That’s a good question: Does America care anymore? Our actions seem to say “no.” In fact, not caring seems to be an epidemic. Exhibit A: 70 percent of Americans are disengaged from their jobs, which leads to the poor customer service we experience all too often. Exhibit B: Impersonal automated call technology increases the time we must wait to talk to a human (not to mention our frustration!). And Exhibit C: More than ever, our attention is on the touchscreens on the devices in our hands instead of the living, breathing humans around us. Clearly, we must turn this trend around. Caring can be resurrected, and your organization can lead the charge. Here are five strategies to help create a caring culture in your organization:
Find and communicate your company’s purpose. In the midst of the day-in, day-out workday grind, it can be easy for you and your employees to see your jobs as a series of boxes to be checked, or as a way to put money in the bank. But no matter what industry you’re in, your jobs, and your company as a whole, are so much more than that. In some ways, your work helps people, makes their lives easier, or makes the world a better place.
Lead by example. We all know that “do as I say, not as I do” just doesn’t work. That’s why, before you can expect to see an overall shift toward caring, you have to demonstrate that value yourself. Caring has to be acted out, not just verbalized, to have an impact. And your employees will be looking to you, their leader, to make the first move. The good news is, when one person (that’s you!) cares, they inspire people around them to care, too.
Most leaders try to accumulate power by protecting and serving themselves. Great leaders become powerful by serving others. For example, Mike Smith, the Atlanta Falcons’ head coach, visits his players in the treatment room when they are injured instead of ignoring them. And Clint Hurdle, the 2013 manager of the year for the Pittsburgh Pirates, is well known for the love he has for his players. In the business world, caring for your people might look like mentoring them, providing training for them, developing them with an eye to advancement, asking for their input on decisions that affect them, and getting to know them on a personal level.
Apply the one percent rule. In your personal life, how do you show others you care? Often, it’s something “small”: a smile, a pat on the back, a compliment, or an encouraging email. Yet these simple actions can make a huge impact on others. The same principle applies to caring in business—a small amount of effort can go a long way toward showing that you care. In fact, that’s the essence of the one percent rule: If you put in a little more time with a little more energy with a little more effort with a little more focus, you’ll get big results.
For example, staying at work for an extra 10 minutes to update a client on your progress or stopping by an employee’s desk to compliment work completed. The most successful strategies are extremely simple. Simple is powerful. Just remember that simple does not mean easy or effortless. You still have to take action.
Identify your “caring trademark.” The most successful people, companies, and organizations stand out by finding unique ways to show they care and they make it a habit. For me, it’s about the work I do; for another business, it might be that they are available and responsive to their customers’ needs 24/7. Some may even show they care by returning voicemails faster than their competition. The key is to find the unique way that fits you and your work. Once you figure out what this differentiator is, think of it as your “caring trademark” and make it an integral part of your company’s processes. Think about how you can go the extra mile for your customers—and use your imagination.
Keep caring in front of you. Remind your employees of your company’s vision and goals every day. Hang posters that remind your people of the power of caring. Email employees inspiring quotes and stories. Consistently talk about how caring has impacted your own life and ask them for their own stories. Let caring be a consistent factor in all company endeavors.
Caring isn’t another burdensome task that will make your employees’ to-do lists even longer. Caring doesn’t drain you; it energizes you and others. That’s why it’s such a fantastic success strategy: Caring breeds more caring—and more caring helps you to do better work, attract more customers, and create a meaningful legacy. ■
About The Author:
Jon Gordon is the author of The Carpenter: A Story About the Greatest Success Strategies of All. His best-selling books and talks have inspired readers and audiences around the world. He and his training/consulting company are passionate about developing positive leaders, organizations, and teams. For more, visit www.jongordon.com.
Modern Contractor Solutions, February 2015
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