We’re preparing for our Annual Meeting, coming up this Thursday. This year promises to be our biggest yet, and I look forward to seeing you. What got me thinking this past week is our Chamber team, and all the work they are doing in preparation. This is such a great group of people. I hope you are getting the opportunity to know them.
We all know what it feels like to be on a trusting team. You can raise your hand and say, “I made a mistake.” Or, “I need help.” Colleagues will rush in to support us with no fear of retribution. The opposite is that we can’t admit mistakes or ask for help, for fear of humiliation or lack of promotion. Organizations that can talk about the truth will thrive over time. That’s a good team. The responsibility of a good leader is to build an environment in which trusting teams can develop.
Which takes me back to my military days. I went through my Officer Basic Training in Fort Lewis, WA. Part of our training included being put through different pressure tests, to develop our leadership skills. One was a problem-solving course, in which we took turns leading a squad of our peers to get them all through a physical obstacle course. And each round was timed. Here’s what we found: the men charged right in too quickly because they wanted to win. And they often failed because they didn’t spend enough time sharing ideas and planning. The women leaders tended to be slower, they spent more time planning, and they often came up with the right plan. But they’d fail because they ran out of time.
The best successes were with blended teams. And isn’t that true about anything? The more alternative styles/perspectives we have on a team, the more creativity we bring to a problem. Each of us covers another’s blind spots.
Today’s encouragement is to embrace the new, the different, and sometimes the opposing. They add color to the team, broaden our thinking, and make us more honest.
See you in the trenches,
So I had breakfast with a girlfriend this past weekend, and we were talking about the power of connections. On its face, a modest notion. And yet each of us can think of a moment when we really connected with someone in a way that changed our lives. A mentor, a teacher, a boss, a friend, maybe even a child. And as we continue to explore the hybrid/virtual world of work, connections can be harder to achieve. Enter kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with gold. Hah. Cracked pots connected in such a way that the newly created thing is art. Poetic, don’t you think?
I submit that, beyond anything else we do, making a connection with another person is the most powerful thing we can experience. It’s “gold.” Human connection is what makes us feel heard, understood, seen. And it gives us a sense of belonging. Lest you think I’m getting too touchy-feely here: when it comes to business, long term partners and clients bring us sustainability and growth. Simply put, those long term relationships are built on connections. We do business with those we know and we like. We listen to people we trust. And we are encouraged by people we value.
I find that, as I make ever-stronger connections with you, I’m expanding: my thinking, my perspectives, my understanding. And I’m learning that proximity is key to developing empathy. The better I connect to you, the better I can appreciate you. Even when we disagree. We can transform differences into possibilities; we can experience the “one plus one equals three” phenomenon, where together we do something new and amazing. All through connections.
This is immediately relevant because our Annual Meeting is fast approaching on March 2. Our speaker panel this year, along with our fabulous emcee, come from our region. Are leaders among us. And I already have grown through our conversations, our laughter, their amazing and creative ideas. I look forward to introducing you to them as well!
I encourage you to commit to connecting with someone, in person. No matter how small such a moment may seem, it’s worth your effort. Chambers exist to create such opportunities, and I look forward to knowing you as well!
See you in the trenches,
Our annual meeting is fast approaching (March 2), and I hope you’ve registered to join us. I also hope you will bring a “friend we haven’t met yet” so they can get acquainted, too. This is the biggest event of the year, a must-attend for our region. In previous years, we have brought in powerful – and national - speakers to inform us and broaden our thinking. This year, our theme is “Investing in Tomorrow.” I’ll be talking about this all year… on so many fronts, change - transition - is upon us.
One of the biggest roadblocks to change is the perception that it’s not in our self-interest. What we know: tomorrow is a certainty; it’s already upon us. And we get to own what’s coming next. Our self-interest absolutely is served as we look to tomorrow’s people, culture, and technology. How can we be better by adapting? Enhancing? What can tomorrow teach us? And what is the “opportunity cost” if we, instead, spend our time admiring the problem?
The very nature of a chamber is to bring people together. We start with relationships, cultural residency. We organize around the good thing we want to see happen, and we inspire the innovative spirit. Our Annual Meeting speakers will explore how we position ourselves to capitalize on what tomorrow brings.
I look forward to seeing you!
So last week I wrote about my sense of the economy. If you missed it, I think it’s a worthwhile read – check it out!
What’s on my mind this week? The proposed paid family leave mandate. Amanda has talked about the Paid Family and Medical Leave bills (HF 2/SF 2) in several past editions her Advocacy News. This legislative session is moving uncharacteristically quickly, so the time is now to express your concern with the expansiveness and cost of this proposal. (See attached letter we have shared with the relevant committees.) You can find your legislator here. The Minnesota Chamber has put together an excellent fact sheet on the legislation, along with additional resources you can use in your outreach.
To make it personal: as we face a $18B surplus, your Chamber would be paying additional $16,800 in payroll taxes in 2023. Try this yourself find out here how your organization would be impacted.
To my mind, the issue isn’t the value proposition of paid leave to care for family or recover from illness. I have two significant issues with this proposed legislation. First: this is a “mandate” rather than an “incentive,” and employers are in the best position to design benefits packages that serve the distinct needs of their employees. This will be devastating to small business. Second: the tails. Using one-time surplus to initiate programs with ongoing budgetary commitments is a dangerous game, especially at a time when business is bracing for an economic slowdown.
The Minnesota Chamber is hosting a free, virtual town hall to answer questions on the Paid Family and Medical Leave proposal on Tuesday, February 7 from 12-12:30 pm. You can register here.
We can’t sit on the sideline for this one. This is a real opportunity where your voice can make a difference.
On another note: we are promoting a few surveys right now – your input is critical! Each should take no longer than 10 minutes, and answers will remain anonymous. :