Last week I flew home to New Zealand to spend time with my mother who over the last few months has deteriorated very quickly both mentally and physically, due to advanced Parkinson’s disease.
Only a few months ago, she was living in her own apartment within a care facility and now she requires 24-hour care.
I spent time with her every day; time to care for her and time to talk with her knowing it may very well be the last time she is able to recognize me and hold a brief conversation with me. I left New Zealand knowing I may actually never have that time with her again.
My Father walked out on our family when I was 15 years old and died when I was 19, my Mother went from living a comfortable life, though controlled by my Father, to living on a benefit with 5 children. I don’t know how she did it.
The gift of this time with my mother, was not only the opportunity to say goodbye but to acknowledge her and who she was and had always been for me, my mother was my number one fan, she always believed in me, even when I did not believe in myself.
Her belief in me never wavered. There was never any judgement and if she had opinions, she was highly skilled in keeping an open mind, whether I made mistakes growing up as a child or when I changed careers, or when my first marriage failed or when…, or when…, or when…, you get the picture right? The list goes on. No matter what, my mother was always there to talk to and support me learning the lessons I needed to learn.
The other thing that stood out of my visit was the team of Carers at Rita Angus, where my mother is now living, the staff are amazing. Watching the level of care they are providing is incredible, their willingness to connect with patients and their demonstration of empathy was humbling to say the least.
The way they continued to be present, interested and kind in the face of my mother’s grumpiness, frustration, anger or upset because she doesn’t really understand what’s going on anymore.
They just ‘get it’. They understand. And they are just really gracious people.
I also appreciated the slight bend in the rules, and the agreements they were willing to make with me, to accommodate me in spending time with my mother. They knew how important the timing was and that I had travelled from Australia.
These people do it because they care about and respect people.
My mother was a writer, she wrote six books in her lifetime, amongst many other accomplishments and even though she is not the person now, she was then, each of her carers treated as if she was.
Again, this has me think – how much is this needed in our society at the moment?
Having someone who has that level of belief in us, who just sees the good in us, supports us to succeed and nurtures that part to come out and forgives.
Who do you believe In and How do you demonstrate your belief?
I invite you to look at your lives, who are those people? Family, friends, colleagues, employees….
It’s so easy to see what people do wrong, instead of believing in people; their commitment, their loyalty, their desire to learn and develop themselves.
There’s never any coincidence right? This conversation relates directly to what two of my clients are working through at the moment.
Both have situations where they had tried to bring in external people in senior roles and it hasn’t really worked out.
The main reason why this is the case, is that both companies have a very clear ‘loyalty culture’, they’ve made the commitment to deliver a 10 out of 10 customer and team experience – everybody, every day, every time, without fail.
Unfortunately, what we have seen in these two situations is new people struggle with the demand of a ‘loyalty culture’, specifically what it takes to be, do, and have that. Both did not survive their new roles.
So, what to do? Where to look? How do we resolve this? I personally feel it comes back to having your aces in the right places and taking into consideration, who you believe in.
Many team members who have been onboard throughout the cultural change ‘get it’. They understand Why they do it. How it looks. What it takes. And they own it.
Yet many team members who have put their hand up in the past have been discounted simply because they don’t fit into the senior management stereo-type, due to being younger or inexperienced.
I’ve been really pushing them to give these people a chance. Believe in them. I will support them. We’ll train them and we’ll work on the areas that they need to develop.
Why? Because we can – they have the right attitude, they have been a key element of the cultural change and building the ‘loyalty culture’.
As with the external people there’s no stepping into it, these young people are already there and hungry for their next level of growth and demonstrating their contribution to the company long term. Some may say, maybe 10 more years’ experience of life would be great, but they’ve got the right energy and they are pleasure to work with. For me, that’s the difference.
To note, I’m not saying that this is always the way, I think bringing in new blood can be great for a company when an external person is the ace in the right place, or you require a specialised skill set.
So, what will you take on? Who do you believe In and How do you demonstrate your belief?
If you would like to have a chat with me about ‘Customer Loyalty Best Practice’ contact me I look forward to hearing from you.