The Power Of Making A Human Connection
One of the remarkable people I’ve been fortunate to meet in the past year has been Lonnie Mayne, a keynote speaker, author, and executive advisor who works with top corporate and cultural leaders from Park City, in my own Utah state.
Until 2017, he led one of the top customer experience companies in the world, InMoment, guiding that organization as president to substantial growth during the 11 years he was there. More recently, though, I’ve come to know the aspects of Mr. Mayne’s work that resonate with me the most: his focus on the importance of human connections in business as well as in life.
I’ve had the chance to visit with Mr. Mayne and hear him speak about the importance of seeing every person, whether an employee, customer, investor or even a stranger as a human being first. You may not agree with everything they have to say or be able to honor every request, but you can take your level of engagement to an entirely better level by acknowledging every person you encounter as a human being with their own story to tell.
Over time Mr. Mayne formalized his philosophy into a framework of five pillars: 1) Awareness, 2) Gratitude, 3) Everyone has a story, 4) Respect and kindness and 5) Put yourself out there. When people embodied these principles, everything changed. The company he led expanded at record speed as leaders and team members engaged as people first, showed gratitude, heard and acknowledged their stories and treated each other with respect.
Then, as the ultimate step, they stood out by becoming more accountable, more respectful, responsible and helpful. Engagement soared and revenue flourished. The framework became known as Red Shoes Living, after a team session Lonnie was leading while wearing a pair of red Vans sneakers. As he talked with his team about the principles and behaviors, one of them remarked, “We get it—you want us to stand out just like that pair of red shoes.” Yes, exactly.
So what happened next? As the company soared, Mr. Mayne realized the need and opportunity to take his own advice, put yourself out there, to another level by advancing his philosophy to leaders in corporate America and to the rest of the world. The time had come, and in 2017 the Red Shoes Living organization was born. Two and a half years later and many keynote presentations and corporate engagements later, the book “Red Shoes Living” is premiering this week on July 30, 2019.
What this means for leaders and participants in every business: to the degree that you think about these simple principles and make them a pattern for living, not only will your business thrive, but the level of meaning in your life will expand many fold.
Are you the person who regards others with gruffness as you protect your attention and focus with your “valuable time?” Or do you greet colleagues and others with kindness, gratitude for the help they afford you and a genuine interest in their wellbeing as well as your own?
I endorse these principles heartily as they coincide so fully with the principles of character-based leadership I describe in “The 7 Non-Negotiables of Winning.” As I work with leaders advancing brilliant technologies and inventions I strive daily to, among other things, increase their “EQ” (emotional intelligence) to match their “IQ.” As they learn to express gratitude and to treat their teams and each other with high courtesy their accomplishments soar (and they experience increased satisfaction as well).
Homes and families are strengthened. Communities flourish. Can you imagine the increase in prosperity and productivity (as well as happiness) our entire country could experience if governing officials could approach each other this way? Combativeness would melt away. Teams could focus on better solutions instead of partisan divide. Media outlets could turn their attention away from the noise and distraction of dissention to genuine and productive news and examples of human enrichment.
They are all around us. We simply need to open our awareness and perpetually improve our approach. “Red Shoes Living” is a fast and interesting read that could start the ball rolling for all.
This article originally appeared on Forbes.com on July 23, 2019.