First. I am no expert in the subject, and far from me the idea of giving any lesson to anybody. I just love thinking about the idea of gathering pieces to make a better whole, and will speak below with all my heart and sole. Nothing from books or websites, beside the below definition.
Second. I manage a toothbrush company (www.mouthwatchers.com mind you, they are the BEST.BRUSH. EVER, but that’s beside the point here :). Laugh all you want. It doesn’t matter what we make, so as long as it’s right to your heart, it could be about anything, really. My point is that I don’t think creating synergy for a company that thrives in discovering children’s cancer treatment or is sending troupes of medical help in under-developed countries is any easier.
Google dictionary: “the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.”
In other words: The whole is greater than the sum of parts.
Let’s agree here: there is no whole without the parts. And that’s the beginning, the core and the end of the below blurb you’re about to read.
Consider people as individual first.
Then, and only then, as a group.
It’s not like I can get my employees exited about toothbrushes… Can I? (though you’d be surprised, this toothbrush makes people go crazy so I might have it a bit easier than if I was managing a bolt factory…). I have to find the excitement source, the beginning of the sparks, the origin of the individual thrive. But where? You’ll ask.
Within each of them. What motivates them, personally? Is it money? Yes, could be. But it’s not always financial rewards, you’d be surprise. Appreciation, feeling useful, successful, trusted, having more family time, learning, getting more flexibility… ?
Understand their heart so they’ll give it to you.
Take time to listen, take time to dig-in, take time to sit-down and truly grasp who your employees are. What triggers their emotions? Let them tell YOU what they need. Create that space where they can talk, express how they feel, an idea, a comment. Anything they feel they want to share. Not only you’ll understand them more, but they’ll build trust that they are respected for who they are, and their opinion matters. They will, in turn, put they heart in what they do and naturally contribute to the Greater Plan.
I want to be a mentor to all my employees. I want to share my knowledge and experience, and I want to learn from them. I want to build nutritive relationship.
Let people exist as individuals. They need to know and hear that they are, indeed, valuable and worthy as an individual first, and not just a piece of a puzzle that can be replaced. I try to encourage opinion and input from all members as much as I can (granted not everything needs to be questioned or you wouldn’t get anything done), so we grow as a whole, navigate on the same boat, in the same direction.
Care about them as individuals before asking them to care about your business.
I know, I know, many will say you should leave your personal problems and life at the door when walking into work. Well, I disagree. We are no machines. We have feelings, we have things going on outside the office hours. Whether they are passions, family issues or happiness, health, financial stress, projects… And I UNDERSTAND it. It doesn’t mean I transform the office into a psychology unit! But accept there will be no any company without considering the HUMAN ASPECT of it and there will be no greater accomplishment without it.
MouthWatchers is first and foremost made out of amazing Human Beings. Each of us is truly appreciated as individuals much before than as “tools” to achieve business financial success. We all have our own goals and motivations in Life. We all have our stories we come in with, our baggage. And I want to welcome everybody the way they are. Because our differences is what makes us strong together. What makes each of my team member valuable is their passion, uniqueness, desire to succeed, desire to learn, desire of someone in their family to be proud, desire to be financially independent, desire to have a stepping-stone for their career, desire to be part of a team that will help all of us achieve our own personal goals, and together, the company’s goals.
To end, as a young manager, shy of 6 years experience, I learn everyday, that the thrive comes from WITHIN. We, as managers, need to create an environment where talent and deep human emotions such as pride, satisfaction and accomplishment can flourish.
And as Dr. Plotka, MouthWatchers’ President, likes to says: “No one of us is as smart as all of us” (Kenneth H. Blanchard).
I am only trying to apply this on the small scale of our toothbrush company… But is it Utopia to wish that one day, million dollar multinational corporates will understand that, too?