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On this episode of Leadership with Heart, we dive into the fascinating story of a company that values deep relationships and creating a nurturing environment for its employees. In this episode, you’ll see the value and power of partnerships. Join us as we explore how this company hires with connection in mind, how conflicts are addressed directly with open communication, and how radical authenticity and active listening are at the core of their leadership approach. We also discuss the CEO’s role in balancing the needs of the company and individual employees, the importance of psychological safety, and the power of curiosity in resolving conflicts. Tune in to hear about the CEO’s personal journey, their partnership with a trusted COO, and the lessons learned from past mistakes.
Meredith Monday Schwartz is the CEO of Here Comes The Guide, an employee-owned, all female-led and, as of now, all-female staffed website showcasing top-notch wedding venues.
At Here Comes The Guide, she has created the company she wanted to see in the world. Here Comes The Guide is employee-owned, all female-led and, as of now, all-female staffed. With a focus on work/life balance, flexible schedules and mom-friendly policies, they are the template for the new, 21st century small business.
Here Comes The Guide is employee-owned. Meredith is proud to have a corporate structure that underscores our team mentality. Each employee owns stock in the company and is incentivized to make it a success. At Here Comes The Guide, there are no commissioned sales – ever. They believe that a commission structure fundamentally changes the way a person sells, so instead they have taken that issue off the table and all of the account representatives are paid a straight salary. This means they can put the highest priority on what’s right for the venue and vendor clients, and what’s best for web users, rather than on what pays the bills.
Here Comes The Guide has Girl Power and lots of it. The founder is a woman, and they are an all-woman company. Although they didn’t set out to be, and it may not be this way forever, Meredith and her team delight in being a tight-knit group of strong-willed, outspoken women.
They were the first local wedding resource. True story: Lynn Broadwell, the founder, literally invented the local wedding resource back in 1989 when she couldn’t find the right wedding venue. She filled a hole in the market and a genre was created.
Here Comes The Guide is a fully distributed team, with no main office. Part of the low turnover rate is because they allow employees to work from anywhere. So, when members of the team have had to move because of a change in a spouse’s job or to be closer to family, they don’t have to leave Here Comes The Guide. The team also loves seeing each other’s faces, so they get together as an entire group twice a year for several days at a time. They do lots of great work during that time, but also just hang out, talk, cook and eat meals as a group, and play together.
Things to think about
- How does a company’s approach to deepening relationships and addressing conflicts contribute to a nurturing and supportive work environment?
- What are the benefits of hiring employees who value deep relationships with each other? How does this contribute to low turnover rates?
- How can a company prioritize the well-being of its employees while also focusing on profitability? Can these two objectives coexist? (The answer is yes)
- Think of a time when active listening helped you understand a colleague or employee as a whole person, beyond just their work life. How did this understanding impact your relationship and their performance?
- What challenges do leaders face when balancing the needs of the company with the individual needs of employees? How can leaders navigate these conflicting priorities?
The Listening Guide
Create a listening culture that elevates the employee experience with The Listening Guide.
Discover 3 approaches to listening inside an organization and ensure those you lead feel heard.
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About Heather R Younger
Heather R Younger is a highly sought-after speaker, 2x-TEDx speaker, diversity, equity and inclusion strategist, and contributor to leading news outlets. She is also the Founder and CEO of Employee Fanatix, a leading employee engagement and consulting firm.
After over 25,000 employee engagement surveys and years of working with organizations to transform employee engagement, here’s what Heather has seen over and over:
When you know how to listen, employees will tell you exactly what they need to bring their full selves to work.