Before 2015, I had very limited experience with cannabis. In order to be successful in cannabis, it didn’t come from what I had done and my years of experience but instead from how I had supported those around me and what they had been doing. Although success is often times measured by the bottomline, there is a strong correlation between leadership and results. Leadership can come from a boardroom or the floor of a cannabis shop but to see tangible results, it all starts with communication. To communicate effectively and motivate your employees to your way of thinking, it pays to be genuinely interested in others, see things from their point of view and to be a good listener.
Effective communication means work. Lots of work. Well, easier said than done of course.
It is very easy to blow past these important communication tools when you are just entering a leadership position but it will move mountains for you at critical points if you spend time investing in the people around you. Showing genuine interest in others can take you miles ahead and earn you more friends in two weeks than you could have in two years trying to tell people about yourself. In this industry it is remarkably easy to find people who are doing interesting things!
Given the opportunity, listen to these stories, ask the genuine questions that will validate the person you are interacting with but also provide more information about them – not you. For example, telling someone they have a nice car isn’t genuine – I know I have a nice car or nice hair or nice shoes. However, asking someone how long they have had that car, or how they maintain it? You could learn a lot more and truly connect with them making them feel appreciated emotionally and important for having that car.
One of my mentors has passed along a monthly exercise that we do at Have a Heart called Leadership Meetings. When we perform these Leadership Meetings we invite front line employees all the way up to managers to join. Its a group meeting where we cover topics that cover the human factor of working in retail. These meetings are discussion based. As the leader of these meetings I will take a genuine interest in every person who shows up, giving them the floor and the room’s undivided attention to share their words on the meeting topics.
This does more than just allow them to express themselves. It allows them to feel important.
Feeling important and appreciated can have longer lasting and more powerful effects than money may ever have. Emotional connections immediately bind you to the other party involved. Emotions, at their core, what drive us to do the most powerful and beautiful of things. In the Leadership Meetings when someone is telling a story from work and we solve the problem with the entire group, we have made an amazing accomplishment; we have seen the problem from that employees point of view, the team has shown genuine interest in solving the problem and we all listened to their story.
The effects of this communication are astonishing – people will buy in to your efforts! They will reach for the stars because they know it’s important, it has value. There peers are problem solving and creating an atmosphere of teamwork. It also allows me to set standards, reinforce goals, company strengths and increase enthusiasm for the future. In the end, all of this is added value for guest retention and expansion. Employees trickle down the conversations and communication from these meetings onto the sales floor using information to impact a guests in a better way.
We have just improved our bottomline.
Genuine acts of interest must come from the heart, it cannot be fabricated and I do not advocate any tricks here because it’s more about a way of life. Living together, as one, working towards similar goals can lead to real human interaction and awe-inspiring results. That to me is our bottom line and ultimately, is true success.
Simply showing those around you genuine interest, listening, and seeing things through their point of view will often times reward you with much more than you could ever imagine. Abraham Lincoln, one of the most profound men who accomplished the feat of bringing our country together, once said, “A drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall”, and he couldn’t have been more right.