The Maine based construction company Cianbro has a sign up on their conference room in Pittsfield that simply reads, “No one in this room is smarter than all of us.” Another quote I like is, “If both of us always agree, one of us isn’t necessary.”
Back in April I toured every location to sit in on employee focus groups. At each mill and store I sit with 8-9 employees and hear their thoughts on their work experience at Hancock Lumber. I really am interested in people’s perspectives on our company. I describe these sessions as ‘No Judgment Zone’ discussions. I think we can all spend too much time evaluating people’s views to determine if they are ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ instead of just listening to what people have to say and respecting their perspective.
THOUGHT OF THE MONTH: There is no single truth about anything. Different people see the same topic from their own unique view. Getting every view heard is critical to gaining understanding. Gaining understanding is the first ingredient in improving.
Speaking up is a team sport. Managers need to ask lots of questions and listen with interest. Employees need to take responsibility for getting more involved in idea sharing and decision making. The more you lead, the better we will do. It is easy to fall into the stereotypical trap of letting the ‘bosses’ make the decisions, but please know that I do not want that for our company. I want you to think of Hancock Lumber as your company as much as you possibly can. What you see and what you think is a really important. The invitation for employee leadership is extended; the more YOU lead, the more YOU speak up, the better WE will do and the more valuable you will feel. We don’t have to agree all the time! In fact, think about how boring and limiting that would be if we did.
I have seen a lot of people get brave, take a deep breath and speak out at focus group meetings and it really inspires me every time it happens!