What Matters Most in Business

As the year winds to a close, my mind is on counting and on assessment—data, year-end numbers, numbers of people served, numbers of jobs procured, and of course, and so importantly, the relevant, sustainable impact of our work on those we serve.

But, too, at this time of year, I am focused on what matters most in our business—or in any business for that matter. The engine, the driver, the cause, the effect, and the reason for being: people. While it might seem obvious, we often forget that it is people and our connection to them that makes us thrive.

Recently I read an article that suggested that Human Resources should be renamed: Human Assets. The author of the article reminded us that resources get depleted and used up. But assets are nurtured, tended, and cultivated to grow.

Every single transaction we have with another person—whether it be colleague or contractor, consumer or case worker, donor or delivery person—has the potential to be transformational. How we treat one another—whether we’re walking down the hallway and greet someone or we send a quick email—has an opportunity to lift up the other person, to call out their best selves. As managers, we can call on and help build the strengths of people we work with and those we serve. When our managers and our colleagues see those strengths and call on them, we get taller, we grow, we are more confident, and we tend to put our greatest assets to work. Calling on strengths is how we help those we serve grow their confidence, their abilities, and their creativity.

As we celebrate the holidays, I am reminded of how grateful I am for our board, my colleagues, our donors and all of the creative people who make our work the boon that it is. And I am so grateful to those who come through our doors—willing to be vulnerable and willing to be helped. They teach us about the strength required to reach out and to connect—something we all aspire to on a daily basis. We have so much to learn from each other. I look forward to the coming year and to connecting with more of you, knowing that by doing so, I will learn more and grow and our company will be that much stronger.