You’ll be surprised how a silly Halloween costume could have folks talking for days to come….

Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to Profit Through People:

Labor Day Parades and the Value of Tradition 

Do You Have Engaged Employees?

 



The Power Of Relationships

October 24th, 2013
Never underestimate the importance of relationships - especially their effect on the bottom line.

Never underestimate the importance of relationships – especially their effect on the bottom line.

The power of relationships is immense! I typically partner with clients to accomplish significant bottom line results on a wide variety of topics ranging from organizational change and culture projects to process projects such as service improvement, inventory reduction and lean programs to technical projects such as leveraging and implementing ERP systems, and there is one common element across all of them – the power of relationships. To add fuel to the fire, it also holds true for personal success.

As tempting as it might be for executives to think that “all will be fine” if only they implement the latest fad (even if it is a “good” fad such as lean, green or whatever will be the next fad, probably rhyming with “een”), technical bell and whistle or best practice process, don’t fall in the trap! Although many of these might be valuable from one perspective or another (which is why it is so common to take a trip down this rabbit hole), the 80/20 rule to achieving bottom line results goes back to people. So, why waste so much time, money and resources on the “20” of the 80/20?

In addition to the traditional aspects of people (hiring exceptional people, valuing your employees, following a simple yet effective performance management process etc.), there is nothing more critical to success than developing and leveraging the power the relationships. Thus, a few tips include: 1) Take stock. 2) Build relationships. 3) Value your relationships.

1. Take stock – It sounds silly but it is not bad to start with simplicity – what relationships do you have currently? Which are those you consider long-term partners (customers, suppliers, trade association members, brokers, other people at your company or client, etc.) and/or people you’d like to stay connected to for the long term? Which are shorter in nature yet critical for a period of time? Which are already on a solid track? Which need help? Take a step back and think about how you’d prioritize? For example, as a leader, it is typical to spend the majority of your time on your non-performers yet your top performers deliver 80% of the results – where should you focus?

2. Build relationships – I’d be surprised if you didn’t find someone you need to build a relationship with and/or a relationship to nurture. So, how do you begin? How about taking a step back and thinking of how you can provide value to your employee, your boss, your customer, your supplier or whoever you’ve identified? No point in starting with what you want – how is that interesting to the other person? It’s not! Instead, ask compelling questions and listen – you’ll learn everything you need to know in order to build a relationship.

3. Value Your Relationships – My neighbor across the street from my house passed away suddenly recently – such a nice man. 15+ years ago, I remember him always wandering by to check on things if need be, and he really liked and appreciated my parents as they were whirlwind gardeners (and he didn’t even know what they did in the house!) – they came for a long weekend, and my garden/ landscaping could go from so-so to great in 8 hours flat! It makes you think – do you take your relationships for granted or do you value them? The same is true of your best, low-maintenance customer or supplier that you always overlook for your high-maintenance, low profitability customer.

There is only one nugget of wisdom which spanned every role in my 20+ year career without exception which ranged from roles of Production Planner to Project & Transition manager to VP of Supply Chain & Operations to Business Consultant, Entrepreneur and President of LMA Consulting Group, Inc. and APICS Inland Empire (and non-profits do throw a few wrenches into the mix) – it is the undeniable power of relationships. Think of it this way – who is there for you when the unexpected occurs? What are you doing to build and nurture your relationships?