The start of this school year has been one of sincere evaluation from a lot of different angles for me. I’ve always been a thinker, a questioner, trying to see big picture & next steps.
Although I absolutely love teaching and working with students, there are still elements of every position / job / organization that develops questions and causes necessary reflection about mission, vision, values, and purpose.
For the past 4 years, I’ve taught BUAD 220: Principles of Management, every semester. This fall marks my 11th time teaching the course (2 summer sessions in there for you mathematicians questioning my ability), and I’ve taught it 11 different ways.
I’ve never been a one who could do the same thing each semester, every year. I tried really hard to write detailed lesson plans, laying out every specific component, each resource, etc…. to better help prepare for the following year and limit the amount of time I would need, but absolutely to no avail. I just can’t do it.
To me each section is different. Each group of students is different. Different times of the day, different needs for different career paths…. Just so many different elements at play that I just can’t even teach the 3 sections I have right now the same. I know, train wreck, but, it’s just the way I do things.
With that being said, as I continue to formulate what’s best for this semester’s courses, and consider things that may still be relevant, I’ve realized that the goal for this course (from my perspective), is for my students to start to figure out a few specific things. These aren’t mind blowing items, but it’s amazing how easily they can outline what they believe good management is, the difference between management and leadership (yes, there is a difference), and what they believe a good company culture should look like, without really thinking too deeply about themselves in the process.
As I started to outline my goals for the class and what I really want them to focus on, I’ve narrowed it down to one major guiding question, and four key areas of focus listed below.
Guiding Question: “How do you get people to be excited / motivated / engaged to want to come to work every day, AND want to be really good at making an impact in the organization?”
The four key areas of focus that my classes push to dig into through discussions, projects, etc. fall into these categories.
Who do you want to do be and what do you want to achieve in your life (dreams & goals), and how does that impact your everyday management perspectives?
What is your personal mission / vision / values and how do you ensure that those align with your actions every single day?
How best do you believe you are (or would be) managed, and how does this play / fit into your future opportunities and career goals?
What are the key elements you believe make a successful manager, leader, company, and culture within an organization ---- and why is this so hard to do?
Some people may not agree with how I teach it, as the textbook dives into organizational design, theory, etc…. And to be honest, they’re not there yet. Sure we talk about those items, but I truly believe that until a person can manage themselves, and fully understand why they do what they do and who they truly want to be, there is no possible way they are going to help others, (or businesses), move forward in that process.
Each day in class, I try to incorporate as many business cases & videos as possible, where managers & employees are being interviewed about their organization, their culture, their mission / vision / values, there organizational structure…. Whatever I can find. I usually come across a few that are just absolutely intoxicating…. Where when you finish watching it, you’re like…. Wow - I want to go work there.
Now, some people might say, “well anyone can say anything on camera”, and they’re absolutely right. BUT, if you’re truly listening to how the people being interviewed are talking ABOUT people, I don’t believe passion and love can be faked. It is tangible in their words, their expressions, and their overall tone & demeanor.
As I was doing some research a few weeks ago I came across a company called Movement Mortgage, and honestly, I was infatuated. I watched every video I could. I called and texted people who I knew lived in the Charlotte area to ask what they knew, and was this real. I started devouring everything available about their company through their website and other online channels to soak in their thoughts / viewpoints.
Honestly, I was so (and still am) intrigued, I have decided one of my personal (and professional) goals is to get their leadership team to let me spend a semester, summer, (or any amount of time really), internally working through the different positions, meeting the people, listening to the conversations, sitting in meetings, and really trying to figure out how it’s different, why it’s different, and if what i’m seeing is as REAL as I hope it to be. I want to feel it, and I want to tell my story about it….
So, if anyone knows Casey Crawford or Toby Harris and wants to help set up a phone call to see if I can make this happen…. You let me know!
Now to bring all of this full circle….
Through the discussions with my students, watching movement mortgages videos, as well as analyzing other business cases where employees seem to be EXCITED/MOTIVATED/ENGAGED about coming to work AND doing a really great job, there are two elements that continue to be discussed as the most important, or what employees were looking for, or what they’re focusing on trying to do… etc. etc.
People want a place to
GROW - It’s amazing how often in the interviews, and in the discussions, that people stated they were looking for a place that provides them growth opportunities, or allows them to grow as a person and professional. I feel like this is something that often gets overlooked in the rat race of to do's unless intentionally designed to be incorporated into the discussions and daily actions of all people within an organization.
VALUED - “I wanted to work for people and places where I feel valued every day. This is a place where we value, love, care, and serve people. I feel like my voice has a value. I feel like my manager values my contribution to the team and my coworkers value each other, making us want to do a really good job for everyone involved.” Simple, but extremely powerful words.
These two words / concepts seem to be keeping me up at night lately. I want to make sure my students feel like I value them, and that I am helping to create a place where they can grow in all aspects of life. I also want to make sure i’m consistently feeling the same in the positions and organizations that I’m involved with to ensure I absolutely motivated / excited / engaged wanting to do a great job, every single day.
GROWTH & VALUE…… Simple…. Powerful… Words.
Whether it's actually true or not in every day practice, I want to thank companies like Movement Mortgage (and the many others) who put these two elements at the forefront of their daily management & leadership. You inspire and excite people to be better every single day.
If you’re questioning all of this, and still don’t believe it - then go ahead and watch these 2 video clips. You won’t be disappointed.