Healthy culture = attachment

Scripture of the Week – Parable of the Prodigal Son – Luke 15:11-32 – please read this entire passage on your own and here are some excerpts to support this week’s blog:

vs 18-20: “I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.’ And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.”

vs 31-32 “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’”

This week we are helping the leaders of The Consultant and The Coach (TCTC) community along their journey by addressing the messy topic of attachment. The passage from Luke about the prodigal son is helpful because the Father provides the attachment example for each son. Through their attachment, the Father connects deeply with each son in the midst of their unique sins so he can lead them well. This can be applied to your business as you seek to attach to and lead well your people. Writer and Speaker Simon Sinek drew the distinction well when he said “Unhealthy cultures create addiction. Healthy cultures create social bonds.” We want to help you this week figure out how to establish great bonds with and among your teams. 

Attachment is the formation of meaningful relationships in your life. This is especially important in the business context to do so with your team and across your organization by cultivating a culture of relationships. This should be held in context of last week’s podcast and blog about Boundaries.

When establishing attachment, we will apply three lessons learned by Josh during his journey as an adoptive parent. Attachment is especially difficult in an adoption scenario. Josh and his wife worked diligently to understand these issues and apply them to their relationship with their son.

First – speak the language. In Josh’s case, one of his sons was born in Haiti where the primary language is Haitian Creole. Josh and Stephanie had to learn Creole when bringing their almost three-year-old son home. Parenting in two languages was one of the most difficult things Josh has had to do but the fruit of attachment and more functional behavior was worth every ounce of effort.

For our TCTC community, we encourage you to speak the language of your people and your customers. Get into their lives, their work, their processes and speak their language. This certainly helps when it comes to sales revenue. This also makes an incredible difference when trying to encourage and motivate teams. Erik as an athletic coach has learned this by speaking the ‘language’ of his athlete, he figures out how to motivate, encourage and ultimately how to get the best out of each person. This is where science like the study of generational norms can be helpful when trying to understand the various ages, cultural influences, values and normative behaviors of your people and your customers. All this knowledge should transform the way you communicate with your teams and with your customers.

Second – Meet needs. For Josh and Stephanie, this meant meeting all of his son’s physical and emotional needs. Every bite of food, every diaper, every middle of the night hold, etc. Extended family members were dedicated to helping with their daughter or other supporting chores.

For TCTC leaders, consider how you are accounting for the needs of your teams? This of course starts with competitive pay and benefits packages but that won’t keep people around forever. How are you meeting their need to belong? For growth? For advancement? When did you last spend time with your team to figure out their values, goals, etc and form a personalized plan that demonstrates how you will help them meet their needs as best as you can? What have you put in place to empower all the managers in your organization to do this for each person? How have you empowered human resources to support every family dependent on you for a living? How have you empowered marketing, sales and customer support to go over the top to absolutely wow your customers in very personal ways? If not, start now. Get more personal. Be more radical.

Third – Plant your feet firmly and embrace whatever comes your way. For Josh and Stephanie this meant staying steady in the face of some significant challenges that come with adoption. The stories are personal but suffice it to say they are raw and hard.

What are you doing to make a safe space for your people to fight, yell, cry, and passionately pursue your customers? Success of your business? And readily accept the spillover from home life dysfunction that will undoubtedly impact performance and inter-personal conflict? What are you doing to absorb the emotional needs and outbursts of your customers – no matter how irrational they may be at times? Are you a strong enough leader to stay steady in the midst of what will be raw and hard if you let it happen? Are you able to take a breath, plant your feet and embrace the emotions of whatever comes your way? If not, start assessing your leadership capacity and culture immediately because if you don’t your teams will find other places to vent these emotions which will lead them to attach to other people, places and eventually employers. And your customers will take their business elsewhere. 

We hope this gives you a helpful picture of attachment and several specific ways you can build better attachment with your team, among the people of your organization and ultimately your customers.

What are some ways The Consultant and The Coach help their clients with bonding or attachment? 

The Consultant

  • Work with the executive team to develop as part of their strategy a focus on forming strong working relationships amongst themselves so they might lead by example when creating a culture of attachment among the employees
  • Assess the hiring process and make recommendations for ways to add attachment into their hiring and training processes for employees
  • Assess marketing, sales and customer service strategies to speak the language of the customer and translate those into policies which empower employees to get personal and go over the top for customers.

The Coach

  • Work with the CEO to assess their relationships and make a plan to deepen the relationships they have with their executive team and others throughout the organization
  • Help an executive assess and improve the community of friends, family and other leaders which support them and hold them accountable

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