America’s Leadership Expert : Personal Development

Clay Stairs: This is America’s Leadership Expert Clay Stairs with Tulsa business leadership and podcast number 47, nurturing and caring for the seeds of personal growth. At Clay Stairs and Tulsa business leadership, what we get to spend time with as we work across the country with business leaders and entrepreneurs, what we find so often is that the company can only grow as far as the leader has grown. As a result, so many times the company is experience difficulties and struggles, simply because the solution is beyond the capacity of the leader or of the leaders. So at America’s Leadership Expert Clay Stairs Tulsa business leadership, what we focus on very first is the capacity of the leaders. This series on personal growth is talking about how to expand your capacity to process greater complexity. In Tulsa business leadership, this podcast we’re talking about how to nurture and care for the seeds of personal growth.

So, I remembered as a leader with America’s Leadership Expert  Clay Stairs Tulsa business leadership, spending time leading a organization as … it was a seasonal organization. And the staff came for about three or four months at a time, and then they would leave and then they would come back and work through the season. We found that we were spending, in that organization, we were spending a lot of money for seasonal staff that were pretty marginal. The staff, they were not highly trained. They were not highly exuberant. They were in that age group of around 18-22 years old, and at Clay Stairs Tulsa business leadership we had recognized that we were spending a lot of money on average workers. We began to spend time nurturing those workers each season. I remember as I first began this process of nurturing and training, I couldn’t get anybody to come to a meeting. And then I began to sell the value of the training, of the preparation. This is what we’re going to be doing in this meeting, and I knew that the value that I would be providing and the language I was using in communicating that value was something that would pique the interest.

We threw our, or we raised the flag and invited people to come to the meeting. We had one person come. This was back in 2002. We had one person come. But we decided at America’s Leadership Expert  Clay Stairs Tulsa business leadership that we would go ahead and pour into this one person. Throughout that season, we spent time, it became known as ‘Time as with Clay’, but we began to spend time with this one person. Her name was Lauren, and we began to do personal development with her and expanding her capacity. She was a young gal at this time, but the things that we were talking about in each one of our sessions together were things that were in line with what she was hungry for and what she was desiring in her life. As we moved forward in time, eventually more and more people wanted to be a part because they began to see the value of what Lauren was getting out of it. So the next season came along, and we had more people. Lauren came back because of the value and we had more people that wanted to start into this ‘Time with Clay’.

So at  America’s Leadership Expert Clay Stairs Tulsa business leadership, what we began to do was set up times throughout the week where we would meet with groups of people to train them and develop them, to nurture the seeds of personal development in their minds and in their hearts and in their lives and attitudes. In 2007, we had about 40 of these staff that were now coming on a season basis, and now each one of them that were coming were actually a part of this ‘Time with Clay’. We weren’t meeting with all 40 at one time, because again Lauren was still coming back. She had again, what was bringing her back over and over was the value of the nurturing. She was recognizing that she was getting trained, that she was getting developed as she was getting equipped for her future. So she continued to come back. We also found that we had about a 77% return rate, which was wonderful for us season after season. They would spend nine months away from us and then come spend three months with us. It was just so many things that could happen during that nine months to get, to distract them into something else.

We found that we had a wonderful recurring staff that would come back seasonal after season. Finally, in 2007, we realized that we had a group that had completely bought into the nurturing that had been going on. The primary reason they were there for the nurture, for the growth. Yes, the work was good but they were primarily coming for the growth. As that season began, I knew in the meetings it was going to be important for me to be able to help them to identity that value in our ‘Time with Clay’. What I began to do in each of those meetings, and I strongly encourage this for you as a team builder, is to help those that you are leading, help them see the value of what they are gaining by being around you, by following you.

So at the end of that season in 2007, I actually brought up to the people the idea of “Here’s what we’re going to do. Next year, when you come back, we’re not going to pay you but you are actually going to have to pay us.” It was a huge transition in the way that we were doing business. A big shift in our business model. But at America’s Leadership Expert Clay Stairs Tulsa business leadership, we knew that we had added value through the nurture and care of the seeds that were being sown into their lives. And 86% of those staff returned the following season and were willing to pay, and did pay.

So at America’s Leadership Expert Clay Stairs Tulsa business leadership, this is a principle that we have learned. That if you can add value to the … not just to the work, but if you can add value to the experience that your employees are having while they are working in your company, then it will be a tremendous asset for you in being able to retain and being able to get top quality employees as you move forward.

But I want to mention some different areas where you can nurture the seeds, nurture and care for these seeds in your own personal life as well as in the lives of those that you are leading. The first place is Tulsa business leadership, that we want to identify here is … first of all, you have to make the decision to do the work. And that’s the important thing, because so many times we hire people, we take them through training, and we just don’t do the work. Or, on a personal level, I read a book and I get all kinds of great ideas, but I don’t do the work of implementation. I don’t do the work of acting out what I have learned. I want to talk about six different areas where you can begin doing the work.

The first area is beginning to, as we continue with our idea of a garden, the first area is we have to water the garden. This is simply where we are getting new information. We are consistently watering our garden. We are reading. We are listening to podcasts. We are listening to webinars. We are going to workshops. We are spending time in training classes. But we are constantly watering our garden. It’s very important that we continue to water with new information.

The second step is to make sure that there is plenty of sun. Not only is there water, but there’s also sun. The sun in this metaphor represents new understanding, it’s new revelation. It’s not just new information, but it’s new revelation. It’s new understanding of this information that’s coming into my ears. At America’s Leadership Expert Clay Stairs Tulsa business leadership, I consistently let people know about the importance of having a person in your life that is helping you understand what you are learning, helping you assimilate that new understanding into your mind and into your activities every day.

The third step that we want to do to help nurture and care for the seeds that are being planted is to add nutrientes and fertilizer. Yes, this means add the poop. The struggle and difficulty to understand how to process the struggles and difficulties. So many times, I find as the leader of Clay Stairs Tulsa business leadership that leaders and entrepreneurs and people in their personal development, they interpret struggles and difficulties and pain and hurt as very negative things. We do, I remember doing this as well. We do everything we can to avoid struggle as opposed to learning how to embrace the nutrients, embrace the struggle, embrace the difficulty for the nutrients and for the fertilizer that it can provide for these seeds that are growing.

The next piece is adding the CO2. This again, in the metaphor, CO2 stands for the atmosphere that I surround myself with. These are the people that I hang out with, the mindsets that I allow myself to be around on a daily basis. Once again, you may have been in the place before where you have been reading a book and you’re thinking about change and you’re excited about change, but the first time you talk about change with one of your friends or a person that you hang out with a lot, you find that they look at you and go, “What are you talking about? Don’t do that. Come and do this with us. Man, why you working so hard? You don’t need to do that.” The atmosphere that we are surrounded with can actually choke out the new growth that’s going on. We need to be careful about the atmosphere, the CO2 environment that we are placing ourselves in.

One thing that we can do, you’ve probably heard of the greenhouse effect and you understand, you probably understand the benefits of a greenhouse in aiding the nurture and care of growing plants. Greenhouses imply provide a consistent environment, it creates a balance, a balanced environment right at that place where these plants can grow the best. So if I place myself in the correct greenhouse, which again is the right way of thinking, the right amount of water, the right amount of sun, the right amount of processing struggle and difficulty, if I can place myself in this greenhouse on purpose, then I can find that my growth can actually go quicker and move faster.

Finally, the last thing that I want to say here, the sixth piece of how to nurture and care is this concept that we call pesticide. We put pesticides, we spray plants to protect them. What I’ve found over and over in my life, and as I’m working with people with Tulsa business leadership, I find that if you can consistently water, if you can consistently understand, if you are constantly bringing in new information, and transacting and replacing the thinking and getting new understanding and making sure that you are processing struggle and difficulty correctly, if you have surrounded yourself with the right thinking, with other people that are on the same path, other people that are excited about growing and learning, if you surround yourself and do this consistently, that will provide a natural pesticide for you. It will naturally protect you in your growth while you are nurturing and caring for these seeds of personal growth.

This is America’s Leadership Expert Clay Stairs with Tulsa business leadership and podcast number 47, talking about nurture and care for the seeds of personal growth.