When Companies Care(d)

people-care-about-results-when-the-company-demonstrates-they-care-about-their-people

My grandfather worked for Consumers Power in Michigan for over forty years, beginning in the 20’s as a lineman and ending up in management. When he passed away in 1971, that utility company did something practically unheard of today. They contacted my grandmother, who’d been a homemaker throughout their marriage, and offered her a job. She ended up working her way up to a management position and retired after fifteen years. I’m sure this action was initiated by one of the senior managers but it was the company that we felt gratitude for. To this day, whenever I think about that company, I recall it being family oriented and actually caring about their employees and their families.

In today’s results driven workplace the perception is that most companies care more about their bottom line than their employees. With phrases like “work / life balance”, “flexible scheduling” or “excellent earning potential” being touted, it as though those companies are trying to convince people what a good employer they are. Would they need to use such phrases if they actually had a track record of being a preferred employer? Often times our perception of companies that are family oriented bring to mind small or family owned businesses. However, working for small companies may mean less benefits or a smaller salary.

I believe the attitudes and actions of managers have a greater impact on the perception of employees than any formal company statement. If your direct supervisor demonstrates that they care about you, your perception of the company is a more positive one. Conversely, if your boss is a jerk, it’s tough to feel good about where you are working. In large companies, the managers who are two to three levels above an employee are the face of the company because most workers don’t have interactions with the company executives. There lies the opportunity.

If you supervise others, understand that you influence how your employees perceive the company. Sure, you have deadlines to meet and results to obtain. However, treating others with respect, kindness and genuine interest in their wellbeing will help you produce better results. Think about a time that you lost your temper or behaved badly with your team and what that result was. Could it have been better if you were better? Knowing that those we work with actually care makes a huge difference in our performance.

Only you know what kind of boss you are. You make the decision to care or not care about your team. Just realize that your actions turn into the overall perception of the company. Just like that senior manager at Consumers Power, you can make a difference in the lives of your employees and their families and impact how your company is thought of.

christiebakeman.com

Now an apology to those who were reading my blogs each week and noticed that I haven’t published anything for two months. My husband fell off a ladder while working, resulting in a hip replacement. We aren’t spring chickens anymore so getting him back to normal is going to take months. Between working full time, taking care of him and handling all other aspects of our lives, something had to give and it was my writing. Things have gotten to a new normal for us so I hope you will continue to read my work. Most importantly, I hope my writing makes you think about your own life and beliefs and how to live a happier life.  Christie

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Productive Day Dreaming

there is force in the universe   Mahatma Gandhi

christiebakeman.com

Admit it!  When you see those humongous lottery amounts, you buy a ticket and dream.  You think about what you would do with that money.  Maybe your first thoughts are to do the responsible thing and pay off all your debt.  Then you come to the fun stuff; a second home, your dream car, travel to exotic locations or maybe you want to pile all that money in the middle of the living room floor and roll around in it.  It’s fun to think about the possibilities, to fantasize what your life would be like if you were the winner.  You probably continue day dreaming up to the point of the winning numbers being announced, at which point you decide it was a ludicrous waste of time.

Waste of time?  Let’s rethink that.  Day dreaming can be an extremely useful tool and according to research can increase your productivity.  When you have a constant focus on being efficient, your mind isn’t allowed to wander.  It is these mental road trips where your creative planning occurs.  When your imagination is engaged your mind magically pulls together concepts in a way that is different than when you are focused on a task.  Disengaging from your surroundings, even briefly, provides your mind a vacation.  With the constant flow of information that technology has brought us, vacations for our minds are just as needed as those for our bodies.

For most of my management career I spent a great deal of time driving.  That gets boring, fast!  On long stretches of highway between populated areas I had a habit of day dreaming. Actually, I would oscillate between day dreaming and focused attention.  I may be thinking about some random personal dream and while I was doing that a solution to a work challenge would pop into my head.  I’d examine that from multiple angles and once I felt it had reached the best solution, I’d go back to my day dreaming.  Depending on the length of the trip, I would repeat this process multiple times.

I find that my time spent day dreaming occurs most often in any moving vehicle.  Car, train or plane, it doesn’t matter.  For some reason moving through time and space opens up my mind to the possibilities.  I would think about a situation and day dream about how to solve it if I could do exactly what I wanted…..no limits.  Maybe you wouldn’t call this day dreaming.  It could just be my imagine run wild.  Either way I used it for years to bring the right candidate unto my radar or identify how to really reach another person.  When I experience writers block or I need to solve an emotional crisis, I go for a drive.  I’ll admit I might dream up some crazy shit but within it is usually a workable solution.

Day dreaming is also a great way to plan for the future and really connect with your long term goals.  Let’s assume that you want to purchase a boat.  In your day dreams you see yourself driving the boat.  You imagine the wind blowing across your skin and the howling noise in your ears.  You feel the upward motion as you cross over a wave and you marvel at your adeptness in guiding this incredible piece of craftsmanship through the water.  In your day dream, you are unconcerned with how you paid for the boat, you are just enjoying the ownership of it, albeit in the future.

In my world, this process is called visualization.  When I talk with a client about future goals we are focusing on the desired result.  Getting someone to really own a goal and totally imagine achieving it, is similar to day dreaming.  All too often when concentrating on a goal the client wants to delve into all of the hows but when you are submerged in a day dream, the hows (or all the details that will prevent you from reaching said goal) are not part of the equation.  When we are using our imagination, anything is possible.

If you’ve read about the law of attraction, you have probably heard that belief is a key component to attracting what you desire.  There lies the challenge.  Reasonable, intelligent person that you are, you know what’s real and what isn’t.  You don’t own the boat!  You want the boat.  You can imagine having the boat.  But you know, you don’t own the boat.  That’s where day dreaming or visualization comes in.  The imagery that accompanies your day dreams is what helps you to believe you own the boat.  If you continue to “own” the boat, eventually your mind will understand that it is a foregone conclusion.  Once that happens, the universe starts moving the pieces together to bring your boat into existence.

The next time you start feeling guilty about day dreaming, stop!  Recognize the benefits to both your mental health and your future.  If you’d like to learn more about creating the future you desire, check out my book, It’s Your Life….Own It! available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble or my book