Long ago, our ancestor was out gathering shoots and berries on the savanna and heard the distant roar of a lion. As the roar grew ever closer, he sped up his work and, when the lion appeared nearby, made for the cave as fast as his bare feet would carry him.
Fast-forward to a meeting room in an office near you, and the same hard-wired fear that saved our ancestors from constant real threats continues to arouse us against perceived threats. And that, avers Stephen Howe is a problem because fear tends to shut down creativity and send everybody back to their metaphorical caves –, i.e., their offices. Substitute the business leader for the lion, and the metaphor takes on a modern twist.
“When I walk into a room as the CFO, I’m probably putting my teammates into a low level of threat,” said Howe, who attended Harvard and played basketball at Oxford University. “That’s maybe okay, they’re a little more focused, a little more attentive… a little stress is good.” But if the leader projects a bad mood or gets chippy with those whose livelihoods depend on him or her, cautions Howe, the result is likely to be “fight or flight,” neither of which is conducive to “the kind of creativity that is needed for complex problem-solving.”
As the chief financial officer of The Wonderful Company, which includes brands you know and love like FIJI Water, POM Wonderful, Halos Mandarins, and JUSTIN Wines, Howe is also in charge of the company’s human resources area and bears the, er, lion’s share of responsibility of ensuring the company’s culture is driven by creativity and focus, not fear.
The podcast provides listeners with a clearly outlined rationale for, and steps to foster, an environment of “positive teamwork.”
The Wonderful Company takes shared values seriously enough to have created a performance review process called G.R.O.W., which stands for Goals, Recognition, and Ongoing conversations at Wonderful. “Everyone at Wonderful is evaluated not only on what they achieved and plan to achieve,” Howe pointed out, “but also how they achieved it.”
You Will Learn
- 8:00 How to inspire determination in others..
- 15:00 How to encourage employees to live out company values.
- 22:00 How to hire and train the right people.
- 25:00 How to next-level your interview questions.
- 26:00 Stephen’s experience coaching future NBA players.