My friend Naomi Simson of RedBalloon is one of those people that just makes you feel fabulous when you’re around her! Professionally & personally, she’s always got love to give and that isn’t even what I love most about her.
What I love most is her transparency & demand for excellence. In herself, her friends & those who surround her. Just being close to people like Naomi makes you want to up-your-game instantly. After all, she is known as the Chief Experience Officer!
And there’s your first three key points for getting the very best out of your people:
- Demanding excellence
- Surround yourself with people who make you up-your-game
Naomi recently invited me into her LinkedIn Corporate Group & that left me thinking about my last visit to her company in Sydney Australia. I had stopped by to work out of her office for a few hours & was immediately blown away by the buzz in the air. It was a few days leading up to Christmas so everyone was intensely busy booking & processing as many orders as possible. Then something magical happened, as I asked two or three people what they were up to, without a moments hesitation they proudly responded with the number of orders yet to go to achieve their objective, along with the month to-date tally & what they were doing to boost that number. WOW, I was impressed.
Your next key points for getting the best out of your people
- Sense of ownership for over all success
- Effective communication
- Engagement processes
Moving along, followed by Dexter the dog (although sometimes he likes to think of himself in reverse spelling… god) I walked upstairs to see more of the team. I giggled as I looked up at the tally board & saw not only how everyone stays tuned into results, but how the family atmosphere is fostered through shared pictures of company events, or even just a day at work.
So I get upstairs & the buzz is just as electric as downstairs. It’s an engineering & accounting team so I was expecting a much more subdued crowd. As I make my way to the kitchen, my next ah ha moment arrives. There on the company bulletin board I found all sorts of recognition for contribution. Later I would come to learn of a tradition I love even more. RedBalloon’s policy of giving its staff a paid holiday on their birthday in exchange for them bringing in a picture of something fun & exciting they did on their special day is sheer brilliance.
And there you have a few more key points for getting the best out of your people
- Ongoing recognition
- Collaborative celebration
- Encourage work-life balance
Naomi has found a way to make her people extend the workplace into their personal lives & passions, and that’s quite a special treat. These are only some of the observations I made in the short hour or so that I spent at her headquarters, but I was astonished by the mere simplicity as none of these measures required great bells & whistles or extremely expensive technology. In fact, all around the office are fun-filled reminders of what’s left to achieve in order to reach a collaborative success.
All of this must surely be some of the key reasons why RedBalloon were amongst the top six Employers in Australia and New Zealand in 2009, as accredited by Hewitt Best Employers.