Say hello, ask a question, show interest.
Gary, a Branch President of a major food distributor in Calgary, told Session 7 of the Leadership Development LAB:
"Last July, at Session 3, Larry gave us a short lecture on the difference between animation and enthusiasm. He reminded us that, as the saying goes, 'talk is cheap', and then defined enthusiasm as 'commitment in action'. We were all challenged to honestly think of some activity or project we had been procrastinating on – talking about it but putting it off. I knew immediately the activity I had been procrastinating on, though at first, I didn't want to admit it, and even after admitting it, I began to engage in this great internal debate about why I was justified in not getting out of my office, why I had other things to do that were more important, why I just didn't have enough time.
The importance of visibility, personal presence, and connecting with our associates had come up in the Cultural Benchmark Survey (CBS) feedback results. One of the recommendations my managers gave me at the Leadership Team Advance (LTA) was to get out of my office for 20-minute installments every day just to connect with our associates. I still had not been able to reorganize my daily routine to take a few minutes each day to meet our associates. So when I got my red 5X dot, I knew what I needed to do - get out and interact with associates with five times more enthusiasm, practice what Turbo calls 'Shoe Leather Leadership'. I decided to start by just walking around the office and talking with the new associates in accounting. I followed a day later with inside sales and customer service associates the next day. Things were going
well until the third day when I got to customer service. When I asked the first associate how long she had worked for us she said one year (boy did I ever feel bad – you could call this an 'egg on the face' moment). When I asked the next associate how long she had worked for us, she said one year (now I really had egg on my face). I apologized to both of them for not taking the time to meet and talk with them even though I had walked by them many times. The next associated I met had only been with the company one month, so I knew there was hope.
I was amazed at the positive response of everyone I spoke with, from accounting to customer service. This simple act of acknowledgement, just paying attention, goes a long way towards making associates feel good about where they work, what they do, and the team they are on. The action I call you to take is to invest the time it takes to acknowledge associates you don't know, ask how they are doing, and listen carefully to their responses. The benefit you will gain is you will feel better about you. You will find the exercise empowering, and you will have more motivated, positive associates who enthusiastically give you their discretionary effort."