I am getting more opportunities to provide coaching and trainings for corporations. This makes me reflect fondly on how I was first exposed to running and growing a business and developing employees. Like most things in my life it was a sink or swim approach to learning. There were three of us. All therapists with no formal business training between us. We took over the leadership of a small behavioural health company with locations across the country. The company was in crisis and at the brink of bankruptcy. There was overwhelming debt from the previous leadership team investing in the development and advertising of a product that did not work out, and an immediate need to stop the cash flow hemorrhage.
In spite of our lack of experience, we felt called to take the reigns, under the mentorship of a very kind and generous board member. We had families in the program who were in process with clinicians. It was a no brainer. We needed to continue to serve them. They were counting on us.
What did we know at the time? We knew how to help families get along better. We knew how to help parents experience less stress and anxiety independent of their child's behavior. We knew how to teach parents how to connect to their teens in a way that would support them with feeling loved unconditionally, even when they were not willing to conform with boundaries and rules. We knew to how to relate to adolescents without judgment and with compassion. We knew how to develop relationships of trust and respect. We knew how to listen deeply and see the innate health that is not always obvious and often hidden behind unhealthy coping mechanisms. We understood that empathy, compassion, and acceptance draw out the wisdom in another human being so they can see more clearly and make decisions out of clarity rather than fear. We knew that rapport, trust, and unconditional acceptance are the foundation for healing and growth.
When we were successful with teaching what we knew, families healed and flourished. They learned that we all have the capacity to experience innate well being independent of our circumstances. They could see that their natural state is to be relaxed, open-hearted, and experiencing feelings of love, joy, compassion, and peace. They recognized that the only thing that could get in the way of their peace and equanimity was their limited, anxious thoughts. Once they understood this, it was easier for them not to take their fearful thinking so seriously and be less scared by it. As a result, they would suffer less, do less damage to each other, and stabilize more quickly when they did get upset. They would be more open, and new fresh insights and thoughts would occur to them about how to address the challenges their child was having. We knew how to teach this to families with adolescents or young adults struggling in all kinds of ways, but what did this have to do with business? Luckily for us -- everything!
What we found out is that the same principles that work with families work in business too. We didn't have the luxury of money to solve our problems, but we had teams of extraordinary clinicians who had the heart to continue to serve even with the fiscal uncertainties we struggled with. We knew if we made them and their ability to connect with their internal resilience and peace of mind a priority, then they would not only love their work, but they would also bring all of their wisdom to the families they served.
We assumed the money would take care of itself, by delivering the best clinical results possible. What we focused on was empowering and supporting our clinicians. We allowed them to be human, be vulnerable, and to show up to work as themselves. We supported them with understanding how they can experience more of their true nature, and this turned out to be the best investment we could have ever made. The results were extraordinary in terms of clinical successes and clinician happiness. This, of course, supported the company's financial success and allowed us to reach our goals of profitability and result in a favorable sale.
What this taught me was that the discriminating factor in the success of a company is not producing more by paying less. The discriminating factor of the success of an organization is unleashing the unlimited potential available within each individual who makes up the organization. By nurturing everyone's capacity to experience their well being and tap into their innate resilience, astonishing results occur.
This doesn't happen from a mental level strategic plan or monetary bonus plan. The real magic happens in an environment that allows work to be a human experience where we get to show up as all of ourselves and be supported and loved as we grow and learn. It turns out that a loving, nurturing environment doesn't only make families function better, but it also allows all humans to perform their best and live into their potential in any organizational structure. Love grows the bottom line.