What do you want to be when you grow up? That’s a question youngsters are often asked, but seldom do they ponder it for long. Usually by an early age many already have an idea what they want to be, and the sky is the limit. Perhaps some of the more popular answers include an astronaut, zooming into the darkness of space or a superhero with a special, super power used to help save the world.
Whatever the answer, the reality is very few of us grow up and actually fulfill that childhood dream. But Randy Ross, guest speaker and coauthor of the book, “Remarkable,” posed this question to the group during the home office breakout session at the 2014 Symposium held at Château Élan Winery and Resort to illustrate his first point.
Ross said when most children are asked this question, usually they are excited about the possibilities of what the future will bring, and most would answer the question with a twinkle in their eyes and a big smile on their face.
With that, Ross posed a second question.
“When you think about your life and your career now, do you have a twinkle in your eyes?” he asked. “When you go to a social event and people ask you what you do, does your heart skip a beat? Are you so passionate about what you do that just like us when we were kids, the whole world is a grand possibility and you start thinking about the future and all the things that could happen?”
Ross said that as kids, we dreamt about being remarkable, about making a difference in the world, leaving a mark that isn’t easily erased, and we got so excited about the prospects. But statistically speaking, we are far from being remarkable. According to Ross, a recent Gallup Poll indicates that only about 30 percent of the work force can be described as highly engaged; 52 percent Gallup described as not engaged with no passion, no excitement, and just going through the drudgery of daily activity; and 18 percent of the work force say they’re actively disengaged.
The key is making a difference. Are you making a difference?
Ross shared a video about Tim, an entrepreneur who owns his own restaurant called Tim’s Place in Albuquerque, N.M., billed as the “World’s Friendliest Restaurant.” Tim, known as “Tim the Man,” is unique in so many ways. He’s a personable restaurateur who speaks to everyone that walks in the door. His friendly voice and big smile are enough to make one’s day, but his specialty…it’s not the food, it’s the hugs. Oh and by the way, the other thing that makes Tim unique is he is perhaps the only person in the U.S. with Downs Syndrome who owns his own restaurant.
The thing is, Tim has it all figured out.
‘Food is just food,’ Ross said, quoting Tim in the video. ‘I’m a lean, mean, hugging machine. The hugs are the best part,’ as Ross points out.
And with that, Ross questioned the group asking, whatever you do, do you do it with a hug? Are you making a difference?
“That’s what brings special meaning to your life,” he said. “That’s what brings special meaning to business.”
In addition Ross said companies need to intentionally craft a remarkable culture, which he defined as the collective expression of the values, the beliefs, and the behaviors of individuals that comprise the organization.
“You have to hire remarkable people and create a remarkable culture in which they can flourish,” he said. “The people’s values have to line up with corporate values in order for there to be remarkability.” He added that there should be an overlap in one’s personal and professional values.
When personal values align with company values you have what’s called value centricity, a source of energy that determines the power and longevity and sustainability of any effort, a circuit in which energy can flow.
And then trust is also an important factor.
“Believe the best in each other. Where trust is high and resistance is low, change and progress comes quickly because collaboration is a natural overflow of a high-trust relationship,” he said. “But when trust is low and resistance is high, change and progress comes slowly because you don’t have that common foundation, and there’s skepticism, doubt, and second-guessing.”
Do we want the best for each other? Is there a high level of compassion? Are you looking out for each others back? Are you taking care of each other? Ross asked the group.
He said it is important to develop good, healthy conversations where people stretch to think outside their comfort zone and then they are challenged to step up to the next level, and if you can answer these five questions, you’re on your way to creating a compelling corporate culture.
1. Are you creating more value than you’re taking?
2. Are you leaving a positive wake?
3. Are you solving problems?
4. Are you owning the process?
5. Are you making the superior choice?
“It’s about not living life as normal,” Ross said. “Normal can never be amazing.”
Ross said that it was truly a pleasure to come and speak during the home office session.
“We recognize that the values that the organization (Bennett) holds to be dear are very closely aligned with the message of our book, Remarkable, so we’re excited to be able to partner with you in this small way to help create value both for your clients both internally and externally.” Ross said. “The work that we do is all around culture, and it’s obvious that Bennett is intentionally crafting a remarkable culture and doing a lot of things right when it comes to being able to provide the very best for their people. So it’s great to be able to work with organization that truly want to be remarkable.”