As we close out a difficult 2020 and look to how we want to orchestrate 2021, I was reminded of a quote from Napoleon that “A leader is a dealer in hope.” The challenge to all of us is to be our “best possible selves” so we can offer hope to our employees, customers, families, peers and ourselves going forward.
Speaking of offering hope, I was very saddened to hear of the passing of Tony Hsieh, the former CEO of Zappos and author of Delivering Happiness. Tony’s book, in which he described his approach to business and philosophy for delighting customers, was filled with many messages that helped me crystalize what I wanted to deliver to others; and included two takeaways that specifically influenced how I could achieve delivering happiness and success through my turnaround work.
The first take-away was Be Humble, and the second was make sure to build a Collaborative Community. My interpretation of being humble was to understand I needed to learn from others to do my best work. To reach out to others where I had little to no expertise and ask for their help so I could deliver the unbelievable results I promised. When helping a company, I needed to learn from the leaders, employees and board members to help me with the task. Bitcentral, Inc. in Newport Beach, CA was an excellent example. I learned so much from the Founder/CEO Fred Fourcher, the amazing management team, all the employees and board members, ensuring I gained the knowledge and confidence required to effectively guide them.
But to really deliver unbelievable results, I also needed to expand my collaborative community well beyond the walls of any company, bringing in outside subject matter experts to help us get to the end zone of success more quickly. I have included many of the partners in The Jayne Group over the last 22 years of turnaround work in my collaborative community. They are companies whose expertise has been invaluable to me and an integral part of each company’s success – and when I leave, I feel deeply fulfilled because I believe my collaborative community truly helped deliver happiness to each other – reminding me of the advice of Michael S. Melfi, Founder, Investable Mastermind:
“Collaborating with your community of customers, colleagues and employees will help you fulfill your vision and accomplish together what you couldn’t have done alone.”
1st Holiday Gift: If you have not read the book Delivering Happiness, I would be delighted to send one to you. See how at the end of this page below our holiday card.
2nd Holiday Gift: I have asked each of my partner companies below to share the advice they gave clients for 2020 and beyond in their areas of expertise. I hope you benefit from their guidance:
Workplace Emotional Health
“During these uncertain times, I have been focused on working with leaders, like yourself, to understand the potential negative impact of emotion on them and their employees. My suggestion is to be aware of your feelings and those of your people. This will help you formulate effective internal communications to provide stability and optimism as you assure employees that you will continue to effectively lead them.”
David Stanislaw, Founder/CEO, Stanislaw Consulting
Navigating Unfamiliar Social Media Communications Territories
“The pandemic forced a rapid pivot in the way companies communicated via remote working and conferencing tools. Business leaders found themselves needing to build new digital and social media strategies that fit within a new and unfamiliar landscape of virtual communications. Our efforts focused on sharing their news more frequently regarding the health of their companies while helping them navigate the challenges of delivering those updates in a virtual setting. We see 2021 as the year where virtual communications and marketing will be a new, and effective, status quo.”
Brandon Chesnutt, Partner, VP of Digital Strategy and Development, Identity
Value of Peer Conversations
“COVID-19 catapulted many in the business community to provide outstanding service, aid and more frequent outreach, while others responded poorly with complaints or empty platitudes. This contrast inspired us to set up a forum with our clients, facilitating conversations to brainstorm better ways their businesses could connect with and serve others during the pandemic based on the core values and missions we had developed with them. The enthusiastic brainstorming opened their minds to alternatives that built stronger relationships, and in this way of serving others, won new business.”
Linda Kleist, Partner/Co-Founder, Identity Creative
Effective Recruiting for Success
“When hiring, many employers forget a job post should lead with ‘what’s in it for the candidate.’ Top candidates will want to know what they will learn, how they will grow professionally and what are the challenges they need to solve to be successful. Increasing productivity is dependent on a company’s ability to be flexible and resourceful. When a shifting business model demands a need for different talent, we helped clients broaden their mindset to take advantage of what remote hiring offers: wider net of qualified candidates; ability to offer lower salaries and no moving expenses by staying in their current city and for the employee, no money or time spent on commuting.”
Victoria Betancourt, President, Coneybeare, Inc.
Retirement Portfolio Education and Soundness
“Many were justifiably unnerved to see the markets plummet in March due to COVID-19. To provide reassurance to participants in companies where we managed their 401-K plans, we proactively reached out with virtual educational webinars and monthly update emails reinforcing the sound allocations and tax benefits savings of their individual retirement plans. Analogous to a company that had a strong balance sheet in place to weather the pandemic for the mid and long term, we emphasized the definitive opportunities that markets would deliver over the time horizon with a well-managed retirement portfolio.”
Paul Fenner, Founder/President, TAMMA Capital
Consistency in Brand Messaging
“We counseled our clients to not focus too much on the pandemic in their brand messaging, as every single brand seemed to be pushing the same pandemic-themed message of ‘we’re with you.’ It is an important sentiment but loses its punch if you hear it every minute of every day. We preferred instead to focus digital and social messaging on the benefits of a client’s product or service, just as we would during ‘normal’ times. After all, if there is one thing people long for during this time, it’s normalcy.”
Tom McFadden, Creative Director, Jacob Tyler
Book Gift: Please email me your name and address and I will happily send you the book “Delivering Happiness” by Tony Hsieh!
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