‘Water the Flowers’

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:37 pm

A couple of months ago, I asked a friend to come with me to watch the open players in a statewide racquetball tournament. My friend said he couldn’t join me that particular Saturday because he was going to be watering the flower.

Since this was March in Wisconsin, a bit too early to be watering flowers outside, I asked my friend what he meant by the phrase “watering the flower.” He said it meant spending time with his wife doing the things that are important to her. She was the flower. In other words, he had set time aside for the care and feeding of his wife, and in particular, their relationship.

My friend is of Puerto Rican decent. He indicated the phrase, “watering the flower,” originates from Latin America. The phase reminds me of a concept that best-selling author Steven Covey teaches in his writings. Covey’s concept is the emotional bank account.

As Covey explains, the emotional bank account exists between two people, and essentially reflects the overall health and wellbeing of their relationship. The emotional bank account works like a checking account. In order to withdraw money from the account, enough money is needed to be deposited to cover the withdrawal. Otherwise, that particular checking account will be overdrawn and in default.

As Covey explains, the same exact thing happens in relationships between people.

Just as people make deposits and withdrawals in a checking account, they also make deposits and withdrawals within the context of their many business relationships. In fact, an emotional bank account exists between every business leader and each one of their employee relationships, whether they acknowledge it or not.

With the goal of building strong and purposeful relationships between business leaders and employee teams, the business leader needs to be aware of the importance of building up a reserve of deposits in those emotional bank accounts.

When the business leader is not effective at building meaningful and purposeful relationships with their employee team, their organization will likely struggle with the following:

•    Attracting and retaining “A” players to their team.

•    Achieving and maintaining an enthused and engaged employee team.

•    Achieving consistent strong financial performance.

Be clear about your priorities. This is a simple concept to understand. As a business leader (owner, division and/or department head, etc.), your priorities should be as follows:

• The employee.

• The client.

• The company.

Sounds backwards doesn’t it? However, if your decision-making is guided by anything other than the above priorities, you’re vision is only short-term. Think about it. When you make it your top priority to build strong relationships with your employee team, making tons of deposits into your joint emotional bank accounts, you are engaging and mobilizing a workforce to benefit of all stakeholders.

Priority two…if you’ve built purposeful and bulletproof relationships with your employee team, and you’ve taught them to treat every client and client-related decision in a way that would create a customer for life, then you’ve taken care of your client relationships.

Priority three…if you’ve taken care of the employee team and the client, company growth and profitability will take care of itself. Remember, don’t ever be too busy or preoccupied to water the flowers.

Phil Mydlach is the owner of Mydlach Management Advisors, a corporate planning and performance improvement practice in Waukesha. He can be reached at (262) 662-4646 or pmydlach@aol.com.

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