Sunday, October 19, 2014

Conversations Make Good Company

Conversations Make Good Company

We work for companies, sometimes we start new ones, and for some, they even own their own companies.   

We often say, in conversation, “oh, that’s a great company…” Or sometimes we’ll say, “…this isn’t a good company…someday I’ll work for a real one…”

I’ve said all of the above, about companies for which I’ve worked, helped create, and even longed to join. 

It’s true that no matter the industry or type of work we do, some companies are well oiled machines with a well known brand name to go with it; while other companies fight, scratch, and claw their way through the tedious day-to-day, just to make ends meet for their Guests, Clients, Customers, Staff, and other key stakeholders. 

What really makes a company “good”?  Is it the brand…its fancy buildings…its impressive balance sheet, or ranking on the most recent Forbes list?  Maybe…those things certainly don’t hurt.

We’ve all been on both sides of the fence, working for or with great companies sometimes and other times we’ve worked for or with what we would describe as bad companies.  If we consider those companies that come to mind…we can usually agree on one thing…what we remember most about these ‘companies’ are the people with whom we interacted. 

…the people make the place…is cliché, but true. 

Companies can be number one on everything from Forbes list XYZ to the stock market ticker, but all it takes is one person to ruin the perception or reputation.  By the same token, small businesses up and down Main Street USA without the financing, infrastructure, or resources of corporate America can create and deliver fantastic experiences for their Guests, Customers, & Clients as long as the engagement with people is memorable…in a good way.

So while it’s nice to have corporate infrastructure and the power of “the brand”, the real power that fuels the engines of any company is good old-fashioned conversation among people. 

That’s great news for any person, anywhere, working for any company on the planet.  Whatever our role, in whatever company…big or small…we have an opportunity to:

·      Inspire or be inspired
·      Change ours or their perception
·      Raise ours or their level of satisfaction with any situation, on any given day

All we have to do is simply talk to each other...engage in conversation, with genuine interest in what we can learn from each other or how we can help each other.  

It’s true for the companies that employ us as well as the company that surrounds us…conversations make good company.

Two for the road…

I recently left one company to go work for another, with many expectations.  Sure it’s neat to work for big companies with notable products and renowned brands.  However, at the end of the day, people pull it all together and make the magic happen.  

Brand new job, in a brand new city, and sent to yet another city for over one month for training.  I had many expectations, concerns, and doubts…and I was nervous. 

I’m not only meeting hundreds of new people, I’m going through the experience with two of my new colleagues with whom I’ll be working day-to-day.  They both have about 25 years of life and career experience on me.  In fact, they’re on their second or third careers. 

I was a bit anxious about the whole experience…until the three of us started chatting.  Every morning on the treadmill, at breakfast, at lunch, during our class exercises, and later for dinner…we engage in just good old-fashioned conversation. 

With every conversation I’m inspired, changed, and my satisfaction level with this crazy experience rises to new heights. 

As soon as my parents heard that I would be in Orlando for a month, for training…they booked a trip so we could visit with each other.  I’m so glad they did.  For a solid week I went to work/class and then met up with them for dinner.  The dinners were great, and the views were beautiful, but what turned an otherwise stressful nerve-racking week into a very good week were the conversations we had with each other.

One More…

Since leaving my last company, conversations with my colleagues, friends, coworkers, and leaders haven’t stopped.  Two weeks into my new job, my previous boss called me…to just talk.  We talked for over an hour.  Text messages to and from folks with whom I worked so closely for nearly four years have also kept me grounded…reminding me that this whole thing really is all about people.

This post is a nod to:

·      The company that inspires me (Disney)
·      The company that changed me (Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas)
·      The people that raised me (my parents).

When in doubt...just have conversations with people.  You'll be in good company...

Have a great day.


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