Weekend Read: Catching Feelings

Being an emotional person by nature (as many are) and knowing this about myself, I consciously work to keep my personal feelers (my 3 year-old daughter’s word for feelings) and views from being the only filter I see the business world through. A college mentor once made a very strong and lasting impression on me when explaining her view about how to show you care in a business context:  Showing you care in your business life is not as different as you might think [as in your personal life].

A big overlap in both settings that I’ve experienced is that verbal affirmation is not enough. In other words, don’t just speak about it; be about it.

Speaking the words “I care” must be followed by action and commitment. In my day-to-day business life, honesty, trustworthiness, reliability have all been great staples of ways to show my colleagues that I care about them and their contributions to the business community. It has only recently become very real to me that QUALITY and ACCOUNTABILITY are such great, tangible ways to say, “I care” to my internal and external customers.

QUALITY

It is easy to let a corporate marketing department do all of the talking about the quality offered by your firm. Most large organizations have very robust marketing operations to reach the masses at multiple levels; massive marketing efforts don’t just happen at the mainstream level, some of the best marketing happens at the grass roots level (individual email/phone campaigns, etc.).

When you “get down to nitty-gritty” (in my best Nacho Libre voice), does the service or product your offer measure-up to clearly defined quality measures? Can someone who is an expert in your line of work look “under the hood” of your vehicle and see the time (and financial) investment you’ve made to provide a best in class value/experience?

If you answered these questions with a resounding YES, invite deep dives and thorough analysis of your process and final product. Meeting and exceeding your industry’s highest quality measures is a great way of saying, “I care” to internal and external clients alike. Passing the test of quality is truly speaking with your actions and not just your words.

ACCOUNTABILITY

Being subject to the test of quality also says, “I care” through accountability.

Even in an industry founded in the spirit of fairness and cooperation like Workers’ Compensation, the industry’s evolution has given birth to a host of interests that routinely clash due to misaligning goals/incentives (or the perception of misaligned goals/incentives). Communication is as valuable as an oil gusher spewing crude richness hundreds of feet in the air from a Texan well and as scarce as volcanic lightning. Accountability is the great equalizer desperately needed to create balance among system vendors, whose inception (some may say) can be attributed to the apparent chaos and disconnect, to ensure the wellbeing and recovery of injured workers remains the epicenter of their efforts.

Can an industry say, “I care” any better way than to keep its shareholders and stakeholders honest and focused on the participants it was designed to protect through accountability?

Accepting accountability is the actionable way of saying, “If I can do it a better way, I want to do it better way.” Settling for the status quo or resisting growth and progress is detrimental to the success of the industry as a whole and a major obstacle for accomplishing its primary objective(s).

Please hear what I’m saying, I’m not opposed to growing profits or implementing efficiencies wherever possible. When profits and efficiencies come at the cost of quality, it is not worth the effort and could derail already established success.

Investment in quality and being open to accountability are ideal tangible ways to say, “I care” in business terms. People in the business world may not always care how you feel, but they will always respect and appreciate the quality you offer and your openness to accountability.

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