Since 2011, Call-Em-All's founders, Brad & Hai, have been active participants in the Small Giants community. To be a part of the community, a company needs to be privately owned, profitable, at least ten years old and selected based on factors including community involvement, commitment to staff, and industry excellence.
Historically, Brad & Hai have attended the annual Small Giants Community Summit, but for this year's 10th annual meetup, they wanted Call-Em-All's next-generation leaders to be exposed to the philosophy. As a company that favors greatness over growth, thought leadership is always at the forefront of my mind. I was enthusiastic and eager to have been invited to be a part of the Small Giants Leadership Academy, a 12-month program where we meet virtually every month and in person twice. This year's Summit was the first in person meet-up with our cohort.
After arriving in Detroit, we met up with our cohort. I don't think any of us anticipated how much vulnerability and courage our first exercise of sharing our personal values and how they influence our leadership philosophy required. It was a powerful face-to-face introduction of each person and a great way to solidify the relationships we'd built virtually. We then listened to key speakers that talked about the challenges they went through as a company and how they were able to overcome them and come out of the experience with a stronger culture. It was an exceptional feeling to be surrounded by like-minded and like-hearted leaders, and to have these connections positively impact the course of our business and leaders.
Overall, the experience was enlightening and quite magical. Not only were new relationships formed, but the best practices and systems helped put new ideas into actions right away. Here are two takeaways from this year:
1) RECOGNITION PROGRAM & CREATING A CULTURE OF GRATITUDE
Call-Em-All believes that recognition is essential to an outstanding workplace. People want to be respected and valued by colleagues for their contribution, whether it's to the company culture or the service/product. For us, it's much more than applauding a colleague at the company meeting. It's a variety of simple things that we've implemented at our office. Everything from recognition cards, to a prize wheel (Thanks, Skidmore!) for birthdays/work anniversaries to specific team recognition's like the Ghostbusters Award. It's our way of saying, "Thank you, we value you!"
2) "CARING ABOUT EMPLOYEES & THE TOTALITY OF OUR LIVES IN A SYSTEMATIC WAY"
This concept was established by Chris Stakich, CEO of Rustic Pathways, and it focuses on understanding the several layers of a human that help motivate and allow them to stay engaged within their organization. These layers include security, variety, self-worth, love, personal growth, and giving back. Below is a breakdown of each layer:
- Security: The basic needs, such as healthcare and paychecks, that need to be met
- Variety: Variation within a role; The ability to be challenged or being able to switch things up
- Self- Worth: Investing in personal development plans; Feeling like a valued team member and not a cog in the machine
- Love: Providing a genuine support system based on care and compassion; Building deeper connections
- Personal Growth: The blend of professional and personal development; Improving and getting better every day.
- Giving Back: Having a meaningful impact and acting in service of others; Community outreach
Reflecting on this experience, I am very grateful and appreciative of the opportunity to have been an active participant at this summit. I'm eager to come back to Frisco, Texas with an abundance of new leadership knowledge that I'm hoping gains traction within Call-Em-All.