Henry Ford & Bringing Out the Best in Others

This quote below by Henry Ford stood out to me today.  

"My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me" - Henry Ford

Bringing out the best in each other should be our ultimate goal, especially as leaders.  It's a focus not on self but on others.  As leaders we often times consider our job to be directing, delegating, or decision-making - activities generally classified as pulling the organization or our teams forward.  But a big component of leading is creating an environment for those under our charge to succeed.  After all, the success of a team is more easily achieved if several are producing versus just one person, right?  

I am extremely blessed to be associated with Crawford Landscaping.  I can't tell you how many times I receive compliments about our business and our team.  And often times when I receive a compliment about our team, especially when the compliment is directed at me as if I've done some miraculous thing to get ordinary people to do amazing things, this thought comes to mind: all I've done is help create an environment where people can do their job the way they naturally want to do it.  

I believe most people want to do a good job and therefore thrive working for a company who's culture allows them to do so.  Problem is, most companies in our industry create an environment or culture that places other priorities ahead of doing good work.  One culture creates an environment that releases the desire to do good work while the other company create a culture that stifles the desire to do good work.  We need to be the former and create a culture that releases our teammates natural desire and passion to do good work.        

Two points in summary: (1) creating this culture where we unleash this natural desire to do good work starts with a heart-felt commitment from leadership, which I think is captured perfectly in Henry Ford's quote above.  All of us at Crawford should be motivated to help our teammates achieve their best.  It's a heart-felt commitment, not just something we do because it's posted on the wall somewhere.  (2) there are some practical things we can do to enhance the ability of our teammates to do their best, and they include:

Making sure everyone knows what we stand for

Look no further than our Guiding Principles: impeccable quality, world-class customer service, doing what you say you'll do, and being a good steward of what you've been entrusted with.    

Making sure everyone knows what's expected of them each day

People thrive when they are put in a position to achieve, but to do so they need an accurate and timely vision for what defines achievement.  Moreover, people desire to achieve more when achievement becomes standard.  Therefore it's imperative we set the course for daily achievement, and our collective reward will be a culture of achievement.

Making sure everyone has the tools they need to do their job

People can't achieve consistently if they don't have the right tools.  It's leadership's job to make sure everyone is properly equipped.  

Making sure everyone on the team buys in

It's important to remove those that don't subscribe to our definition of achievement, namely our Guiding Principles.  Foremen will often say they'd rather go short than have a bad apple on their crew.  As leaders, we need to constantly be removing staff who don't "get" what we're about and adding those who do.  We cannot settle for mediocrity.

My dad's always said the role of a leader is to make sure those directly below them on the organizational chart have what they need to be successful so they can then do the same with their subordinates (and on and on this goes down the organizational chart).  To make this point even more dramatic, my dad often turns the organizational chart upside down, putting himself as leader at the bottom.  The idea is that the people in the field (at the bottom of most organizational charts) are the most important and all the way down the organizational chart everyone's goal is to ultimately give them what they need to succeed - we all work to make our field staff successful, and then we in turn will also be successful  

Join me in making it your highest priority to ensure you're doing all you can to help our team achieve their best.