A friend shared with me his love of knives, specifically, the legendary Buck knives.
If you go to their website, buy a product, or just sign up for regular emails, you will get the ‘family intro’. It is a promise of their integrity, pride in their product, and their claim to an outstanding warranty. What stands out clearly in all of this, is the story of the company and how they refer to the consumer.
Family can be an elusive term, sometimes filled with bad baggage. For many it is something to avoid in business and anything related to the world outside the home. But I maintain, and many agree with me on this, family is one thing we strive for in all arenas of life. As I look at my Advent readings for this week, I am reminded again of how powerful the image of family presents itself. Jesus was part of a family, a lineage, and all aspects of the Christmas story point back to a familial connection. It is just part of our humanness.
One business executive for a large global company (Lee Cockerell, former executive VP of operations for World Disney World Resorts. Listen to his interview here: 5 Lessons from a Disney Exec…) advanced this idea in regards to how he worked with his staff. He referred to his role as ‘parent’, regardless of the age of the employee.
- He shouldered responsibility for them and how well they worked. Caring for them.
- He was in authority, but in a way that brought about the best for each and all. Not authoritarian.
- He was the chief mode of encouragement. He set the bar, and they all functioned better when he spoke into their work.
- He helped them all get along better. They came to him for relational support, not just product outcomes.
- He helped them find their place in this world. That did not always mean staying with the company.
Every setting I find myself in struggles to accomplish all of the above. Partly because it is hard, but largely because it requires vulnerability and strength in character. If we try to compartmentalize the place we spend most of our waking hours as cold and separate, it will show. People will feel it. And the results will be evidenced in the workplace mentality.
We are all a part of helping our specific settings flourish, even if it is difficult. If for no other reason, then our own well-being. So feed your family…all of them!