You probably already know that everyone who works at HBG is a full-time employee, but except for a core group of us who come into HQ every day, most of us work virtually. We have satellite offices in Montana, Louisiana, Iowa, New York, Maryland, Tennessee, South Carolina and Massachusetts.
Unless we’re flat-out-crazy-busy or traveling, every other week we have a staff meeting, even though we’re far apart. It used to be a boring conference call, but now we use a service that allows us to see each others’ faces as we chat, à la Brady Bunch.
It’s pretty wonderful. We have always been a friendly bunch, but now there’s a lot more joking around, friendly teasing, and longer, more meaningful discussions on agenda topics.
Here’s the secret:
Our agenda is structured the same from week to week. Always at the top, we discuss what’s going on with our Beloved Dedicated Research Clients. Yep, that’s how they’re listed. Beloved.
I created the agenda template, and a year or so ago I decided that just “Dedicated Research Clients” didn’t cut it. I wrote “valued” as a descriptor. Then “awesome.” Every adjective felt true but … not enough. Then, sort of joking around, I wrote the word “beloved.” And chuckled. It was way too much.
But then I thought, well, actually, they’re the MVP’s of our clients. If we don’t love them, who do we love? I realized that beloved doesn’t just have to apply to romantic or familial love.
All of our clients are special, of course, but this elite group of organizations has hired us to work with them day in and day out, year round – and for that, they deserve “beloved” and the attitude that goes along with it. And with attitude as with everything in life, what goes around comes around.
Once you start thinking of someone as beloved, you start to notice a subtle shift in how you relate to them. And how they relate to you.
Who is beloved to you at work? Your donors? New donors? Regular donors? Lapsed donors? The frontline fundraisers you provide information to? The population your organization exists to serve? The colleague who always has your back?
What do you do to show them a little love?
I’m not (just) a Polyanna
I’m as much of a news junky and realist as the next researcher/small business owner/Bay Stater. Maybe it’s because I’ve been paying so much attention to what’s been going on in the news lately that I subconsciously needed to stop, take a breath, and think about the things and people that matter, not just in my personal life but at work, too.
So on this almost-Valentine’s Day, I’d like to send out some love to our clients, past and present. To mentors and colleagues. Most especially to my awesome HBG team.
And to you.
You are my Valentine, too, because you are here, reading this. Thank you.