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GROW: Three Traits Your Organization Needs to Thrive

Posted by Wendell Brock on Thu, Oct 22, 2009

An insightful article I read in the Marriott Alumni Magazine stated that an organizations need to have three traits in their culture to thrive. First, a little background.

Growing Corn

Each semester Stan Fawcett, holds up a fresh ear of corn in his supply chain strategy class and asks, "Do farmers grow corn in Iowa?" The students with puzzles looks wonder why the professor would ask such a straightforward question. Fawcett's response is "No." Farmers don't grow corn, "the corn grows itself. Farmers clear the trees, remove the rocks, plow the fields and provide irrigation. Then they add pesticides, fertilizer and all those other things that lead to a bounteous harvest. The farmers' job is to create the environment where the corn can flourish."

This may sound simple, but as managers and leaders, our job is to create a work environment where our employees can grow and flourish in their jobs. By doing this can provide the right conditions to achieve maximum potential and productivity from each employee. The research team from the Marriott School Professors, determined that there are three critical ABC's - affirmation, belonging, and competence.


Creating opportunities to let all employees know that they are valued helps to satisfy the need in all of us for approval. Everyone wants to feel appreciated for their work and efforts to help the business succeed. Fawcett says, "Managers need to look for opportunities to express appreciation."

Professor Dave Whitlark says, "Employees also feel affirmed when they feel like problem solvers in their organization." As well as helping them "view criticisms as opportunities to help them succeed. One difficult job leaders have is to correct people when they are wrong." In addition, "create an environment where employees accept correction and even look forward to it because they know you want to help them."


The second element of a thriving corporate culture is the sense of belonging; it refers to people's need to feel socially connected to coworkers and to the organization itself. Belonging leads to higher quality service and productivity.

Professor Gary Rhoads says, "You can scream at employees, and you can threaten them so they're productive, but if you want them to give quality service, you have to capture their hearts. When productivity goes up, quality doesn't always follow, but when quality goes up, productivity always follows."


The third element is competence. Rhoads says it this way, "You either lift people up, or tear them down; I'm always surprised how many people take the teardown approach. And the way supervisors tear down employees is they peck away at their competence."

Building confidence can come from simple things like providing extra training, and letting employees be in control of their work performance. In house training by other employees, utilizing outside consultants, helping employees go back to school or sending them to a conference, this investment in education strengthens their competence.

Another method is to have a newbie shadow a veteran for a short period. This tells the trainer that the company has confidence in their performance and it says, "you're a great role model ... and what does the new person learn? A lot from someone an enthusiastic employee. This arrangement actually accelerates the learning curve."

By building corporate culture that effectively uses the three traits, employees become more productive, quality improves and loyalty is developed.

Fawcett smiles when he says, "When ... a manager understands and captures the vision of the ABC's, makes people feel valued, creates a sense of belonging, empowers them through competence, and then unleashes them to solve the world's problems, it's awesome."

To download a full copy of the magazine article paper click: ABC's

Topics: Smarter Banks, Positive Thinking, Growth, business owners, Grow

Share the Power of Thinking Positive!

Posted by Wendell Brock on Tue, Nov 11, 2008

By Carolyn C. Dowdy, President, Bank Project Solutions.  Member of CBA of GA

As our world, as we use to know it, spins out of control (out of our control), the choices we make on how we perceive it affects not only our daily happiness, but everyone around us.

During this time of uncertain many of us are focusing on the negatives.  If we think, talk, and preach gloom and doom that is probably what we will get....not to mention the message radiating through our organizations. 

Consider focusing on the positives and things within our control.  For example, lift your staff up and make them feel as important as that customer who walks through the door.   I venture to say the organizations that start focusing on the positives will be the winners when we get out of the slump!

Here are a few ideas to enhance positive results:

  • Have weekly or monthly pep rallies and have each staff member bring two positive ideas to lift the spirits and mood of the institution (no negative comments please).
  • You might ask your staff to bring ideas to grow the organization that doesn't cost money. You will be surprised at the answers.
  • After you get a list of ideas, form a team to implement the best ideas. Have the team meet regularly and reward them with Great Job!....pat on the back....go to lunch with the President...give them a "Certificate" that says Great Job!
  • Maybe we have a hiring freeze and will not get a salary increase this year, think of ways to lift up the mood of your staff. Start making a list of non-monetary rewards and implement them immediately. You will be surprised how far non-monetary rewards go with your employees.

This quote has impacted my life in a very positive way and I will share it with you.  "Look at a situation and ask yourself if you have control, if the answer is no let it go!" Anonymous  I added more to the quote: "I focus my energy on things I have control of!"

Another quote:

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives". Sidney Madwed: Famous Quotes about Life

Deal with the problems, resolve them with the resources available, and stay focused on the positives.  It is important to keep our staffs motivated, content, and happy during these uncertain times.  Just a pat on the back and positive talk may do the trick.

Topics: Positive Thinking, Growth, Choices

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