This is a Weekly Update that was written by a friend of mine several years ago.
From the day I learned Rick had graciously afforded me the opportunity to write the Weekly Update, I have been reflecting on what message or lesson to share with such an incredible group of Leaders. As is usually the case, I drew inspiration from what makes any organization great….people.
Yesterday, in spite of our respective hectic travel schedules, I had the privilege of having lunch with a former colleague of mine. Not just any colleague, mind you, but one that I hired straight out of college many years ago and who has ended up becoming a great friend. I always knew she had “the right stuff” but her rise has been truly meteoric, as she now leads a multi hundred million dollar business unit.
As I drove away from our lunch, I reflected on the pride, gratitude, and genuine sense of fulfillment I felt when I considered how the mentoring relationship we cultivated over the years in some small way helped her achieve such great success in her auto career. The countless hours I spent “investing” in her throughout her career had truly paid off in the most satisfying way possible. By the way, she taught me even more along the journey and continues to even today.
In our hyper-growth company, people are our most valuable asset. We have the responsibility – and honor – of “investing in our people” … to mentor and assist them in the growth of their careers and journeys as human beings.
Here are 5 ways to “maximize your investment” in your people:
• Be AVAILABLE – The most precious gift any human being has is time. Spending that gift with your people, even when it’s not convenient, or you really need a break, not only fosters development but also sends a powerful message that they will emulate as leaders themselves.
• Take an Interest in the WHOLE Person – Take the time to learn what motivates your people. Everyone has a “story”. It’s not the same for everyone.
• Truly LISTEN – To do the first two things well, this is a must. Most people think they are good listeners, yet few are. Usually people just want to be heard. When you find someone who truly listens you will run through a wall for them.
• Help Them WIN – Sounds simple but people gravitate towards leaders that help them achieve success. Results do matter.
• Be An ADVOCATE – A leader’s job is to be an advocate for his or her people and ensure others see and recognize their success. If you don’t do it, who will?
Fiscal years, budgets, POP Scores and Site Openings come and go. But the satisfaction gleaned from seeing someone you have had a hand in developing have so much success (even over a quick lunch between business trips) lasts forever.
It’s ironic that this message was written by Chris about someone he managed that become a lifelong friendship of mutual respect and trust. I met Chris when he was 21 years old just out of college. He was my first hire and helped me plant the Cintas flag in St. Louis in 1995. The first diaper he ever changed was when he was a last minute fill-in as a babysitter for my now 22-year old son. Since this time, Chris and I have developed this same lifelong friendship of mutual respect and trust. Amazing how what comes around goes around. Pay it Forward. Come to think of it, I guess I still owe Chris a baby-sitting session for his two young kids!
Be available, take interest, listen, help win, and be an advocate. Simple, but powerful steps to mentoring and developing others!
Have a great week!
Most prized gift…Time!