Memories of summer evening family outings include going to the ice cream parlor and ordering a sundae… ice cream with a topping of fruit, syrup, whipped cream, nuts or sprinkles.  Getting a sundae with a cherry on top? That was the EXTRA on top of something already good from my kid perspective.

It still is… and I save the cherry for the last sweet bite!

What’s the connection between ice cream sundaes with a cherry on top and extra business momentum?

Successful business owners/managers understand in their gut that running a company isn’t only a set of mechanical tasks and technical expertise. It’s layers of human interactions focused on getting people to do what’s best—for customers/clients, for the business, and themselves.

Helping people to understand and want to do their best, demonstrate courage when facing adversity and maintain a willingness to learn can be challenging.

Often this requires the business owner/manager to learn some difficult lessons him/herself.

Personal development.  That’s the sundae… so good.

The human element, an up-close personal contact with another human being… that’s a “cherry on top.”

What’s needed for creating EXTRA business momentum for yourself and others?

In this article…

I’ll explore 3 ways the human element of personal development sweetens business momentum… you know, the maraschino cherry’s juicy burst of delight.

Your sundae with a “cherry on top” will be served by…

1— Say yes to showing vulnerability as needed.

  • Readily admit mistakes rather than blaming. Owning a thoughtless comment, or another human flaw is responsible and honest; sending the message, I don’t always have to be right. We’re human, make mistakes and improve.
  • Sign up for additional help to learn needed skills, like anger management, leadership or communication skills and seek feedback from others related to your progress. Ask, have you noticed I’m saying hi to people in the mornings rather than walking straight into my office without a word to anyone?
  • Be the first to share in a group debriefing emotionally honest feelings…
They voluntarily gathered quietly around the board room table– 12 men, 1 woman. I didn’t know them.

I was there to help them navigate the sudden death of a valued team member many had worked with side by side for over 10 years. I was informed the company culture was tense… and had been for a while. There were good reasons for the employees’ distrust according to HR, although positive moves had been implemented.

I paused after reviewing normal grief reactions and invited them to share… memories of working with their co-worker, how they are doing, concerns.

Silence. I assured them silence was fine… because no one is required to share.

And then the man to my left spoke. So did the other 12. Personal stories which made us laugh, pause, say out loud I’ll miss him and personal awareness of how things are different now and will be in the future.

A beautiful time of joy filled pain, pain filled joy sharing.

The human element… one man who happened to be the team manager started the conversation with his personal story.

“Cherry on top.”

2— Say yes to making an extra effort to talk face-to-face or by phone with others whom you report to, work with or supervise.

Email communicates. Town halls communicate too. Whenever possible go and meet the person.

Here’s why…

There’s nothing better than a warm body who truly makes eye contact and sincerely wants to stay around after they say, How are you Doing okay? Are you getting what you need?

A personal business story…

I joined a new global coaching group last year and traveled to meet the leadership and nearly 100 members at a retreat center for a weekend of planning our launch.

There were ample opportunities to share, question, discover, listen to the various views, eat together, laugh and generally support our growth as a community of independent professionals out to do big, important things… together.

I left with a jar full of maraschino cherries… the human element was fantastic!

Recently the togetherness has been challenged and some business strategies altered.

Having met these people face-to-face at the retreat, forming positive relationships and subsequently working together through email, FaceBook and the telephone, I’m able to hold on to the bigger picture. I know the face-to-face real time experience has been a significant bond that helps me stay grounded, willing to hang in there during this disruption.

There’s still a few maraschino cherries in the jar.

The human element from our weekend together continues to be a powerful motivator to stay in the discussion and not let my ego get in the way. It’s challenging and worth it.

“Cherry on top.”

3— Say yes to personal development coaching and be present for yourself.

Yes, professional coaches get coaching too. I believe that you can’t take anyone where you haven’t been yourself… not that you have to have the same challenge as leading a team of 40, or coping with personal relationship issues while up for promotion.

I’m referring to being real and facing personal challenges which impact your business momentum with a trusted coach…

The cherry on top experience happened at two distinct times for me this past week… and gave impetus to this article.

The human element made it possible…  that is, the personal interest two coaches conveyed to me.  One communicated through an email, the other by phone. One offered to meet me for a phone session to review my goals while the other normalized a concern I shared.

I’m not sure they know how uplifting their brief interaction was for me… new momentum.

It was a moment of human connection I didn’t know I needed.

Sweet. Surprisingly sweet.

“Cherry on top.”

The takeaway is…

Business momentum is extra sweet when it comes from engaging those multiple layers of human interaction we have access to in our everyday work lives.

Openness to personal development is key… saying yes to appropriate vulnerability, using multiple venues to create lasting connection and 1:1 coaching.

The human element can show up in surprising ways during personal development activities… the “cherry on top” saved for the last bite of something already good.

If you’d like to connect around your personal development goals, please contact me for a “I’ve got this!” Strategy Session. Check it out.