During this time, I’ve been hosting weekly live conversations on LinkedIn, with C-Suite leaders, authors, and experts in their respective fields. They’ve included influential authors like Seth Godin and CEOs like Leslie Stretch. These conversations span across a range of industries but tend to have an overarching theme that comes back to the importance of leadership bravery.
These experts have all spent time enacting behaviors, either within their own companies or the companies of others, that consider the well-being of their employees, customers, and partners. As we continue to navigate through this pandemic and find new ways of operating our businesses, I encourage you to listen to the interviews below for wisdom you can implement in your own organization.
Here are four takeaways from some of my recent guests.
We Need More Purpose Than Fear
Rich Sheridan: CEO & Chief Storyteller of Menlo Innovations, and author of Joy, Inc.: How We Built a Workplace People Love and Chief Joy Officer talks big picture strategy about building a workplace built on humanity and joy:
In our conversation, Rich uses an airplane metaphor to describe how he has created an intentionally joyful culture:
“The four basic forces that work on an aircraft include lift, weight, thrust, and drag. Well, what are the equivalent forces in a human organization? There’s the lift of human energy, the weight of bureaucracy, the thrust of purpose, and the drag of fear. And if we’re going to get our corporate organization off the ground every day like this airplane, we better have more lift than drag, more human energy than bureaucracy, more purpose focus than fear. And so what are some specific things we can do in all of those areas? Well, I will tell you the ability to go to work and get meaningful things actually done is important.”
Look After Employees’ Well-Being
In this enlightening conversation, Raj Sisodia, a founding member of the Conscious Capitalism movement and 4x bestselling author, discusses some of the concepts in his book, The Healing Organization: Awakening the Conscience of Business to Help Save the World:
“And we found companies like Whole Foods, for example, right, which is spending 90% below the industry average, and then our chief marketing officer, and yet their customers love them; that kind of fanatically loyal customers that they had. So we started to look at what causes that to happen. And we soon discovered it wasn’t just about the customers, employees have to love these companies, too. That’s exactly why we can’t have customer bliss without employee bliss, in the long run, especially in a service business.
We found that these companies also looked after their employees’ well-being. They cared about their customers’ well-being; they weren’t just trying to sell them stuff. They’re actually trying to lead them to a better place. So Whole Foods moves towards better health for themselves and for the planet. We found that they had stable partnerships with their suppliers, that they were deeply embedded in their communities. So they were really stakeholder-oriented, right? Not just customer focus or investor shareholder-oriented, right? They were focused on the well-being of all of their stakeholders because they’re all connected.”
Get the “Quiet” Colleagues Involved with Decision Making
“We can never be too comfortable with the systems we have in place and the ways in which we care for people. You can always move to a higher level. I truly, truly cherish my team. And people are the forefront of our organization because when you have people who want to do a good job, they seek out leaders who provide the positive feedback, constructive feedback, giving them credit for their ideas. Inviting them to be a part of the decision making power of the organization.
And at a time like this, we excelled to that level and even greater. I learned that we have silent heroes in our organization. We have quiet champions and they came out and made themselves present and we’ve got to seek them out more often.”
The Power of Humanity with Joseph Michelli
In this conversation with Joseph Michelli, Ph.D., psychologist, speaker, and author of The Airbnb Way, we discuss topics ranging from the power of humanity in experience leadership to lessons from our Italian grandmothers:
“Trust is acting in the interest of others. In a way that enables them to move forward such that they can act in the interest of others. Let us do that in business right now. The more we focus on that, with our team members and customers, the more success we’re going to have in the end. And it’s hard to do right now, because there are people freaking out about what they’re going to do tomorrow. So it’s hard to think about anything else other than, ‘how am I going to survive?’”
For more from Joseph, listen to my previous interview with him on my podcast, which you can find here: 5 Lessons to Strengthen Your Experience from Airbnb.