Team and customer rapport: what can horses teach us?

    Join us for an online discussion about what makes for a better vibe between customers and our team, and internally between teammates. It might just blow open your assumptions about asking for compliance and performance.

    Chasing to get things done

    A lot of my questions around management of a team revolve around performance, that there's something I want them to do for the company, for me. And then it's how to get them to do more of one thing, or less of another, and efficiently?

    That's a common enough expectation in business:What can you do for me? Or, to put it another way, from an owner's perspective,what can you do for my customers?

    And then of course, the customer is askingWhat's In It For Me? And of course we want our team to respond to customers in the best way (the definition of which varies depending on our capacity, patience, or empathy).

    And so we go around in circles trying to get our needs met. It's the chase to get things done - through other people.

    Let's talk about performance

    On April 6 I'm going to have a different kind of conversation, and invite you to participate.

    I'm curious what kinds of questions you might bring to a discussion about relating to people from a perspective that isnot performance first?

    • Does "not performance first" turn you off, or seem confusing when it comes to people management?
    • If there was an altogether different way of approaching the management of a team, and relating to the individuals within it, what might that look like? (Seems to concern how we approach control and compliance and the making of requests.)
    • And what might horses teach us about how to relate to difficult customers and retain the best?

    On April 6 I'm going to ask questions like this ofTim Jobe, a Texas horseman with 40 years of experience navigating people and horses. Most of that time he fixated on getting things done with horses. Or getting things done with people, especially younger people on the edge of society.

    But he reached a limit to what was possible using conventional methods, and learned new ways of relating that opened up remarkable performance! And it felt a lot better to everyone.

    'If you believe the wrong things'

    Sometimes I turn to anentrepreneurs forum when I'm looking for perspective. I've been inspired by ideas shared by my peers about retreats to build team culture. I also like learning about how to integrate a remote team with a culture that feels good. And then there's the forum's perpetual topics of hiring, and firing.

    In a thread last year, someone I respect recommendedCoaching for Improved Work Performance by Fournies. That sparked a lot of consideration. I bought the book, and this caught my eye on page 80:

    "If you believe the wrong things about your employees those beliefs will be the basis for you to do the wrong things to solve problems with them."

    I was confronted with this humbling fact last year when I participated in a workshop that Tim Jobe hosted near Austin with hisNatural Lifemanship organization. There were about as many horses as people present. Most of the participants were equine therapists or professionals of one kind of another, but I experienced big 'wow' moments that apply to the business world in which I've worked the last 25 years. (Also insights were applicable to my life partner relationship over the same period of time!)...

    So many assumptions we make about management (control, compliance, requests) can exacerbate our problems.

    Bring your question to our podcast recording

    Now almost a year later, I will interview Tim for aneasier business podcast episode. But when I record it, I want to try an idea that's inspired by Chris Reynolds ofThe Business Method. When Chris interviewedJohn Warrillow about how to sell a business. Chris invited a couple entrepreneurs to listen and join a private Q&A at the end. So at one point I got to ask a direct question of Warrillow that really helped me out. So I'd like to try something similar.

    Would you like to join, listen, and ask a question of Tim for yourself? Register for the conversation online April 6 at 12 pm Central time in Austin.


    If you're curious, you might dig learning more about this with me:

    • relationships that are not one-sided,
    • employee management that doesn't feel like a grind,
    • how reimagining compliance opens big possibilities for our team's capacity.

    I wonder if horses will be a non-starter for some of us? Will customer service really get easier from something I can learn from horses? Will my team's rapport really improve from my reimagining control and compliance?

    I get that it might feel like a stretch. But if you've read this far, and you saw "horses" in title, maybe it sounds promising. I expect it will be worthwhile.

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