Stretching, Learning, and Growing
This is the second installment in our new SUCCESS in Action series (#1 here)
I received the following email from Brad Pedersen, President of Tech 4 Kids Inc. and one of the CEOs participating in my HIGH-PERFORMANCE FORUM. The idea contained in it is one any business can—and should—implement into its company culture… if you want to create a high-performance environment.
“Thought I would pass this on to you as a great idea that we have implemented into our business that was a part of my takeaway plan from HPF. In support of one of our company’s core values of ’Stretching, Growing, and Learning,’ we started something called Book Club.
The idea is that we would read a book every month and then get together for one hour one morning at the end of the month to discuss the book and the insights gathered.
I gave all the members of our company a copy of The Compound Effect for Christmas (in my offices here in Canada as well as in Hong Kong), so I decided this would be the first book we would discuss in Book Club.
I notified team members about it—the format to expect and that it was voluntary but with the caveat of anyone wishing to be a part of the strategic leadership in the company (nudge, nudge) needed to be part of it.
I expected to have three or four people show up since it was before work hours and most people are not looking for another extracurricular activity.
I was blown away that 60% of our office showed up for the meeting. I asked one person to summarize the book and then gave each person an opportunity to give me the Top 3 lessons learned and the single greatest “Aha” learned from the book.
It was AWESOME! I was so impressed with the dialogue. In the end we pushed passed the allotted 60 minutes and ended up spending another 30 minutes discussing the book. Everyone was highly engaged, and you could see genuine excitement about key lessons that were being discovered.
To top it off… we had a new employee who attended the meeting. He said it was one of the best things he had ever seen in a company and he was glad to have been a part of it. This guy is a CPA who came to us from Nestle and prior to that was an auditor with KPMG. You would think companies of this caliber would offer their teams opportunities for growing and self-improvement! It was very gratifying to hear from him that what we had offered with Book Club was extraordinary.
It also helped me separate the wheat from the chaff by the level of preparedness and the detail of the questions and comments the attendees had. I now have a better idea of who wants to develop and who is content to stay status quo. It will help direct me in who I will be investing myself in to help develop the leadership of the company.
The amazing ’ripple effect’ that I did not expect when we got back to the office: those that had attended had an extra skip in their step and were excited and highly engaged in their work. Their enthusiasm was contagious and they promoted Book Club to other team members of the company that did not come. I felt that just that one meeting helped create a deeper connection with the team members who attended. It shows we care for their personal development and growth, and that the words of our core value are not just empty but dynamic as we live them out.
While we have only had one meeting I am really excited about this concept, and I am eagerly looking forward to the next meeting. I personally was positively affected in that I found myself being like a proud papa watching our team members articulate from their notes the key learning points of the book. You can tell when it has gone from their heads to their hearts.”
Next month is going to be a classic: The Magic of Thinking Big.”
How about you? Got a book club going in your organization?
If having highly engaged and excited team who become enthused about stretching, growing and learning sounds like a good thing, give it a try.
If you want to ask Brad a question—or give him kudos—please do so in the comments section below.
Brad Pedersen is the President of Tech 4 Kids Inc., a privately owned Canadian company ($25M+) that develops and markets fun, innovative, and educational toys for kids. For more information, go to www.tech4kids.com.