Cheryl offers: I LOVE my dogs and as I read Women Want More by Michael J. Silverstein and Kate Sayre, I learned I am in the good company of most women because women receive great joy from their pets. Now they aren’t all dogs of course. They might be cats, pigs, or iguanas, but in their research to determine what women want, these two Boston Consulting Group consultants learned that women want time with their pets, regardless of education level, income bracket, career choices, or location. Even more important to retailers, we are willing to spend a lot of our money on those babies. It makes perfect sense to me. When I’m experiencing a tough day, have a headache, or come home after a 14 hour day, there they are. My dogs have a way of cheering me up and making whatever was bothering me just moments before disappear. They insist on taking daily walks and maintaining a schedule. What a relief; otherwise, I’d likely sit at the computer too long and miss some great fresh air. All of a sudden, I might be working away, and here comes one or the other. It’s always a surprise which one of the four has been volunteered by the others to lead the charge. And I must admit, it’s a nice surprise. In fact, I’m wondering right now, who will wander in to save me…hurry, I’m tired!
Sara adds: There are a couple of leadership lessons here. First, when someone (two or four legged) wants to have fun, do stuff together and always (always, always) trusts us, it’s hard not to respond in like kind – that’s the lesson on the receiving end. The message on the sending end (leadership in action) is one of consciousness. If we learn a lesson from our pets, it’s to be really aware of our employees because it’s contagious! Fred Kofman states it in Conscious Business, “Conscious employees take responsibility for their lives…unconscious employees do the opposite.” Consider the value of an employee that takes responsibility versus one who does not. Which would you rather have? Let’s go back to the lessons. First, if a leader shows their employees that they want to have fun, do stuff together and that they trust them, it’s hard not to smile and join in. And consciousness modeled by a leader is picked up by those they lead. Remember how the excitement of the dogs invited play from Cheryl. Excitement from a leader invites engagement (or consciousness.) My dog pokes me in the ribs with her snout when I’ve been sitting too long. She is a great inspiration!
Cheryl offers: I’m one of those crazy people who take my dog, Simon, to the dog park to play with his friends. He’s a boxer, full of energy every day of his happy life. It’s just more than a 2 mile walk can calm. Besides, he’s one social being; he loves to play with other dogs, and any dog will do. He’s not picky at all. What perplexes me is the other people at the dog park. There’s a regular crowd in the afternoon who will tell you “Those people in the morning are weird. I don’t like them.” Whenever I am at the park in the morning, I might hear “Those people that come in the afternoon, I don’t get them and don’t like their dogs.” Now Simon and I hang out with both groups and we have found nice people and dogs in both groups. Whenever I hear “Those people, us/them, me/them…you get the picture” I wonder what they believe makes “them or those people” so different. Both love their dogs, both take the time to bring them to the dog park, both make sure their dogs behave in a socially respectable manner, both usually pick up after their pets. I’m reminded of a quote from one of my favorite books, The Anatomy of Peace, by the Arbinger Institute: “Lumping everyone of a particular race or culture or faith into a single stereotype is a way of failing to see them as people”. That means we don’t bother to remember their life has problems, struggles, joys, stress, love, and pain just like we do. I’m pretty convinced this concept applies to us all, even if we are at the dog park.