Welcome to Season 1, Episode 1 of my brand new newsleader. I know regularly scheduled emails tend to be called newsletters. But c’mon… you’re the boss. News is for everybody. What kind of a gaffe would it be if the gaffer got their news generically? You don’t have time for that. The headlines need to fit the role.
My name is Dane Sanders and I'm the CEO at TMYD. We likely met more personally through one of my talks or courses. That tends to be how leaders get on this list. If that's how you got here, fantastic. If someone sent this to you, welcome! Either way, you belong here.
TMYD's purpose is simple: We help leaders build organizations where their people love their jobs.
As you might imagine, lots of good things happen when your people love their work. We’ll get into some of those in just a second. Before we do though, let me explain just a little more of what we’re doing with this thing…
Every few weeks I’ll be sending you a Strategic One-Pager (literally the definition of a newsleader… that I just made up). Each will be thought through enough to make it substantive while practical enough for you to take action. That’s it. Get in, get out. Nobody gets hurt.
With each read, you should gain an unfair advantage on how you lead your project, while bugging you just enough to get you to do something with it.
Bonus: If you hit reply and share a question you’re already bugged by, I’ll do my best to bump your bugaboo to the front of the line.
For this inaugural, let’s get cracking with what may be the most important (but least asked) question of most every enterprising leader I know…
"What do you want?"
When I ask entrepreneurs like you this question, they usually say they want to grow their business. Fair enough. But it doesn't take much poking around to discover something else. You want more than just a healthy bottom line.
You want to build a great company.
You're dreaming of an organization that is changing worlds. Where the people who benefit from what you do are delighted, and the ones who work for you - the ones making it happen - are thriving.
But, there's a problem. If the data is any indicator of success, extraordinary doesn't happen very often.
How can anyone claim to have built a great organization when…
- 48% of all employees in the U.S. are thinking about resigning.
- 82% feel misunderstood in the workplace.
- 67% are consciously holding their best back at work.
I'm guessing these stats are not unfamiliar. But, of course, you probably knew all that. But, between "the great resignation" and a constant barrage about "poor mental health in the workplace," it's tempting to think this is just the way it is… to settle.
I get it. It seems less painful to keep our heads in the sand. Maybe we can find another metric to feel better about—nothing to see here.
Only there is more to see, especially if you consider the implications of those stats above.
Did you also know...
- Employees with depression miss 6-25 more days of work per year?
- Teams function at about 60% of their true potential?
- About a trillion (with a T) dollars are lost in productivity due to poor mental health every year?
Ugh. It's no wonder people are thinking about quitting. The philosopher Søren Kierkegaard used to say people "find the level of despair [they] can tolerate… and call it happiness." It's tempting to think this is as good as it gets.
Spoiler alert: It's not.
Here's the thing…
I'm bullish we can do better. Like, a lot better. Deep down, I have a hunch you think so, too. Of course, we all would do better if we had a strategy (or three) we could count on consistently.
At TMYD, we’ve spent the last two-and-a-half years researching what is going on here and have found three distinct (and highly predictable) thread lines to hope. Each are distinct approaches to organizational well-being. They overlap in places, but when we see them as parts of a healthy whole, it gives us a few clear and straightforward paths forward.
Think of these strategies as atomic-level parts that build up to the complex organisms we lead. When they’re in good shape, the whole enterprise is robust.
To become great, every organization needs…
- Flourishing individuals.
- Healthy teams.
- People who are organically (without coercion) driven to do their best.
We believe that when a company gets enough cash to survive (thanks, Maslow), these three fundamental elements are the next most important indicators that a company has a chance to thrive.
"Yeah, but how do we make those things happen?"
As the leader, the first step is to have the categories clear in our mind.
From there, we can begin to assess how you’re doing in each. In truth, trying to tackle all three strategies at once is a little nuts, and surprisingly unnecessary. We’ve seen leaders try. But they end up giving up because of the heavy lifting and cost all at once.
But, that’s not you. You’re playing to win the long-game.
For your people to love their job, they mainly need to know you are moving in the right direction.
The discouragement kicks in when they start believing you want them to care disproportionately about what the company wants without experiencing the company caring about what they want.
The good news is when that belief reverses, it’s turns your company into a talent magnet.
You’re not chasing good people or begging them to be more engaged or worried your best are going to leave you. No way. When you believe, you’re voluntarily drawn in to give your best. It’s irresistible.
In the next newsleader, we’ll lay out the first of these strategies… the one proven path to help individuals thrive in any circumstance. We’ll tackle strategies two and three after that.
“But, wait!” you say with your outside voice. “There’s no waiting in leading. What if I want to get after it right now?!”
Just like a leader would say… If that’s you, I have an extra credit assignment. Not homework. There’s no chore here. Just opportunity. Your job over the next two weeks is simple: Get curious.
Channel your inner Ira Glass and go on a special assignment. Invest five (5) actual minutes talking to one person on your team every day and take notes.
That's it! Real people. Honest questions. And, I'm not kidding on the notes part. It helps you listen, and it allows them to feel heard. Ask questions like…
- "If you could wave a magic wand, how would you start every day?"
- "When do you run out of energy in your day, and what do you do about it?"
- "When was the last time you had your best night of sleep… and what contributed to it?"
Resist the temptation to offer advice. Instead, listen like a reporter!
Next time, we'll take that research and put it to work. If you want extra credit on your extra credit, ask yourself the same questions. I promise the answers you discover will be the building blocks for a new lease on your leader life.
But that's a newsleader for another day.
Until then, keep it classy.
P.S. A much-deserved shout-out to my friend, Ann Handley. She's the queen of fortnightly newsletters and my mentor in this process. If you like what you're getting, will you let me know and give Ann credit? If you hate it, will you let me know and blame me?
Better, if you don't know Ann and have ever considered newsletters, content marketing, or pretty much anything remarkable connected to writing, you'd be nuts not to make her your Sensei. Find out more at AnnHandley.com.
Dane Sanders is CEO of TellMeYourDreams.com. His team of certified mental health professionals and coaches - trained in TMYD's motivation modality - offer workshops tailored for organizations looking to become great. Tom Rodriguez is TMYD's Chief Mental Health Officer. Comments and questions are always welcome at email@example.com.
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