“People are not an interruption to my day, they are the reason for my day.” Collin Sewell
Let the power and depth of this quote sink in. Collin Sewell shared this at his 14th Annual Sewell Leadership Event in West Texas this past week. Since the moment I heard it, it has been the greatest focus area in my thoughts. I’ve discovered three ways to live out this quote and thought they would add value to you.
Treat people like they matter, because they do.
It doesn’t matter what you do. Whether you are a business owner developing products, a service industry professional, or whatever your career choice is, you impact people. People are the reason for your product and/or service. Every purpose and calling involves people. Without people, there is no need for your product or service. Without people, there is no need for teachers or mentors. People are the reason for what you do. Examine yourself by asking “what would people say about me based on my last interaction with them? Did I show them how important they are, or did I treat them like another business transaction?
Schedule space in your day to interact with people.
As an emerging leader in the military, I frequently heard my supervisors and senior leaders share in staff meetings that they had “an open-door policy.” To me, this meant that if I needed to work through a project, needed mentoring, or wanted to drop in to say hello, that I could. Unfortunately, not all leaders mean the same thing when it comes to an open-door policy. They need to protect their time and day. There are so many things to work on and projects to do. If the person who comes by your office to take advantage of your “open-door policy” comes at an inconvenient time for you, how do you handle this? Communicate what your open-door policy means, but more importantly, schedule time in your day for those moments. This builds your credibility, enhances your leadership, builds relationships, and shows the people in your organization that they are important.
Go to where your people are.
In the Disney movie, “The Little Mermaid,” Ariel sang about how she wanted to be where the people are. Maybe you have an “open-door policy” and you value your people but no one comes to your office. Maybe you have a team that respects your time and does not come to you unless it’s an emergency. Instead of waiting for people to come to you, get out of your office and go see them. When my commanders came by to visit and took an interest in me, those were “money making moments” for my commanders. When it was time to put in 18 hours or work the weekends to get a project completed, knowing that my commander valued me made a huge difference to my attitude and productivity – even during the times when most people complain. If you work in an environment where your people are across the globe, then use available technology and meet with them virtually. People matter and there are no excuses for not letting them know.
If you will take time to reflect on Collin’s words above and act on them, I believe you will experience transformation personally and professionally, while growing your influence as a leader.