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Create the Right Environment

When you begin to grow your empire, think about creating the right environment for your people. First. Right off the bat.


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Charlene Norman

4 days ago | 6 min read
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Let’s talk about Power for a minute. We all love it, and the truth is we have way less than our team members and our families think we have, right?

Let me share something I personally had never thought about and I bet you likely haven’t either.

Y’know the famous Mayo clinic? It’s the number one medical center in the US. Based in Minnesota. Well, not that many years ago, the good doctors there issued a statement that caused me to catch my breath. That statement went something like this.

The person who is most important to your health and well-being – way more than your family doctor — is the person you report to!!!!!!

Talk about Power!

Oh my Gawd.

If you have a boss, that means your boss is incredibly vital to your health and well being. If you are self employed, that means the person in the mirror is the most impactful. And if you have a team, that means YOU are the most important component to your team’s health and well-being. Oh my Gawd. What concept!

The person who is most important to our health and well being – way more than our family doctors — is the person we report to!!!!!!

Let’s dig a bit deeper on that.

Let’s look at the so-called daily grind of real work in people.

No matter what kind of work or position of work we do, humans spend 8 to 10 hours a day working 5 or 6 days a week with a bunch of people who often but not always are serious, judgmental and very often competitive.

We can have a list of 20 things that we need to get done, and we can do 19 of the 20 perfectly. We can screw up one thing and then get dumped on from all sides for that one thing. In fact, we very rarely hear about the 19 things we did right because that’s what we get paid for.

And oftentimes, when we come up with new ideas, we are told varying things from no, you’re too young, too old, too something. To I’m the boss, it’s outside your pay grade, get to work or my favourite, we already tried it and it just doesn’t work.

Now we do this, 8 – 10 hours a day, 5 or 6 days a week. Add to that a boss who never tells you you’re doing well on the 95% of your job you excel at, but instead hounds you on the 5% you mess up, and then treats you like a mushroom most days. That is pretty much it for a lot of us. And we do this for 40 to 50 weeks a year for up to 40 years of our life. Does that seem like an environment that humans would naturally gravitate to?

We have all experienced at least one boss from hell ourselves, right? And we know exactly what this is like. Major stress, unhappiness, maybe ulcers, migraines, strange ailments in parts of the body.

I sure as hell did not like that kind of environment. Because for me that kind of environment did not allow me to speak my mind, did not allow me to contribute, did not give me any credit, or incentive, or allow me to participate in decisions.

As a matter of fact, that is what I call

A toxic environment.

And I bet, you agree with me. Because anyone who supports such an environment deserves the result they get. What kind of result would they get? Well, the awful fact is, EXACTLY what we have seen over the last forty years and EXACTLY what we see in too many parts of the country today.

There has been little change.

Plus we have a healthcare CRISIS — mainly because 74% of all illnesses are chronic.

A chronic illness is something that occurs for a long time.  Like heart attacks, strokes, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and oral health.

The person who is most important to your health and well-being – way more than your family doctor — is the person you report to!!!!!!

Today, the whole issue of the rising cost of healthcare as well as the mental health issues are on your shoulders. Full stop. They are NOT on your employees. And unfortunately, now you don’t have the luxury of blaming past generations. Now, you have the responsibility of fixing things fast.

So how on earth do we do THAT?

Humans are social animals. We need interaction with our fellow humans. The number one thing we all crave is to be accepted and appreciated. Full stop.

The only way I know how to exercise our power as leaders in the right way is to put the personal back into business. That is, genuinely care and treat all the peeps you deal with like treasured friends. We, as Leaders, have a responsibility to our employees to ensure that they go home with all the physical and mental parts that they brought with them completely intact and undamaged as when they arrived to work.

Not that many decades ago

I remember when the whole health, safety, and environment thing became a legislated thing. And I thought it was a great intrusion on our work lives. Just more freaking policies and procedures to follow. More damn compliance issues.

So, I fluffed it off just like almost everybody else did as the HSE person’s job or the office manager’s job. I never bought into the fact I could do anything. So, it definitely was not my responsibility. Until one day, I was chatting with a friend who was complaining about all the executives and business owners who would only do the absolute minimum in Safety practices and the result was accident statistics were not trending better. She couldn’t understand why employers did not pay for better safety practices.

And I jumped up and down about the cost of implementing all the redundant safety measures. And she was horrified. She called me on the carpet and said, how can you be so arrogant and treat your people’s body parts as so much lesser than corporate cash flow? Do you really believe an employee should go home with any single part of their body damaged so you can have more cash in the bank? Do you honestly believe it is not your duty to protect that employee while they give your company their best?

I could not answer her. She was right. And suddenly the well-being of my people became more important than just the cash in the bank. One of my guiding principles became everyone is entitled to go home with the same physical body in exactly the same physical format they arrived in.

But I have to admit, I never once considered the huge cost of the mental strain most of us employees endure. That stunned me. And while I did learn how to be a better-than-average boss and was complimented as such by my own teams – much later – on my abilities to foster a decent work environment, today, I don’t believe DECENT is enough.

Because here’s the thing.

When our team members and colleagues leave work mentally frustrated, they take that frustration out on their families. So, it’s the throw a rock in the water and watch how big the ripples grow. You can say something crappy to a person during the day and they will say something crappy to someone else who will say something crappy to someone else and etc. etc. etc. It’s not just what you said.

It’s the effect you have had on so many lives from saying one crappy thing. That is what boggled my mind. That is the real impact of the real power we hold as bosses or leaders. My message today is you are responsible for the man or woman in your mirror and the man or woman on your team. You have a huge impact on their health and well-being. THAT is power.

Kinda really puts things in perspective, doesn’t it? Our first priority is to create the right environment that protects our team’s health and well-being.

I believe in you. I KNOW you can make the impact you want! Reach out to me when you are ready.

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Created by

Charlene Norman

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Chief Empathy Officer & Truth Teller

Business Owners, Presidents, CEOs and Founders rely on me to boost the energy, effectiveness and profitability of themselves and their businesses. Mother to two fur babies; wife of best man in the world. Occasionally profound. https://www.linkedin.com/in/canorman/


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