ROLE MODEL stories feature people and organizations that support humanistic cultures where there is relentless passion for kindness, empathy, dignity, trust, transparency, sharing, happiness, compassion, and love.
Culture ROLE MODELS©
Whole Person Organizational Cultures©
Employee Happiness, Wellbeing and Engagement
Gerald R. Wagner, PhD.
Table of Contents
- What's new with Donna?
- Radio Flyer is a ROLE MODEL: 98 Years of Smiles
- New Video: Wellbeing the Five Essential Elements.
- Great Harvest Bread is a ROLE MODEL: Freedom to Fly.
- Marco's Pizza is a ROLE MODEL: Why Marco's?
- A Dream + Persistence = Success
- Type A and Type B Personality Theory
- Omaha Gathering of Peers: A Success.
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Do you have a friend that teaches at a college or university? ROLE MODELS archives are outstanding materials for a class on organizational cultures. A particularly exciting class would be where students in teams work with local businesses to research and document their cultures, i.e., case studies. It is also fun to think about collaboration between schools to share experiences and discoveries. I’m biased of course but many schools should be offering such as course.
What's New With Donna?
Dr. Donna Hicks is one of our amazing teachers and friends, and she’s been doing amazing and exciting work since we last heard from her. Here is an update on Donna’s busy schedule in her own words:
“It’s been a good year for Dignity. One of my favorite projects took place at Trinity Valley School in Fort Worth, Texas. Carol Clementine, a third grade teacher, developed a dignity curriculum for her 17 students. She was determined to make the dignity work “kid friendly.”
Based on my Dignity Model, the children learned how to honor dignity, what it meant to experience a dignity violation, and how to take responsibility when they have violated someone’s dignity. Even at the age of seven, these kids understood dignity in a deep way. They may not have had words to describe what a violation felt like, but they knew exactly what it meant.
— At right: Dignity, Dr. Donna Hicks, Author.
At the end of the semester, I promised them that they would receive a dignity badge, marking their graduation as the world’s youngest dignity agents! Carol is teaching the same curriculum this semester to her new 3rd grade students. You can read about them at drdonnahicks.com. Go to my archived blogs and look for “The World’s Youngest Dignity Agents.”
Another project that I was involved in took place in Rome this summer, sponsored by the Ara Pacis Initiative, for which I’m the vice-president. The project is called “Syriaza,” a Syrian-to-Syrian storytelling, archiving, and dissemination project for peace-building.
Led by poets, human rights defenders, community leaders and citizen journalists, all of whom are active members of civil society in Syria, the group supports healing, the preservation of memory, and the documentation of history in the war-ravaged country. The goal was to record the experiences of everyday citizens who have not had an opportunity to tell stories of the suffering they’ve experienced under the brutal Assad regime and ISIS. Another goal was to equip the participants with the skills needed to collect the testimonies of people in a way that restored and preserved their shattered dignity. We created “Dignity Healing Testimony” to help them begin to heal from the tragic wounds so many of them brought with them to Rome.
The faculty, which included many skilled professional international conflict specialists as well as Nobel Peace laureate Leymah Gbowee, equipped them with the skills they needed to archive the stories and prepare them to be disseminated within Syria and to the western world. Our hope is to have international media outlets air the stories so that the world will understand what is happening to ordinary people within Syria.
Working with the Syrians was a powerful experience, to say the least. They are an extraordinary people whose voices need to be heard. What is happening inside the regime is as bad as what ISIS is doing in northern Syria, but the media is only reporting on the brutality of ISIS. The whole story needs to be told and with the help of this project, that just may become a reality.
I am continuing my educational consulting with the Dignity Model because I feel a great need to work with young people, and provide them with a language to express and understand the importance of Dignity in all of our lives.
Next week, I’m starting a project at La Jolla Day School, introducing the Dignity Model to teachers, administrators, students, and parents, in an effort to create a culture of dignity at the school. The headmaster, Dr. Gary Krahn, believes that creating a culture of dignity at the school is a way of dealing with the problem of bullying, as well as bringing everyone in the school system together to create a dignity friendly environment. Everyone is responsible for dignity—their own and the dignity of others. We’re working to have a school-wide environment full of Dignity Agents of all ages.
One last thing to brag about—Mike Wilpur, a teacher at Berkeley Carroll School in Brooklyn, has created a dignity curriculum for his middle school students. You can read a series of blogs about his remarkable work at drdonnahicks.com. Just click on my blog and go through the archive to read about what’s possible if we accept the importance of dignity, and decide to do something about it (see “More Young Dignity Agents Ready to Change the World”)."
98 Years of Smiles
Say the name Radio Flyer and people are reminded of their most treasured childhood memories — nearly everyone has a favorite little red wagon story. Radio Flyer is one of the toy industry’s most respected names and one of the world’s most loved children’s brands.
Having fun at Radio Flyer isn’t just another perk, it’s a job requirement! Employees are committed to a culture that embraces positive energy and believes in celebrating the successes of the company and each other. The company makes time to celebrate important milestones in the lives of their “Flyers,” such as weddings, birthdays, anniversaries and baby showers, along with company specific events. The result: every individual feels appreciated, engaged and part of a successful team.
When Grandfather Antonio Pasin started Radio Flyer in 1917, his dream was to “bring joy to every boy and every girl”. Today, the Radio Flyer family continues that tradition by building safe, quality toys that spark imagination and inspire active play. From the original little red wagons to current wagons, tricycles, scooters, and other ride-ons, Radio Flyer toys bring smiles to children and families around the world and create warm memories that last a lifetime.
The company offers employees more than a job. They offer a tight-knit community where every role is important and every Flyer has a voice. Mutual respect and appreciation is a Radio Flyer tradition that is continually preserved because it fosters an atmosphere that encourages new and different ideas.
Watch the employees at Radio Flyer tell their stories about the company as a place to work:
“You can be a catalyst for success in a world-class company. At Radio Flyer, you can see it right before your eyes,” said one of the company’s senior operations managers. Through Radio Flyer’s selection process, they strive to find a match between what candidates love to do and what the company needs them to do. They only hire candidates who are a good fit, so it’s easy for employees to love their jobs.
The company expects Flyers to grow with them, so they provide career development and training through Wagon U. They’ve built a community/environment where Flyers have fun while working and playing together at their many events such as Halloween, volunteer opportunities and committee sponsored activities.
At Radio Flyer, a good idea is much more than just an idea, it’s an opportunity to motivate kids to get out and be active – to exercise, play and use their imaginations. This is the heart and the power of what Radio Flyer does. Radio Flyer innovations spark imaginations all over the world, which drives the passion and commitment of the Flyer team.
New Video: Wellbeing the Five Essential Elements.
Sonia Keffer is one of our super star teachers. Her new video on Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements is now available.
This video as with all Institute videos are free. This one summarizes the material in Gallup’s milestone book. Sonia’s video lends itself especially well for use in employee discussion groups. She has facilitated such groups many times and can say with 100% confidence that employees will find the event to be successful.
Freedom to Fly
Great Harvest began in Great Falls, MT, over 35 years ago. As the first location grew more and more successful, people started asking the owners for advice on how to open their own bakeries. From there, one the nation’s most progressive franchise models (it’s dubbed the “Freedom Franchise”) was born.
Today there are more than 210 Great Harvest bakeries across the United States, each a uniquely fun, fresh and friendly mom-and-pop style gathering place.
Great Harvest isn’t a typical cookie-cutter (pun intended!) franchise. Franchisees have the latitude to create unique, inviting and upbeat neighborhood bakeries featuring fresh whole grain breads, sandwiches, and other goodies. Great Harvest provides a playbook (not a rule book) for small business success. The “playbook” includes a proven business model, weeks of hands-on training, and all the systems, resources, tools and recommendations of a traditional franchise. The CEO, Mike Ferretti, describes the freedom model for prospective customers:
“Great Harvest not only allows you to think. It requires it of you. It not only allows you to make decisions at the right level. It requires it of you. It allows you to think, have a proven business model and call your own shots. That intersection between a non-traditional career, a proven business model, and the need to be creative lands you squarely at the doorstep of the Freedom Franchise. It’s the sweet spot.”
Why is Great Harvest a great place for employees and customers who own Great Harvest franchises? Everyone is passionate about some aspect of the brand’s mission. This focus falls into two main categories: Real Food and Real People.
Great Harvest team members are all about creating great food with the best ingredients and the simplest processes. Great Harvest believes in feeding communities with whole grains that taste great –providing a rich and evolving variety of breads, hot-out-of-the-oven breakfast options, sandwiches and other take-home products to keep customers coming back for a broader array of tasty and wholesome food. To bread lovers, Great Harvest is the leading brand of great-tasting, healthy, made-from-scratch whole grain breads; bread the way it ought to be.
Great Harvest franchisees are inspirational. They’ve faced their fears and stepped out into the unknown to open their very own businesses. They’ve created beautiful places for people to gather — and baked a lot of bread, too. Great Harvest has found that living out its mission statement is fairly easy in a bakery where people are wearing shorts and the music is pumping. Getting instant feedback from customers has helped keep them happily on track.
The following points are a true rallying cry for the company and sums Great Harvest up best:
- Be Loose & Have Fun.
- Bake Phenomenal Bread.
- Run Fast to Help Customers.
- Create Strong & Exciting Bakeries.
- And, Give Generously to Others.
Here are a couple of stories of how Great Harvest franchisees give back to their community and bring their employees together for causes beyond the workplace:
As owners of the Charlotte, NC Great Harvest Bread Companies in King’s Court and the Shops at Piper Glen, Janet and Jeff Ganoung have a deep rooted passion. For the past six years, the duo has hosted an Animal Kneads Day raising approximately $50,000 for spay and neuter clinics in Meckenburg County. When Janet talks about it, she can’t help but smile. “Animals Kneads Day is such a happy day. People bring their own animals, kids enjoy face painting… it’s really fun like a festival and for such a good cause – raising funds for the clinics.”
Rachel and Matt Fehr are owners of the Great Harvest bakery in Greenwood Village, CO. Two of their employees, Alicia Campbell and Ellen Parker, came up with the idea to share bread with the cities underfed. From there, the LOAF project was born. LOAF… Loving Others As Friends. They began by baking and delivering bread once a week to those in need, but also wanted to connect and build relationships with as many people as possible. To aid this project and to involve the community, they started asking for contributions by converting their tip jar into a collection fund. One dollar donated equals one fresh loaf to be given away. What began as a 30 loaf per week project has now grown to 250 loaves a week.
At the franchise headquarters in Dillon, MT, employees are lucky to live in a part of the world that is full of opportunities to get outside and explore. As a result, they’re an active group: hikers, cyclists, hunters, fly fishers, golfers, runners, and tri-athletes (even an Ironman finisher among them!). They have a generous paid-time-off policy (over half the employees enjoy six weeks of PTO plus 11 paid holidays) and flexible work schedules to help them balance work with active lives.
The flexibility is also important to families – rarely does a parent miss a school concert or a kid’s football game for work. Every other month, the company hosts a catered dinner for employees and their families, plus the franchisees who are in town for bakery training. Since customers are spread out across the U.S., employee jobs do involve travel, but there is a maximum number of travel days which is constantly monitored so that no one gets near the limit (unless they want to).
In addition, the Employee Activity Committee has created fun traditions like the Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest. This year they plan to expand beyond the Halloween costume contest party by hosting a Haunted House for the town in their spooky basement. Employees also raise money for and organize a Relay for Life team, as well as host a December day when franchise office employees give a free loaf of bread to every family.
Debbie Huber Chief Administrative Officer, Content Marketer and Community Manager says “These are just a few examples to give you a taste (pun intended!) of the culture at Great Harvest. Culture is much easier to feel than to describe, especially as an insider. Having the chance to try and look objectively at our culture and then explain it has been a fun experience – hope it has translated a bit. Best wishes to all of you on your efforts to create and mold a positive culture!”
A Role Model Company - "Why Marco's?"
Headquartered in Toledo, Ohio, Marco’s Pizza is the fastest-growing pizza company in the U.S. About three years ago, the Marco’s Pizza set out to develop a culture of accountability. Since then, the company’s new mindset has helped team member’s shift from relying on blame and finger pointing to adopting an attitude of “What can I do to solve the problem?”
Overall, Marco’s vision is to become the pizza of choice, employer of choice, and business partner of choice in every market they serve. These goals are interrelated, and Marco’s leadership believes that seeking excellence in one area extends to all others as well.
When asked if Marco’s is a role model company and why, employees had plenty of positive feedback. One common theme universally cited was the “Marco’s Culture.” Other key reasons noted were management team accessibility, fun opportunities and the growth of the company. (Marco’s has more than tripled in size to over 625 stores in the last 5 years.)
The company has seven “Cultural Beliefs”:
- We Believe: I deliver ah!thentic experience.
- Execute Excellence: I ensure adherence to all processes, procedures, and standards “daily”.
- Drive Results: I commit to exceeding Marco’s key results.
- Embody Trust: I earn trust through my actions!
- Accelerate Innovation: I embrace technology that drives results.
- Be Accountable: It’s up to me!
- Unity Wins: I align my actions to support the Marco’s pizza team.
The Marco’s Culture stems from the company’s aforementioned commitment to personal accountability. The organization gives credit to the Partners in Leadership™ (“PIL”) consulting organization (publishers of the best- selling “Oz Principles” book) for guidance in this area.
Marco’s has a number of “culture-changing” initiatives currently underway, including formal PIL on-line training videos and group meeting discussion processes, weekly “all hands on deck” meetings for Pep Rallies or Culture Team reports and updates, and a web site to document and be accountable for progress.
Pep Rallies are meetings to recognize individual achievements, new store openings, birthdays, work anniversaries, and for team members to share stories that reinforce observations of the company’s “Cultural Beliefs” (similar to values) in action, and other items of interest that keep the workforce engaged. Culture team reports are brief summaries of what individual 6-8 member culture teams are doing to help advance the Marco’s culture. Each employee, from the President down, is a member of a Culture team and accountable to the team for their commitments.
Marco’s is working on becoming an employer of choice in each market it serves, one store at a time. And while the company believes it will reach that goal eventually, there’s still work to do. It’s a long-term process, and not as easy as flipping a switch. Raising employee engagement is difficult in an abstract way, but easy if broken down into concrete behaviors that company leaders model and perform.
One of the ways Marco’s raises engagement is making sure leadership consistently treats team members the way they’d want to be treated themselves. For example, most people would prefer to be asked to help, rather than ordered to help. Other leadership behaviors such as communicating with employees on company initiatives, gathering input and feedback (face to face and by quarterly anonymous surveys), compensation transparency and other trust building interactions all help to drive employee engagement. Survey after survey shows that the leading reason why employees leave organizations is a lack of respect or trust -- reasons more frequently cited than compensation or other benefit issues.
Becoming an employer of choice and raising employee engagement is helpful not only in reducing employee turnover and its associated costs, but also in achieving sales and profit goals. It’s an oft repeated cliché, but true nevertheless, that “happy employees make happy customers.” Role model organizations know that happy and well satisfied guests are a prerequisite for growth, and that’s what Marco’s is committed to.
A Dream + Persistence = Success
Hung Pham is the founder of Culture Summit, a conference that helps companies build great cultures and great teams. Hung's inspiration for Culture Summit came from being a disengaged employee at his first job after college in 2004 where he worked as an engineer at Sun Microsystems. Presently he is a Culture and Engagement Manager at Cisco Systems.
Affected by the experience of his first job, Hung saw the need for a larger discussion around culture in the workplace and produced the very first Culture Summit in June of 2015 in San Francisco. This was a personal venture of his which he worked on at night and on the weekends for 6 months. The inaugural event had over 200 attendees with speakers from companies such as Linkedin, Lyft, Udemy, and Nitro known for their strong cultures.
This is an amazing feat for this young culture leader. See the above site for details about the June, 2016 Summit.
Author Victor Lipman has a really good article entitled “Employee Recognition: Cost-Free To Provide, Costly To Neglect”. It supports whole person cultures and you will want to read it. At the end of the article the author announced his new book called “The Type B Manager: Leading Successfully in a Type A World”. In the announcement it says “Many characteristics of Type B individuals—being more relaxed, less competitive, more reflective, slower to anger—can be considered “people skills” that better influence motivation and productivity.
Gathering Of Peers In Omaha A Success
In the July issue of ROLE MODELS I announced the GATHERING OF PEERS to be held in Omaha, Nebraska on September 3, 2015. The event was a wonderful success with 38 persons registered. In a follow-up survey all the respondents said they are likely to attend future meetings. To plan for future gatherings, we gathered data about preferred days and times to meet along with meeting content. The preferred day and time was for Thursday morning. The preferences for content were single speakers, panel discussions on topics suggested by participants, and on site visits to local companies known for exceptional whole person cultures. They also expressed the importance of mingling time before the program begins.
The GATHERING OF PEERS concept was born when I thought there was a need for a venue where persons interested in culture, employee happiness, wellbeing, and engagement could meet and share. There are associations for Talent Development (ATDNM), Performance Improvement (NMISPI), Project Management (PMI), Human Resource Management (SHRM), Organizational Development (IODA), Training and Development (ASTD) and more. Each have some interest in organizational cultures but none have that as a focus. The Omaha GATHERING OF PEERS is like a prototype chapter to test proof of concept to start an international organizational cultures association.
Dan McDonough drove 3+ hours from Kansas City to observe the meeting and decide if he wanted to start a GATHERING in Kansas City. Dan is the National Director of Corporate Wellbeing at LiveAnew. Afterwards Dan had this to say: “I can’t wait to see the “Gathering Of Peers” spread across the nation. As we all search for sources and examples of exceptional organizational cultures, the ROLE MODEL concept is a powerful tool for collective enlightenment and experiential understanding. We are all anticipating a time when our national workforce is engaged, productive and working in an environment of positivity and wellbeing beyond what might have been imagined a few short years ago. That impetus has begun and we are seeing many intuitive organizational leaders taking the necessary steps toward an inspired workforce. Through the Institute for Inspired Organizational Cultures, the insight provided by ROLE MODELS represents a resource we can all come to. I’m excited to see the GATHERINGS germinate from city to city and region to region in a collaborative realization of exceptional organizational cultures.”
The event started with people briefly introducing themselves and sharing why they decided to attend. This revealed an impressive and diverse group of participants all with a deep interest in culture. After attendees introduced themselves, Dr. Tom McClung gave an exceptional presentation on generational culture differences and specifically on millennials. Tom is a consultant in Omaha that is very passionate and knowledgeable about generational differences in the workplace. Tom was followed by a presentation from Stephanie Robb and Brett Hoogeveen with QLI in Omaha. QLI is featured in the September issue of ROLE MODELS. QLI has won five 1st place best place to work awards. These were for each of the 5 years that they actually participated. Stephanie and Brett presented an overview of the QLI culture and it wowed the audience. It was an awesome and inspiring presentation. They invited the group to an onsite visit to hold a GATHERING OF PEERS meeting there. We will for sure do that.
Below are a few words from some of the attendees.
Beth Schmidt: “Jerry, Thank you for coordinating the Gathering of Peers breakfast. I found the attendees every bit as interesting as the topics presented! The group spanned multiple generations, a variety of industries, and even multiple states! I look forward to future opportunities to network with like-minded individuals.”
Dr. Adrian Petrescu: “There is no question Millennials are a force to reckon with. They are in fact a force growing more and more powerful every day. Listening to Tom explain who Millennials are and what they do, what they like and dislike and how they behave generally and why, made me feel younger again. After all, we are all or at least we should be Millennials at least in some part. Our younger selves always wanted to be listened to and we always wanted to contribute things of value and meaning to the organizations we dedicated our time and energy to. We all deal with Millennials all the time now and it is a pleasure to get inspired by their passion and determination. Tom clarified for us how and why Millennials have a higher than usual sense of entitlement and how their expectation of instant gratification works with them. We are all generally motivated by praise. We’re thus learning from Millennials many things about ourselves as humankind.”
Judy Varner: “I left The Gathering with a sense of what can be done to help our employees feel fulfilled, productive and appreciated. The presentation by Quality Living was outstanding with very specific examples. Their openness and willingness to have any of us visit their facility and learn firsthand the difference their approach can make was extremely generous. We will take them up on their offer as soon as possible so that we can begin the journey toward happier employees. The Gathering far exceeded my expectations - it is a must for anyone who is working to improve the culture of their work place.”
Dan Weber: “I have heard other presentations about generational differences in the workplace but I thought Tom’s insights about millennials were particularly relevant. He presented good background along with excellent examples to support his points. Furthermore, I was struck about his suggestions to plan for a workforce made up mostly of Millennials in just a few years.”
Madeline Moyer: “I attended the first meeting of a group called "Gathering of Peers" and I would highly recommend this group to my colleagues and peers. The individuals in this group are all very professional and have a wealth of experience and knowledge to share. I enjoyed the presentations from our speakers and I am looking forward to our next meetings and hope that everyone in the group keeps it moving forward!”
Paul Berger: “It can be easy to think less of millennials for their infamous and highly developed sense of self. Yet, Tom points out that their desire for affirmation is a positive in that it leads millennials to desire immediate feedback—giving savvy managers and coworkers the opportunity to reinforce desired behavior and coach up areas of improvement—perhaps more quickly than with other generations of workers.”
Gloria Sivertson: “The presentation on Millennial’s and the impact they will have on shaping the future of leadership & management was thought provoking. In order to maintain a strong organization, management will need to transition to an organization of inclusion, collaboration, and effective relationship building. I enjoyed the QLI presentation and hearing about their Cultural Values and MindSet Leadership Loop. It was apparent QLI is focused on their businesses success by creating a healthy culture by hiring quality staff, establishing high work standards, providing positive customer service, and developing a solid reputation. It was refreshing to hear that all levels of the organization, including Leadership are required to live the Cultural Values and each are held accountable for their attitude and behavioral expectations.”
Dr. John Johnson: “I was impressed with Dr. McClung's discussion on Millennials. I found his comments on the events and famous people that influences this group very interesting. Also his comments on what they value, e.g. frequent feedback and meaningful work, was very informative. When QLI presented their MindSet Leadership Loop I was reminded of the Service Profit Chain that came out of the Harvard Business School in the mid 90's. The concept being that customer satisfaction and loyalty is the result of services provided by loyal and productive employees.”
A follow-up survey was sent to those attending the meeting. From that data we decided upon the following format for future gatherings:
- Meetings will be from 7:30 - 9:00 the second Thursday of each odd numbered month for a total of 6 meetings per year.
- Each year there will be 3 onsite company visits for tours and to learn about their specific cultures.
- Each year there will be meetings at host sites. These will be a mix of single presenters and panel discussions.
The next Omaha GATHERING OF PEERS will be on November 12 in Omaha. If you are nearby to Omaha and you would like to receive details, please let me know. REPLY
If you are curious about starting a GATHERING OF PEERS group in your city, I’d love to visit with you. Yeah Lets Visit
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At the Institute for Inspired Organizational Cultures recognizing individuals and organizations that support the advancement of Whole Person Organizational Cultures. This is a community project so please help. We want to especially feature businesses who are not already in the high profile limelight.
Please send Jerry a note about individuals or organizations that you think might be good candidates to include. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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