Creating a culture of mutual success

Mike Leigh
by Mike Leigh

“When you help someone’s boat across a river, you’ll find your own boat has reached the shore too.”

I’m not sure where this originated, but I first heard this saying from one of my mentors. This simple saying is incredibly powerful because it summarizes a key ingredient for business success.

I’ve spent my entire 30-year career managing others, leading a department, or improving business processes. In those years, I have studied and experienced many different philosophies and theories on how to help an organization become more successful. In one form or another, all of them encourage helping others before self. Maybe you’ve heard some of these terms and phrases:

  • Customer-centric service
  • Servant Leadership
  • Patient Centeredness
  • Win-Win

Let’s face it – most of us are self-centered to some extent. In business, this attitude is reflected when a leader, a team, or a department puts too much focus on what’s best for themselves instead of what’s best for their internal and external customers and suppliers. It’s hard to grow when you focus on yourself.

Your personal and professional success depends on the support of other people. A restaurant can’t be successful without good reviews from their patrons. Team members won’t be engaged and motivated unless leadership takes care of them and helps them achieve their goals. Suppliers won’t be there for you in a crisis if they feel you are always trying to take advantage of them.

I recently shared with one of my clients that I’ve had good success with the recent team members I’ve hired. She asked if I had any words of advice for her as she was about to hire a new staff member herself. My advice was simple…make sure that you understand how the candidate’s goals will be accomplished by joining her team. In other words, worry less about how the candidate will help you, and more about how you will help the candidate. The better your organization can fulfill the needs of your employees, the greater their engagement, motivation, and retention.

The only hurdle between you and your goals is the support of others. You will have greater success and satisfaction by helping others to succeed with you!


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