I recently reread a book that held a special place in my heart during the spring, called Love + Work by Marcus Buckingham. I remember reading it and being so happy that the concepts in it confirmed the principles I chose to run bookskeep based on.
We’re not the typical bookkeeping firm. We’re centered around helping our team be successful in work and life equally. This is what I was trying to provide for myself when I started the business, so I figured others needed it too. Seeing this book refer to what I believed in as a best practice was a nice reassurance.
When I read the book this time, I tried to dig deeper, like I was gold mining. I was searching for anything else I could learn that would benefit my team even more, anything that could help our organization grow as a whole. Let’s discuss some of my biggest takeaways this time.
Love and Fear Have a Deep Connection
When you fear something, most often it’s because it can affect something that you love. One of my favorite passages from the book paraphrased is this, “”Fear is not what causes problems in your life. It’s what fear degrades into when you shun it. Fear that is shunned. Fear that is shunned metastasizes into feelings that are deeply damaging. However, fear that is examined yields powerful discoveries about you at your best. When you get curious and let fear in, you realize that your fears are one more sign of what you love. Feel fear and follow it and it will lead you straight to something or someone you love. On our journey we’re told to dismiss our fears, to confront our fears, to step outside of our comfort zone. Yet this is all so misleading. Your choice is not comfort or no comfort. It is love or no love. When you step into things you love, you will feel fear. That’s not just OK, it’s fundamental. Take the path of fear, because it is the path of love.”
I found this extremely powerful, especially since I’m seeing the idea of getting out of your comfort zone showing up everywhere in conferences and memes. So what does it even mean? I found connection with the meaning established by Marcus Buckingham, and appreciate how he related it to love because love is a much stronger motivator for me than fear.
“Balance is a false god.”
I can’t tell you how relatable that is for me. Buckingham says that movement is the healthy goal. “In nature, everything healthy is moving, and thus a healthy life is one that enables you to move, and to draw enough strength from that movement to allow you to keep movement.” I’ve watched as our horses graze and work their way through the pasture at a steady pace. They have to move to ensure they are digesting like they should be. Seems like they’ve understood this concept longer than we have.
Check-Ins Are the Key
A weekly check-in plays a critical role in keeping your team connected and engaged. There are just four simple questions Buckingham recommends:
- What activities did you love last week?
- What activities did you loathe last week?
- What are your priorities this week?
- What help do you need from me?
Aside from staying connected, the major benefit from checking in comes from your team members discovering their “red threads”. These are the things that your team members truly find joy in doing. They’re the things that you would do even if you weren’t paid to and you lose track of time and any other thoughts when doing them.
Buckingham cites a study conducted through the Mayo Clinic that shows we are much less likely to feel burnout when we spend just twenty percent of time doing something we love. The ADP Research Institute offers research showing that doing something you love every single day, even when you may not be good yet, makes you 3.6 times more likely to have high resilience.
I have met with each of my team members a few times a year for several years now, and ask them what they love doing. I want to know if they have time to do those things in their job and if there’s something else they want to learn about. Reread I see that I was on the right track, I just wasn’t checking in as often as I should have been.
These aren’t just “checking in” sessions. They’re seeing and hearing your team member in the moment and giving them the attention they need. Like Buckingham says, “If you want to reduce negative employee outcomes and increase the positive ones, then the weekly check-in is the simplest most powerful prescription.”
The Learning Moment
The biggest gold nugget I took from mining the book is those weekly check-ins. We implemented them into bookskeep around a month ago for every team member, and so far, I’ve found even more gold to be had. Our team members have some of the greatest ideas because they are in the work every day and know the clients much deeper than I do.
They genuinely want to invest in improving the team, they just needed an opportunity to share their ideas. We hadn’t been providing that. Even though we’re only one month in, I can’t wait to see the end results six months from now.
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