Last Wednesday, December 7th, LCIís Administrative Supervisor Melissa Verdin and I attended a seminar "Excelling as a Manager or Supervisor" in New Orleans. The day-long class was hosted by SkillPath, a company that offers professional development seminars across the country. Our instructor, Chad, was both informative and engaging.
Why We Attended
LCI's continued growth has brought with it supervisory responsibility for Melissa and me, so it was great to attend a seminar like this. We both gained tools which will aid us in becoming better leaders, and we look forward to utilizing what we learned to hopefully empower and encourage our co-workers.
The class consisted of a variety of leadership and management topics. We were encouraged to look inward at ourselves as leaders in addition to seeking strategies for managing others. The seminar featured a mix of theoretical topics, "Why leadership is an essential ingredient of management," and practical skills, "Correcting problem behavior and poor performance." This balance, paired with techniques I can implement right away, gave me a lot to think about.
Managing in the Future: Millennials
Something that I found particularly interesting is that by 2025 (in only nine years) Millennials--those born in the 1980s and early 1990s--will make up 75% of the workforce. This means a drastic change in work culture because Millennials exhibit different qualities than prior generations. For example, Millennials tend to crave faster feedback, and they value work culture and environment over money. As the percentage of Millennials in the workforce grows, managers will need to find ways to motivate and engage them.
The Zappos Example
While companies will make changes at different times, we looked at Zappos as a case study of companies on the forefront of building a culture attractive to Millennials. Known for selling shoes, Zappos has grown immensely since its 1999 founding, and is now owned by Amazon.
Zappos believes in Holocracy, which it defines as "a comprehensive practice [that] replaces today's top-down predict-and-control paradigm" and has put a strong emphasis on company culture. Zappos has nap rooms, breakfast and lunch buffets, and a website specifically designed to share its work culture with the public.
I am interested to see if the company culture and management structure that Zappos has created becomes more popular, and if other companies who implement it become more successful. Regardless, I am impressed at Zappos' attempt to engage with its employees and appeal to their priorities. After all, one of the key takeaways from the seminar was that leading and managing involve two-way communication. Zappos is listening to the generation of employees it is looking to attract. I think this quote sums up their leadership philosophy, so I will close with it:
"Our number one priority is company culture. Our whole belief is that if you get the culture right, most of the other stuff like delivering great customer service or building a long-term enduring brand will just happen naturally on its own."
--Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos
Mallory Weaver is LCIís Collections Supervisor. She works with LCI policyholders owing a balance after their annual audit, and assists them in getting on a payment plan. LCI offers interest-free payment plans for current policyholders who owe an audit balance. Email Mallory to learn more about this option.
"What I Learned at" is a series in LCIAís Orange Blog where we provide a recap of LCI and LCIA events. Additionally, our staff will occasionally attend professional development and educational classes. We use this "What I Learned at" blog series to report what we learned to you.