I attended the "all-hands" meeting at Kynetx today to perform a post mortem on Impact 2011 and discuss strategic plans for Kynetx for the foreseeable future.
As we began the meeting, we all recounted our post Impact weekends and how most of us had found the downtime to be very rejuvenating. As we got down to the business of building a priority list of all of the things that need to get done, my friend Sam interupted and said (paraphrasing here), " I had a much different weekend then the rest of you. I did not find peace or solace, instead I found only dispair."
Silence permeated the room.
Needless to say, Sam needed a hug.
Here is the deal with Sam, I genuinely love this guy. He is brilliant and one of the most well adjusted humans I have met in my life. He is also very easy to read. Sam does not mask his emotions well (this is a feature, not a bug) and you can devine the "Sam weather report" pretty darn quickly if you care to look.
So when he spoke up in the meeting this morning, I was surprised, not by the fact he said something but by the velocity at which it all came tumbling out. It was obvious that Sam was in dispair and dwelling in a dark place because he felt that he was drowning.
What happened next was awesome.. Sam got a metaphorical group hug from the team in the room and a real hug from our CFO Roy. The group hug manifested in the form of "big ears" listening to not only the words Sam was saying, but also to what he was not saying. Because we all knew Sam and cared to listen, we very quickly knew what we needed to do in order to pull him out of his dark place.
This is what happens when you are part of a team who cares equally about the mental health of the humans and the business. I firmly believe that the mental health of humans and business are not mutually exclusive but are in fact are mutually dependent. This may seem obvious to some, but you would be shocked how many people get this wrong and forget that they are coupled. When you keep you business sane, you can drive your people crazy and the converse is true as well
As leaders, it is our duty to maintain sanity and promote good mental health for both our people and for our businesses. This often is hard work and can get very messy sometimes, but the upside for taking the time and making the effort is often huge.
Those who choose not to heed this advice do so at their own peril.
When the meeting was over, Sam was rescued from the jaws of dispair and once again dwelled in the light, and we had a comprehensive list of things to keep everyone busy for the next six months.
I believe that balance has once again been restored and the mental well being of both Sam and Kynetx are intact.