50. Retreat Twice a Year + Asking for Help is Hard

Episode 50: Retreat Twice a Year + Asking for Help is Hard (Summary)

There’s something your team should do twice a year, no matter what, that produces benefits all year long. Plus, I share a personal story that reminds us why it’s so important for bosses to earn trust and build relationships. That’s what’s happening now, on Boss Better Now.

Links:
To learn more about Joe Mull, visit his website ​Joemull.com​.
To hear more from Joe Mull visit his YouTube channel​.
To learn how to invite Joe to speak at an event, visit ​Joemull.com/speaking​.
To check date availability or to get a quote for an event, email ​hello@joemull.com​.
To explore options for coaching from Alyssa Mullet, visit ​Joemull.com/coaching​.
For more information on the BossBetter Leadership Academy, visit Joemull.com/academy.
Email the show at bossbetternow@gmail.com.
To leave comments, ask questions, or to message us visit our Boss Better Now Podcast Facebook Page.
Connect with Joe on Instagram.
Connect with Joe on Twitter.
Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.

*Full transcript under the comments below.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Transcript – Episode 50: Retreat Twice a Year + Asking for Help is Hard

Joe:
There’s something your team should do twice a year, no matter what, that produces benefits all year long. Plus, stick around for the end where I share a personal story that reminds us why it’s so important for bosses to earn trust and build relationships. That’s what’s happening now on Boss Better Now.

Alyssa:
You’re listening to Boss Better Now. Please welcome speaker, author, and adult sled rider, Joe Mull.

Joe:
Welcome friends to this, the 50th episode of Boss Better Now. I feel like we should play that applause sound that we…here it is. *applause* Yeah! 50 episodes, indeed. We are turning one and 50 at the exact same time. This is both our 50th episode and it’s being released almost exactly one year to the day, since the launch of our show. Boy, time flies when you’re turning 50! Please welcome my co-host, professional coach, Alyssa Mullet. How are you, my friend?

Alyssa:
I’m great! Oh, wow. 50 episodes. It feels like that analogy that they use for parenthood, you know, the days are long, but the years are short.

Joe:
That’s right.

Alyssa:
Is that right? Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s the right way. Because, you know, when we’re in the thick of it, I feel like, yeah, you know, my brain has to work in a different way. But a year has really flown by.

Joe:
It has.

Alyssa:
Quite like an adult sled rider would fly by.

Joe:
Such a smooth transition. Yes.

Alyssa:
I know. Buh-dum. I’m learning.

Joe:
Are you a sled rider? Are you a sled rider as an adult?

Alyssa:
I am. We actually have a really awesome sled riding hill over the course of my neighbor’s yard, my yard, and then my other neighbor’s yard. We have a great transition. Lots of, of nice bumps and humps and a nice decent slope. The only thing that I have noticed of recent with the whole sled riding thing is that sleds are super expensive.

Joe:
Oh! Okay.

Alyssa:
Like we went to replace the ones that we have. I bought them at Costco, like, I don’t know, two years ago or whatever. And you know, my seven-year-old has like destroyed them. $50.

Joe:
What?

Alyssa:
$50 for 1 sled! Even those plastic things, you know, that you can, if you’re lucky now, find I found it on sale at Target for $20.

Joe:
Okay. That’s a little bit more my speed. I feel like I’m playing in that ballpark. But $50 for a sled, that thing better come with a key fob. Like I better be able to go *blip blip* and climb into it and I don’t have to carry it back up the hill. It brings itself back up the hill. For $50? That’s what I need in my sled.

Alyssa:
You would think. But no. Here’s the thing though. Honestly, you’re gonna get what you pay for. With the $20 one we might be lucky if we get one session out of that and those are like the length of my now seven-year-old.

Joe:
Yeah.

Alyssa:
So, he, like, nobody can ride with him. And so…

Joe:
Well, it sounds like you’ve got like the three interconnected backyards, which is amazing if you’ve got a bunch of kids and they’re sledding and you’ve got that kind of space, but if you’re going through like three yards, by the time you get to the bottom, you’re moving. So yeah. Stopping and crashing is gonna have some wear and tear, I would think.

Alyssa:
Did I happen to mention that we live along a state-owned road? And so, stopping at the end is like, you have…it’s not an ‘oh I might’.

Joe:
It’s a life or death matter. Yeah.

Alyssa:
It is true life or death. Like the tree or death. We’ll take the tree every time.

Joe:
Well, I will say that adult sled riding is just basically whenever it snows, and it has not snowed as much around here in recent years, but when it does, I look at the kids and I’m like, ‘Let’s go! Let’s go outside! Let’s get the sleds.’ And, you know, sometimes they’re excited, but they get like the cold socks or wet socks and the cold fingers after a while. And they’re like, ‘Let’s go in.’ And I’m like, ‘We’ve been out here for 10 minutes. Like, come on!’ I used to sled ride for hours and hours when I was a kid. And that’s the one thing when I see snow on the ground that I still like doing. So that’s the reference from the beginning.

Alyssa:
Yeah. Yeah.

Joe:
In terms of adult sled rider. But yes, we are in our 50th show. Just really have gotten so much joy out of doing this show with you, my friends. And it’s the thing that I think I look forward to the most between this and keynoting and getting to do some of the work that I get to do all year long. And so, I’m excited about another year ahead of us. How about you?

Alyssa:
Oh, absolutely. I definitely look forward to it! You know, I know that there’s an audience out there and I’m constantly heartened and grateful for that audience. But honestly, in the moment it’s like you and I talking.

Joe:
Yeah.

Alyssa:
And my brain gets to work in a way that it doesn’t generally get to work, and we get to just have nice conversation. And the best part is like, I get something out of it, you get something out of it, and like, lots of other people are getting stuff out of it. So that’s super, super cool.

Joe:
Well, that’s the perfect sort of setup and transition to what I wanted to talk about today. Because, you know, we’re talking about the year ahead and how to set aside time that we get some things out of. And I think it’s the perfect time of year to remind leaders about how important it is not to just be consumed by the micro day-to-day things that demand our time and attention at work. I often get calls from groups who are asking for help to overcome one challenge or another. Sometimes they’ll say, you know, ‘We have some team cohesion issues. Can you do some staff development work with us?’ Or they’ll say, you know, ‘Our team needs help around customer service and patient experience.’ Things like that. I just had a conversation the other day with an organization whose senior leadership team is not playing well together in the sandbox.

Alyssa:
Hmm.

Joe:
And but more often than not the calls I get are about, ‘Hey, we have a group of leaders who are struggling to better support their teams and we want to help them develop their skills and knowledge in that area.’ And in nearly every one of these conversations, there’s this obstacle that pops up when we say, ‘Okay, so at the center of this is pulling the car over and filling up the gas tank. We need to set aside some time to do some work on these things.’ Now, whether it’s a senior leadership team who struggling to work cohesively, or it’s a staff team that needs to do some work on how they work together. All of those things require the setting aside of a little bit of time. And it’s remarkable the number of occasions and conversations when folks have told me, ‘Well, yeah, we have this problem, but we can’t any time to like, have a meeting or a retreat. And so, I have come to believe that one of the biggest, most impactful commitments a leader can make for their organization is to commit to a twice a year retreat for the members of their teams. And now I wanna be careful about the word “retreat” because sometimes we hear the word retreat and we think of a lot of different things, right? That brings a lot of stuff into the room.

Alyssa:
Yeah.

Joe:
What do you think of when you hear the word retreat, Alyssa?

Alyssa:
Well…I’m in that Woohoo land of things more frequently than not, but I definitely think of like, I’m out in the woods surrounded by my fellow yogis and we’re communing in nature and there’s, I don’t know sound bathing of forests. It has this like Woohoo…

Joe:
Yes.

Alyssa:
…kind of feel to me.

Joe:
Yeah.

Alyssa:
And so, you juxtapose that with the professional world and you’re kind of like, that feels weird.

Joe:
Yeah. I think some people think of retreat and they’re like on a ropes course, or they’re doing trust falls, and that’s not necessarily what I’m talking about. You know, or some people hear retreat, and they think it’s something lavish, right?

Alyssa:
Oh yeah. Yeah, yeah.

Joe:
We need to go to the Four Seasons and there’s catering and there’s a big cherry wood conference table with leather executive chairs and a butler. And that’s not necessarily what I’m talking about either. When I talk about a retreat, I… I’m really just talking about setting aside time, where we’re not talking about the day-to-day things that consume us. We’re instead talking about how we work together. We’re working on ourselves, whether that’s skill development and training, whether that’s taking time to do some work around strategy, to do work around future planning, to do some work around building camaraderie like we talk about so much here on the, the podcast. You know? Retreats are where you replenish your mission, where you replenish the relationships that are so crucial to peoples’ success in the workplace. Or where you replenish the knowledge and the skills that people need to do their jobs successfully. And so, I’m a big believer in making sure that you carve out time for that as a priority each year. And I like twice a year because it just divides the year in half, right? It’s kind of a touchpoint at the beginning, middle and end. Right? And you don’t let so much time get past you that you’re not able to continue building off what you did at the last retreat. And so that’s what I mean when I say a retreat. You can do this in your local conference room at your building. Right? For your company. And it doesn’t have to be a full day. Maybe it’s half a day, maybe everybody works in the morning and then you bring in lunch and you block out a solid three to four hours in the afternoon where you do kind of the annual team retreat. And you mix a little bit of fun with a little bit of work. And it’s amazing the through-line that you can create for your employee experience, and for leadership development, and for training, and a lot of different things just by making that kind of a small commitment.

Alyssa:
So, I have a few questions for you. I know you have facilitated these kinds of things before. What are your thoughts on the most impactful way to hold a retreat? Number one in terms of in-person/virtual and number two, is it an internal thing to facilitate depending upon the things that you’re trying to work around, or is it more ideal to have a facilitator like yourself who can bring some kind of outside, you know, energy, non-bias, all of the rest of that? Or do you think it’s like topic-specific?

Joe:
Yeah. So, I think, first of all, to your first question, I’m always a fan of in-person over virtual.

Alyssa:
Okay.

Joe:
But we live in a world now where a lot of teams are scattered across the country and virtual is the only option. And you could still do really powerful, substantive, you know, impactful team retreats in a virtual environment. I think we know folks already spend a lot of time…If you’re a remote worker, you spend a lot of time in virtual meetings. And so, a retreat can feel like just another virtual meeting. And so, to your second point, in that case, an external facilitator might be a really good idea. Someone who can bring a different energy, a different vibe, use technology in a different way. A friend of mine, a friend of our show, who’s been on the show before named Rob Ferre, he’s a DJ and a game show host. And he knows how to really create a lot of compelling interaction in a virtual environment. And, you know, he’s been doing this quite a lot over the past two years is doing a lot of virtual facilitation. I also think that to your other question about whether, even if we’re doing an in-person retreat, should we use internal facilitation versus external facilitation.

Alyssa:
Right.

Joe:
And I think that depends on both the goals you have for the retreat and the substance of the retreat.

Alyssa:
Okay.

Joe:
So, before we plan a retreat, we should be really clear on what our goals are for it. What are the outcomes? What do we want people to feel afterwards or do differently afterwards? What do we want them to experience? How does that fit into an overarching set of strategies that are in support of the goals that we have as a team or as an organization? Once you get clear on the goals, then you can decide does the material for the retreat need to be facilitated externally. So, if you’re doing a lot of like mission/vision/values stuff in your organization, you may not need an external facilitator for that. But if you’re looking to try to energize your team and do some more skill training, then you might want an external facilitator. Also, I have found that in circumstances where you’re getting into some sticky stuff where maybe there’s some tension or there’s some complex, sophisticated issues around relationships, or, around change and, you know, stuff that might be hard for people to navigate, having a professional facilitator with experience leading groups through those kinds of conversations and issues also can go a long way.

Alyssa:
Yeah. Where people are polarized and it’s kind of prohibited forward motion of any kind on certain issues, I think that that’s a really good point. Is to have some kind of outside facilitator can really allow for people to hear themselves…

Joe:
Mm-hmm.

Alyssa:
…and to hear others in a different way. Because someone new is listening so you are more apt to be, for lack of a better term, on your best behavior.

Joe:
Yeah.

Alyssa:
And using your listening ears. So there, there is I think a lot of merit to that. The other thing that I think I wanna highlight about what you said, in differentiating, how a retreat varies from another meeting.

Joe:
Yeah.

Alyssa:
That is exactly what you mentioned. You have to focus on how you want people to feel and what you want them to experience.

Joe:
Mm-hmm.

Alyssa:
Those two things do not happen during a regular meeting. Okay? A retreat is the safe space for those specific two things. And that’s being able to create a feeling and an experience for people. That’s what the goal should be in looking at a retreat.

Joe:
Yes.

Alyssa:
That’s excellent points for you.

Joe:
And I think one of the ways that we do that is we get the members of our teams talking to each other. Because believe it or not, they wanna talk to each other and we need to create opportunity for that, and then leave space in the retreat for that. I’ve seen a lot of well-intentioned leaders plan retreats that end up becoming three, four-hour presentations and you know, where ‘Okay, we’re going to catch up on our compliance training, and then we’re gonna have a guest speaker come in and talk for an hour. And then we’re gonna go and do this quick-hit review training. And then…’ What has happened is your employees have just sat there and listened for four hours and that’s really draining.

Alyssa:
Yeah.

Joe:
And the truth is that, in most cases, your employees want to talk to each other, and they have a voice to be heard. And so, planning retreats isn’t just about the sharing of information. It’s about how do we create a conversation? How do we set people up to contribute experiences, opinions, new ideas, new ways of thinking? How do we get their voice contributing in a way that is different from what they have heard or what they have done before? Because they get so consumed by the day-to-day, they get so caught up in the job and the work that there may not be a lot of opportunities for them to say, ‘You know, here’s what I think.’ Or ‘Have you ever thought about it this way?’ Or, you know, ‘I’ve had this idea in the back of my head for a while, and maybe now is a good time to share it.’ And retreats can allow us to do that.

Alyssa:
Folks, everything that Joe just said. If you are listening to this and go, ‘Yes, I really wanna, I wanna do a retreat.’ And then you’re thinking, ‘Well, how am I gonna get the buy-in for that. You know, what’s my business case?’ Rewind. Everything that Joe…bullet point, bullet point, bullet point. That’s who you go to your leadership above you with. This is the business case for a retreat. This is why it’s imperative that we do this.

Joe:
And with regard to those senior leaders, the most effective retreats include them for a couple of reasons. If you do a retreat and you get people to share their thoughts and opinions, and experiences and those folks aren’t there to hear them, then there’s gonna be a bigger disconnect between the employee experience and what senior leaders are making decisions around. Also, if you’re doing training, if you’re doing culture work, you can’t give your whole team new insights and a new vocabulary and then not have senior leaders absorb it as well and share in it. Again, there will be a disconnect. But you wanna know the biggest reason why it’s important to include senior leaders in a retreat?

Alyssa:
Tell me!

Joe:
Because when they walk in the room, it immediately raises the status of that event in the eyes of the employees. Right? I work a lot with physician practice groups in our … the training of my business and the number of times that I have been invited or asked to do a retreat or staff development program or leadership training and the organization says, ‘Well, you know, can we include our doctors?’ And I say, ‘Yes, please do!’ Because as soon as they walk in the room, the employees go, ‘Oh!’ Like, this is a thing. This is a big deal because they’re here, they’re not seeing patients right now, this isn’t it just for us think, oh, this must really matter. And so, they actually dial in and plug in more to that experience.

Alyssa:
Mm-hmm.

Joe:
Because those folks are in the room too.

Alyssa:
For sure! Excellent point. Excellent point.

Joe:
So, as you think about your planning for the year ahead, BossHeroes, I want to encourage you to think about planning retreats. And doing…planning retreats is most effective when you try not to…you don’t find yourself trying to do them like 20, 30 days ahead of time, right? Hey, let’s have a retreat in two weeks. No, it usually doesn’t come together that quickly. I mean, I’ve seen people pull off, but it’s January. Why don’t we have a conversation right now about a retreat in June? Right before people get caught up in the summer and how we’re going to use that time really effectively. Or let’s plan right now that we’re gonna do our two retreats each year. I do one for my team in the summer and one in December. And so, we have that on our map every year, on our calendar map, of something that we will do because it’s important to set aside that time. So be thinking ahead now, to where on your calendar you can put that in. And here’s one more tip. What is the exchange of value at the retreat? If you’re gonna ask employees who are busy, everybody’s busy, everybody’s busier than they wanna be. Everybody is so busy that it’s creating trauma. If you’re gonna ask them to stop doing that work, to sit in another virtual zoom event or come to a conference room or go to an offsite, how are you making clear to them what they’re gonna get out of it right out of the gate? Even if you say, ‘Listen, we’re gonna gather together because we wanna recognize you. We want to appreciate you. And we want to have some fun together. While also doing some regular connection and learning. This is important to do, and it’s an investment in you.’ And so, it’s not enough to just bring people into a room and hit them with information. How do we bring in a fun factor? You know, maybe you bring in a speaker who brings a lot of energy. Or maybe everybody gets a new staff, you know, bag or polo shirt. Like, what are the giveaways? What are the tchotchkes? What are the things that we can kind of put into people’s hands that make them feel special? Those things matter! And it’s amazing how far little gestures like that can go to being a part of that exchange of value. So, as you plan your retreat, don’t forget about the fun factor and maybe a little bit of a gift factor, and of course, there’s the food factor. You got to have food, or people are gonna be like, what are we doing here?

Alyssa:
Yep. Yep, yep. And yep.

Joe:
Well, folks, I’d love to hear from you on this. Are you doing annual retreats? If so, what have you found to be most successful? Are there particular activities, or exercises, or approaches you take to doing team retreats that have worked really well for you? If you would be willing to share that experience with us, just shoot an email to bossbetternow@gmail.com or if you’re watching one of our videos here online, just drop a comment in the box below.

Joe:
Well, that brings us, Alyssa, to the Camaraderie Question of the Week. Bosses build camaraderie on teams by making it easier for people to find things in common with each other. That’s why, here on Boss Better Now, every week we give you a question you can use at meetings, or huddles, or zooms, or phone calls, maybe even in a text message to facilitate connection and build camaraderie. And so, our question this week, Alyssa, this is an interesting one. Imagine that you have to make one side dish to impress at an upcoming neighborhood gathering. What are you bringing?

Alyssa:
I am not attending a neighborhood gathering.

Joe:
Alyssa has opted out.

Alyssa:
Sorry to…none of my neighbors are listening to this. Who am I kidding? No, I do have some nice neighbors and people that are very generous with my son and, you know, that kind of thing. But I would just say that’s not my scene. However, if I am making a dish to like impress nameless, faceless people, to which I won’t put any kind of community to I am making either shrimp dip, which is my mother-in-law’s recipe…

Joe:
Mm-hmm!

Alyssa:
…or sausage dip. So, it’s gonna be in the appetizer family just because…

Joe:
Top of the menu. Okay, cool.

Alyssa:
I just…I could eat appetizers as a full…

Joe:
Oh yeah!

Alyssa:
Like just everybody bring appetizers and that’s it!

Joe:
Yes! Yes!

Alyssa:
Like, that’s a meal to me.

Joe:
Yes.

Alyssa:
So, it’s like the brunch of everything, you know, like appetizers are just where it’s at to me. So those two things, shrimp dip, which is amazing! It’s got creamy, you know, cream cheesy thing, spice, it’s got the yummy shrimp and then you got the crunch of crackers. Good stuff. And then, you know, sausage dip who doesn’t love, it’s like cream cheese. Like there seems to be a theme there.

Joe:
There’s a dip theme.

Alyssa:
Pretty much anything with cream cheese dip-ish. I’m good.

Joe:
Well, I’m down for those.

Alyssa:
I can whip it up.

Joe:
Next time we have a team retreat, I may invite you to bring the shrimp dip.

Alyssa:
All right. I can’t promise anything.

Joe:
Well, the question I think is interesting more about, you know, what are you good at cooking.

Alyssa:
Right.

Joe:
Then, ‘Hey, do you want to go to the neighborhood gathering to impress people?’ So maybe it’s a, you know, maybe it’s a potluck at work. Everybody’s bringing their best thing that they cook.

Alyssa:
Yeah.

Joe:
and you want to impress your new boss or your new coworkers. So, you’re like ‘I gotta come up with like, what’s my best thing that I can make.’ For me…

Alyssa:
What is that? What is that?

Joe:
I mean, my answer would be, I’m probably smoking a meat. I’m probably smoking a brisket. Right?

Alyssa:
Okay. Okay.

Joe:
And that’s the downside because that takes a considerable amount of time but…

Alyssa:
Yeah. Yeah.

Joe:
So, if I was just, you know, needed to bring something, I’m a chips and cheese guy. I’m like, ‘I’ll bring the nachos in the queso.’ because I love that. And it’s easy. But if this is the like, okay, I need to put my best effort forward, cook what I cook best, I’m probably smoking a brisket.

Alyssa:
Okay, cool. Cool! Ok. That sounds yummy.

Joe:
Is there anything else in your arsenal besides dips?

Alyssa:
Well, I am not a bad cook. I can cook. I don’t like recipes. I use them as inspiration.

Joe:
Little bit of this and a little bit of that and oh, who put that there? No, no, no.

Alyssa:
I’m like, oh no, here’s what I have. I always said if there was a game show in which they gave you, like just…kind of like Chopped or whatever, but like here are the ingredients it’s like leftovers, you know, and you have to figure out a new, incredible dish to make out of these leftovers and these pantry staples, I would win the grand prize of that game.

Joe:
Ah!

Alyssa:
Because I can make something out of nothing. For sure!

Joe:

I have no doubt about that.

Alyssa:
Can I replicate it ever again? No. Which pisses my husband off because when he likes something, then he’s like, ‘Oh! Let’s have that again.’ And I’m like, ‘Crap I don’t know what I put in that.’

Joe:
It’s like you’re an artist. Everything is a one-time piece of art and it’s like, ‘Nope, I can’t paint the painting the same way twice, man. Come on!’.

Alyssa:
That’s exactly, exactly it. Yep.

Joe:
Well, thank you for sharing that. I realized when I said, ‘Can you cook anything else besides dips?’ It sounded like that was dripping with like vitriol or something. And I didn’t mean for it to come out that way. I don’t know why it did.

Alyssa:
I gotcha there.

Joe:
But thank you for telling us about your cooking prowess. Of that, I have no doubt.

Alyssa:
Good times.

Joe:
And that’s the Camaraderie Question of the Week.

Joe:
All right, friends. Well, I have a story to share with you here for a segment of storytime. And Alyssa is well aware of this story because it’s sort of been happening in the background in recent weeks. And so, I’m going to give you that story right after this.

Joe:
Hey BossHeroes, more than once you’ve heard me say commitment comes from better bosses, but where do better bosses come from? Answer: The Joe Mull and Associates Boss Better Leadership Academy. The managers on your team aren’t going to develop the self-awareness, knowledge, skills, and relationships critical to success in a one-day training. If you want them to motivate teams, maximize effort, and create the conditions for your employees to thrive, they need ongoing education. When your organization subscribes to our Boss Better Leadership Academy, all your leaders get to join me for a monthly learning event. These live coaching clinics, micro-trainings, and dynamic virtual summits take just a few minutes each month. And the year-round access to our digital vault gives you all the recordings for On-Demand use, new manager onboarding, and more. Oh, and everything we do is evidence-based and highly entertaining. If I do say so myself. Best of all, for most organizations, you can get a year of this continuous leadership development training for less than the cost of bringing me on site for a one-hour keynote. If you want managers to lead well, they need to work on it year-round. It’s like going to the gym. If you go once, you’ll get a good workout, but no long-term results. If you keep going though, you get healthier and healthier over time. The same is true for bosses. They need continuous learning and mentorship. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s give your leaders the skills, tools, and knowledge they need to supercharge commitment and boss better. For more information, including pricing, visit JoeMull.com/academy.

Joe:
Jessica is a 39-year-old mother of three and just 10 days ago, she did an astoundingly unselfish thing. She donated a kidney to her cousin’s husband, Dan. The procedure went smoothly for both and after a weekend stay in the hospital, Jessica went home and is continuing to make her way slowly through an admittedly tough recovery. I know the details of Dan and Jessica’s story because Jessica is my wife. Dan is just 35 years old, and he has struggled with some health challenges for much of his adult life. Earlier this year doctors told him he was moving into kidney failure, and he would need to start actively looking for a donor to save his life. Oh! And because life never slows down when you need it to, you should know that Dan just learned at the same time that he needed a kidney, that he and his wife were also expecting their third child in October. While Dan’s wife and I waited at the hospital together during the surgeries, we talked about that moment. She said to me, ‘How do you ask that? How do you go out into the world and start asking people, ‘Hey, can we have a kidney?’ I mean, do you send a text message? Do you post it on Facebook? Do you start calling everybody that you know? Do you do all of those things?’ This was especially hard for Dan who is a private guy and who doesn’t like asking for help. Very few people in Dan’s life actually knew how sick was. Even close friends and family didn’t know he spent much of the year on dialysis three times a week. His wife said ‘I had to push him. I had to say, do you need me to do this for you and to be your advocate because you just can’t?’ But though it was really hard for him, Dan had no choice but to ask for help. And so back in March, he posted a simple message on Facebook indicating that he was in need of a kidney transplant and that if you had a B+ blood type and would be willing to be tested for a match, would you please call this phone number? Well, my wife is B+ and as soon as she saw his post, she wanted to act. From the moment she knew it might be possible to do this, she actually longed to do it. That’s just who she is. It’s actually a funny story. There was one evening last spring when we’d put the kids to bed and we sat down on the couch and we were getting ready, I’m sure, to maybe put something on Netflix and she said, ‘Hey, I want to ask you a question that’s going to sound odd. How would you feel about me donating a kidney to somebody?’ I said ‘Well, I mean, I guess if it didn’t jeopardize your health and afterwards you were able to live a relatively normal life as a mother and be able to do everything that you want to do. I mean, I guess I’d be open to it.’ And she said, ‘Okay, tell me more about that.’ And I said, ‘No, no. I think maybe you should talk next.’ So, after months and months of testing, and scans, and doctor’s visits, and interviews, and at least 117 blood draws, after all that, Jess was deemed a perfect match. She got to call Dan and give him the good news. This was in October. Oh, and three days later, their daughter was born. All of that was just a few weeks ago. And so it was, that 10 days ago, Jessica became a hero to Dan and to everyone who loves him by giving him the gift of life. I decided to share this story with you on the podcast today for a couple of reasons. The first is because asking for help is hard. And sometimes people don’t do it until others encourage us. And even then, sometimes we don’t ask for help unless it’s the most dire of circumstances. This is why, as a boss, it is so important to care about people beyond their positions. This is why it is so important to build relationships and connect and to check-in, sincerely, with people one to one. This is why it is so important to create a safe place for people to slowly get comfortable with you over time so that maybe, someday, when it matters most, when you ask how they’re doing or what they need, they’ll tell you, their truth. And that’s the biggest secret to addressing employees and to building those relationships, you can’t understand them or help them if you don’t first care about each of them and build trust with them over time. I also wanted to share this story with you because at a time when we’re so divided and when there’s so much exhaustion and burnout, it can be easy to lose faith in the goodness of people. But don’t. There are miracles have happening around us every day because of the incredible generosity of others. There are heroes everywhere. We walk among them. I married one. Thanks for listening today. And thanks for all that you do to take care of so many.

Alyssa:
This show is sponsored by Joe Mull and Associates. Remember, commitment comes from better bosses. Visit JoeMull.com today.

Related Posts

Previous
Next