Full disclosure: I wear glasses and am not graced by perfect 20/20 vision. I choose to see the best in every situation, person, and event. There are plenty of people who want to talk about the other stuff, and not enough of us are talking about all the good. So, let’s choose to see 2020 in its best light.
If 20/20 is perfect vision, how do we see in 2020?
To say 2020 has been eye opening is an understatement. The pandemic, Black Lives Matters, and the political climate all colliding like an astronomical meteor shower tripping on a crazy high. This collision means we are being graced by the true nature of our employers, our friends, our coworkers, our communities and our leaders. We can learn a lot of good things from this.
It is a special time as my Swedish grandmother Gerda Teresia would say. She liked to use the Swedish word for “special” to mean something unique that might be hard to see or understand, but that we should take time to appreciate for its uniqueness.
Gerda’s way is all very Scandinavian and judgment free. We’re the people who intentionally find beauty in the practical. I learned my optimistic view of the world from her, and am grateful for this every day. Especially in 2020 when I can see the good and special things that are happening all around us. Hej!Hej! New Normal. I’m glad to meet you.
Sure, 2020 has revealed cracks and crevasses that media and social media churns out at a constant rate. Seeing how our coworkers, our neighbors, our partners, and strangers react to new circumstances is eye opening in the same way as biting into a sweet, juicy cherry you have to remove the pit before you chip a tooth. When we look for the special cherry on top of 2020, we see that a lot of amazing things are happening.
People are paying attention to what’s happening and how it’s happening. We all have more time on our hands. A lot of us are using some of that time to think about a better world and our impact in the world. Consumers are voting with their dollars because they want to know the impact of the goods that they buy. Small businesses, local businesses, social impact businesses, Black businesses, women businesses are feeling the love. The big companies are responding by adding social responsibility c-suite positions and issuing new sustainability statements that support diversity, inclusivity, women in leadership, sustainability, and more.
Business is innovating at a fast clip in 2020 because now is the time to adapt & innovate. It is a wonderful time for new ideas.
Think of the impressive pivot by restaurant purveyors to pivot to delivering local foods to homes. It was fast and it is impressive. We saw independent fashion designers immediately begin making masks. Empty parking lots have been converted to drive-in theaters to deliver entertainment & community safely. Empty parking lots have also been converted to dining space for safely distanced outdoor dining. Fine dining found their niche with delivery and chef videos detailing dishes and their presentation. In many ways we are connecting more and we should embrace it. We’ve learned to embrace zoom for everything from professional meetings to happy hours to weddings. We re-discovered our appreciation for essential workers — the grocery store employees, health care workers, teachers, transit workers, restaurant staff and more.
Businesses and communities are helping each other and each is growing stronger as a result. Quarterly financial data shows that businesses embracing corporate social responsibility are bringing in the big numbers. That’s a win.
Surprise! Good people & good businesses exist. Let’s see the special circumstances of 2020 as an opportunity to make our world better. This is the new normal where people and businesses care about the impact they make. I, for one, welcome it with clear eyes.
Introverts, extroverts, and ambiverts are all equally powerful super heroes in our lives and our businesses. At BeeHive we know that diversity and inclusion drives up profits. All businesses need all types of personalities. Can you imagine if all businesses were led by the same type of personality? It’d be like middle school cliques all over again. Let’s not go down that path again.
We’ve all seen businesses led by a group with nearly identical personalities and we’ve all seen those businesses crumble. The most recent example that comes to mind is the rapid sale of Victoria Secret after the unsavory acts of its leadership cabal were revealed.
Remember when you were a kid and a group of kids got together who all thought alike and acted alike? Was that all rainbows and sunshine? Were they looking out for a greater good and not for numero uno? Yeah, I thought so.
Adulthood and the business world at times can feel like middle school. Pepper in diversity and inclusion and watch people blossom, profits soar, and satisfaction increase.
Whether you think of your inclusion and diversity as a lovely meritage of extrovert, introvert, and ambivert; the Grace to the Frankie; or the keys to your success —- embrace it.
Diverse ideas, seeing people in different lights, letting people play to their strengths, those are the crucial ingredients in your recipe for success.
According to the 2019 Aflac CSR Survey 72% of consumers are willing to forgive a company’s bad behavior, defined as knowingly selling defective products, tolerating sexual harassment, and/or issuing fraudulent financial information
Whether unethical or illegal behavior, consumers understand that mistakes happen. Be cautious as consumer forgiveness should not be taken for granted.
Your business is being watched. More consumers and investors research companies prior to making a purchase. 41% of millennials and 27% of Gen X put significant effort into researching a company’s role in improving our communities.
Be sure there isn’t a pattern of bad behavior to be found when consumers research your business. Follow any missteps with a sincere effort to improve and invest in your community.
One or two incidents of bad behavior may be overlooked. Consumers will not overlook repeated transgressions.
If your business hasn’t yet experienced any public wrongdoings, consider yourself lucky. This is an opportunity to implement a preemptive social impact program with corporate philanthropy, employee volunteer days, or sustainability efforts to build good will. Think of it as a way to inoculate your business. When the community associates your brand with social good, forgiveness comes easier.
Accidents happen. We can’t control for every variable, but if there has been a recent discovery of bad behavior within the ranks, employ a strategic social impact program to improve any resulting negative perceptions among stakeholders. Convey to consumers, employees, investors, and the community that the misstep was a one-time incident and explain your corrective course of action.
Consumers’ willingness to forgive is great news in today’s cancel culture. It is also an opportunity to build a reputation to protect your business while also aiding in the process of forgiveness should you need it.
Mistakes are bound to happen. Get ahead of negative perceptions. Start your good works now.
The evidence is clear. When workers are happy, profits go up.
To track worker happiness, a recent study used the app “Mappiness” to track individual happiness. Participants were pinged, asked what they were doing, and how happy they were throughout the day. Work activities were at the top of the unhappiness list.
There are countless reasons to improve worker happiness and grow profits. Let’s look at the top two. First, in today’s ESG focused climate, companies are expected to focus on social good and the happiness of all stakeholders including workers, suppliers, shareholders, and workers. The modern economy means work is a much bigger part of an employee’s life, as such they should be considered the front line of any corporate social responsibility initiative. Second, happy workers work better, stay longer, and are more productive.
Here are a few ways to increase employee happiness without impacting the bottom line:
The focus on corporate social responsibility has intensified since Business Roundtable’s 2019 statement redefining the purpose of a corporation as a “fundamental commitment to ALL stakeholders”.
Be sure your business meets modern business expectations. Take care of your stakeholders – all of them – and watch public perception, productivity, and profits improve.
I started a podcast for BeeHive. Is it my comfort zone? Most definitely not. Have I grown to like it? Yes. Does it feel weird to sit alone in your office and all out loud? Most definitely yes. Do I care that it feels weird? Not at all.
Sarah and I talked about starting a podcast last year. We want to highlight how as a partnership we are stronger because of our differences. We are very different people who balance each other and make each other stronger. Our banter tends to be very funny because of our differences.
Then life happened, and I embarked on the podcast journey solo until Sarah can join us. I’ve been talking about how to turn the bad advice, that we all get, into good advice.
In an episode called Pisces Moon I talk about reading my moon sign, which is not something usually in my lingo. Lo and behold what did I discover but that a person with a Pisces Moon always sees the sunny side of things.
Long term success grows from the transformational power of doing good things— being kind, supporting your community, building up your employees, and helping the greater good. The data shows us that those things directly correlate to greater profit. That is a win to those old school business types too.
At the end of the night, when your head hits the pillow, if you’re like me, you want to know that you saw everyone in the most positive light possible and did something, no matter how small, to make the world better.
As I sit in my office and talk to myself, record it and share it you will hear me talking about being the best version of yourself.
This fits perfectly with Sarah and I’s dynamic. I see the good side of everything. I see optimism and opportunity everywhere. Sarah will bring the data, her amazingly well honed empathy, and her brilliant humor later.
I’m very excited to watch our podcast grow and to step out of my comfort zone more. I hope on this journey that some morsel we share on our pod cast, This is for All the People, will nourish your success.
Until next time, be kind to yourself and to others.
Is your company culture supportive of all life choices?
Employees face countless societal expectations everyday. Successful businesses support their employees without judgment to strengthen diversity, inclusion, performance, morale, and countless other attributes of success.
At BeeHive we represent two very different lifestyle choices and work hard to create a culture where both are treated equally and provided the tools for success.
Tessa is happily childfree and I am currently pregnant with my second. In many work environments there can be a divide and even judgement between parents and childfree adults. At BeeHive we strive to create a workplace environment that makes either choice valid and important.
We have flexible hours so I can leave early to pick up my daughter and Tessa can come in late to miss the horrible Austin traffic. We can work nights or weekends if we have appointments for any reason during the workweek.
Most importantly we are judgement free. We support each other’s concerns and life events. Whether it is a sick kid, a long client lunch, a concern about aesthetics, or any other topic of conversation we consider them to be equally important and valued.
By supporting each other fully and without judgement we create an environment for each other to feel valued and thrive. When team members are supported by their employer, they work harder to support the company that they feel invested in.
Be sure your company culture is judgment free and has systems in place to support all life choices. Productivity and morale will improve, as will your bottom line.
New Year’s resolutions aren’t just for people. Smart businesses will start the year evaluating how to make their employees lives better so that they have happy, productive employees.
Happy employees like robust employee wellness programs. These aren’t the wellness programs of some high school gym teacher in the 1960s or a program that militantly tracks 25,000 steps a day. No, these are whole mind, whole body wellness programs that feel good.
Businesses have the opportunity to make employees feel valued by improving or introducing employee wellness programs! Show them you too are interested in their happiness and wellbeing.
First create an employee work group to find out what would happiness and wellbeing means to your employees.
Easy and affordable wellness options include:
Companies that invest in the well-being of employees reap financial returns from increased employee engagement, productivity, and retention. Strengthen your profit potential by creating an environment where your employees wellbeing and happiness is valued.
It is abundantly clear that diversity positively impacts the bottom line. The profit potential of a more diverse workforce has companies and organizations scrambling to implement diversity and inclusion programs.
Businesses are making constant adjustments to achieve their diversity and inclusion goals and are doing so by overcoming unconscious bias that stymies hiring efforts and even impacts A.I. programs designed to prevent bias.
It’s not only businesses that are looking for diversity and inclusion, Millennial and Gen Z employees consider diversity and inclusion programs when seeking and accepting job opportunities. Employees want to be on winning teams, and teams with inclusive leaders are 17% more likely to be high performing.
As these programs grow in popularity, companies have realized that successful diversity programs consider more than just ethnic and racial diversity. The practice of hiring for “culture fit” has been replaced with the practice of hiring for “culture add.”
Considering the full spectrum of diversity in the hiring process and human resources program provides an environment where all employees feel safe to voice their opinions and ideas. It improves meeting experiences where data shows that women and minorities hold back due to fear of dismissal or failure.
A San Francisco based start-up, Balloon, has already signed clients like Capital One, Thumbtack, Google, US Cellular, and the LA Angels for its workplace communication platform which enables company leadership to gather anonymous feedback from employees and remove bias. This concept provides an opportunity to save meeting time, which is often monopolized by senior management, and empower merit-based ideas to rise to the top.
We’re definitely on the right path to increased diversity in corporate environments and more specifically leadership positions. One thing is for sure, increasing diversity is a must for any successful business to increase revenue.
There is no better time than the holiday season for your business to take the leap into corporate social responsibility (CSR) aka doing good.
Implementing a social responsibility program for your company comes with major ROI. Employees are more productive, engaged, and committed when they know their employer cares about them, their community, and doing good. Customers take notice and are more loyal. Team moral improves. You’re thinking… why haven’t we done this already?
Let’s start by getting creative. Many organizations are overwhelmed this time of year and that provides ample opportunities for your company to get involved. Consider a few of the activities below to dabble into CSR.
To increase company participation, send an email to poll your staff on their preferred activity. Choose options that are relevant to your community and customer base. Once you know what matters to the team try some out. Or better yet, try a few out!
Encourage your employees to get involved, but start at the top. It is especially important that management is involved. Successful CSR programs have complete buy-in from the C-suite to entry-level positions. It’s always better when your team sees that giving back matters to everyone, even the CEO.
During the process, be sure to keep track of employee volunteer hours, toys donated, and team involvement. Once your first foray into CSR has ended look at the data to determine which activities and organizations really get your staff engaged, and start planning your next CSR effort.
Whether you’re looking for a one-time holiday activity for your team or dipping your toes into the world of social good, this is the perfect time of year to get started.
As much as we all aspire to be all things to all people, unless you’re an omnipresent, omniscient being or a pug that’s not a reality. As an overachiever, I’ve tried, and found the best results always come from focusing on your strengths and passions and persevering.
So, what’s the magic recipe to growing a successful and incredibly efficient business without being either a pug or a deity? Partnerships.
Smart. Strategic. Partnerships that are mutually beneficial to all parties. Who doesn’t like a win-win scenario?
We’re seeing successful partnerships play out everyday in the Electric Vehicle industry. Companies that make chargers and superchargers for electric vehicles (EVs) need public and residential places to install their chargers. Car manufacturers and vehicle related businesses need chargers to be readily accessible to tamp down the fear of mileage limitations of EVs. Utilities need a new customer base. Real Estate Developers need new innovative projects. Together they continue to form creative partnerships that lead to pilot projects to install chargers, ordinance changes to favor chargers, legislative changes that address everything from charger rates to locations and permitting.
We recently highlighted an innovative EV partnership in Detroit on InfoHive. This partnership brought together utilities, the city, real estate developers, automotive manufacturers, and nonprofits. A lot of entities grew their supporters, their customers and grew their business by thinking outside the box and seeing the value in collaboration. Vanilla Ice is right- Stop. Collaborate. And listen.
These EV partnerships are building innovative pilot programs that grow their businesses, develop industry leaders, and build relationships with consumers and leaders to strengthen their brands and their businesses.
Please feel free to reach out about any of the work I do here or at InfoHive.
More hands make less work. Together we can accomplish all of it!