Posted: 09-Feb-2015 Category:
I recently had the experience of emceeing and speaking at a conference in Puerto Vallerta. This conference was a yearly incentive trip for TMG, The Mortgage Group. I had the privilege of being amongst the top industry leaders and some of the best brokers in the business.
So, that being said, what is the point of me writing about this conference, other than simply just to rub it in that I was able to go to Mexico for a conference? In writing, I would like to share with you 2 critical lessons that I was reminded of during my time with these brokers and industry leaders.
More importantly, I want to share the science and psychology behind how these 2 characteristics impact our minds. How they release one of the most addictive chemicals and one of the most critical chemicals within our bodies.
These two qualities are characteristics and the cornerstone of highly successful companies, and if you consistently implement them into your business, you are guaranteed to have the most amazing 2015!
I am sure that many of you reading this are thinking “I don’t have time to be soft. I have to let people know who is boss!” However, the truth of the matter is that our employees, team members and clients are all people, just as we are. They all want to be treated with compassion and dignity, and they all want to be appreciated for their time and effort. When your employees feel like you care and they feel appreciated, your business will never be the same again.
Caring starts from top to the bottom
During this conference, it became abundantly clear that the brokers were not merely colleagues. Instead, they were like family. They truly cared about one another. Rather than just engaging in petty superficial conversations, they connected at a deeper, more meaningful level. What’s even more amazing is that even brokers that did not personally know each other instantly treated each other like family. It was almost like an unspoken brotherhood or sisterhood, or long-lost relatives getting together at a family reunion.
I have known Mark Kerzner, President of TMG, for a decade. One thing that he has always been consistent with is he has always truly cared about his people and this industry as a whole. His people weren’t just numbers or workers or paychecks. They were actual people to him, and he cared deeply for them. He wanted the best for them and looked out for them, and they knew it.
You cannot fake true caring
After experiencing the TMG Incentive Conference, I was reminded that in order for a business to have a positive, caring culture, it has to start with the
leadership team. This isn’t just something you can make a mission statement about or talk about during a lunch meeting. In order to see real change,
all members of the team, from the top down need to live it and be it. It has to be apart of who you are. This type of caring is genuine and can’t be
faked. Above all, it must be believable.
Your employees and team members need to know that your care is genuine.
During this conference, I also had the pleasure of spending time with Grant and Debbie Thomas, the founders of TMG. In this encounter, I was able to truly experience where the foundation of caring at TMG came from. It was evident that Grant and Debbie genuinely cared for everyone in the company. It isn’t just their motto; it is their way of life.
As leaders, we first need to have a clear understanding of what kind of culture we want in our business, no matter how big or small the business is. As part of this, we need to bring people into the company that truly embody those characteristics. They have to live those characteristics and desire to be surrounded by those characteristics.
So, when you attempt to create a culture of genuine compassion and caring, you need to find people who truly are compassionate and caring individuals. When we find people who are truly living out our values, it makes it so much easier to provide an environment where everyone is free to live out those values. This will be so much more successful than it is to have to attempt to convince members of your company to adopt those values.
As a leader, you have one job. Your ultimate responsibility is to make sure that your people know that they are safe under your leadership. When this happens, everything else falls into place. Making your people feel safe is essential to your business.
When we feel safe, our bodies release oxytocin. When we release oxytocin, our bodies begin developing intense feelings of safety and trust (Kinsley & Lambert, 2006). The more oxytocin you have in your body, the more generous you are towards others, and the more you are generous to others, the more they feel safe and their levels of oxytocin increase, starting a chain of trust and caring though your company (Barraza & Zak, 2009).
Research has also shown that the release of oxytocin can make people more creative and productive (De Dreu, et al., 2013). Basically, when a person feels good, they do good work. This is exactly what I saw at the TMG Summit. True genuine caring leading to a culture of trust, generosity, and caring, and can even lead to creativity and increased production, and that is one thing that makes TMG such a successful company.
The second important element of a successful company is to appreciate your people. The trip to Puerta Vallerta that I mentioned above was actually a way for the company to show appreciation to their Top Brokers. TMG understands the value of showing appreciation, and the payoffs can be much greater than the cost of showing your people that you truly are grateful for the work they do and what they bring to the company.
In life, we are conditioned to always chase results. From the time we are very young, we are taught to work for that gold star or A+, for that next medal, trophy, or raise. The end results can be critical to developing strategies for achieving goals. Bigger rewards and results usually result in increased effort. It is important, however, to understand the impact this has on our long-term success, both individually and as a company.
If we do not slow down and appreciate our people for their effort and results, then all we are doing is promoting the concept of constant dopamine release. As we chase results and we get a dopamine rush, all we want to do is get another rush (Boureau & Dayan, 2011). We become addicted to the rush, as well as to the pursuit of that rush. In time, we lose sight of what is in front of us: our kids, our loved ones, our clients and our co-workers (McMillan, et al., 2001). Instead, all we want to do is achieve more and more results, even if it is at the expense of that culture of caring and compassion that we so desperately wanted.
TMG and their leadership team reminded me about how important it is to take the time to simply appreciate each other in our journey towards our success. When we take the time to appreciate the contributions of others, we reduce the constant need to chase the next dopamine rush and we foster an atmosphere of compassion, caring, and trust.
The amazing thing is that when we take the time to appreciate each other, in the end, we experience more success then we ever imagined, and we enjoy the journey towards it even more. When we are able to show appreciation to those that help us grow and succeed, we foster that sense of dignity in others.
How can this appreciation and compassion and dignity help us to be a successful company? It’s simple. When people enjoy what they are doing and they enjoy pleasing others, they strive to continue to do it. If someone feels appreciated and cared for, they want to continue feeling that by working hard and making sure that others are taken care of. The race to win at any expense ends, and everyone begins to work together to achieve a common goal. This is the key to making your business highly successful. And it all starts from the top down.
Barraza, J. A., & Zak, P. J. (2009). Empathy toward strangers triggers oxytocin release and subsequent generosity. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1167(1), 182-189.
Boureau, Y. L., & Dayan, P. (2011). Opponency revisited: competition and cooperation between dopamine and serotonin. Neuropsychopharmacology, 36(1), 74-97.
De Dreu, C. K., Baas, M., Roskes, M., Sligte, D. J., Ebstein, R. P., Chew, S. H., ... & Shamay-Tsoory, S. G. (2013). Oxytonergic circuitry sustains and enables creative cognition in humans. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, nst094.
Kinsley, C. H., & Lambert, K. G. (2006). The maternal brain. Scientific American, 294(1), 72-79.
McMillan, L. H., O'Driscoll, M. P., Marsh, N. V., & Brady, E. C. (2001). Understanding workaholism: Data synthesis, theoretical critique, and future design strategies. International Journal of Stress Management, 8(2), 69-91.
Nash, J. M. (1997). Why do people get hooked? Mounting evidence points to a powerful brain chemical called dopamine.