January
24

One cold Winter evening, a wise old man called his sons and daughters to an urgent meeting. On arriving at the living room venue of the meeting, they were surprised to see him wielding a broom made from palm fronds.

“Dad, what is the broom for?” his first son asked. The old man handed him the broom and said: “Son, I want you to break this broom.”

Still wondering what dad was up to, first son tried so hard for about 10 minutes but couldn’t break the broom. So, the old man repeated the broom-breaking challenge with the rest of his children, with none of them able to meet it.

Then he pulled a stick out of the broom, and with relative ease, the first son broke it. “The stick represents each of you but the broom represents all of you,” stated the wise man. “If you act alone,” he continued, “it would be very easy to break you but if you act together, you will be unbreakable.”

Isn’t that true of all of us – whether in the family or organizational setting?

We often hear the cliché “divided we fall.” Right? One sure way to divide is to deny people around you the #appreciation they deserve.

I know, in times as difficult and precarious as this – with #COVID19 pandemic still raging in our cities, small towns, and rural communities and the economy adversely affecting many neighbors – we may be tempted to shelve counting our #blessings and appreciating others. But, as I like to say, every time is a good time to appreciate not only the life we have, but also the family, friends and team members we are blessed with and the opportunity we have in serving others through the work (or business) God has given us.

For me, daily appreciation is a necessary routine. I deem it important to frequently remind myself that I made it thus far by the grace of God and the support and encouragement many people have shown for my hard work.

The many includes you reading this piece now, and I say a big THANK YOU.

Just recently, the American Arab Chamber of Commerce honored me with its Economic Bridge Builder Award, and in my acceptance speech, I dedicated the award to individuals and families facing homelessness and #hunger in our community who sometimes are hiding in plain sight, hoping that someone would notice and come to their rescue.

They, alongside family, countless friends, and dedicated and loyal team members, have inspired me a great deal in my daily task of helping #homeless, hungry and hurting men, women and children get on the right, stable and sustainable track.

The fact is: no matter how knowledgeable, experienced, hardworking, and well positioned we are, we still need the help of others to succeed, remain successful or become more successful.

Nobody succeeds and remains successful without the help of others.

As I recently shared with my CIOViews and Insights Success magazine interviewers, without the good guidance of my dad, the encouragement and support of Don DeVos, the then president and CEO of Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (https://drmm.org), and the opportunity I had to hear the uplifting testimony of a hearty program beneficiary, I won’t have accepted the low-paying offer to join the staff of the Mission in 1997.

Looking back now, 24 years later, I am very glad I did. I am also thankful for all the people I have had the pleasure of collaborating with. Together, we solved myriad of problems and helped individuals and families get ahead in life. Together we set and exceeded goals. Together we …

My #leadership team will tell you that I like to celebrate our successes with them because every success is a product of our collective efforts. Every success is our success as a team. Even when I conceive and conceptualize a program, I always seek their input, and they always help with its implementation. When difficult challenges emerge – as they often do – and I contemplate solutions, I don’t rush to act. Instead, I sit down with my team, share my analysis of the situation, let them in on my solutions framework, and ask for their critique and suggestions. Being smart and result-oriented individuals, they readily share their insights and suggestions.

That way, everyone feels a part of the important process, and gets motivated to put in their best. Why not? Every challenge is our challenge as a team.

Abraham Maslow taught us that getting appreciated by others is one of the basic needs of humans. He lumped it under “Esteem Need” in his well-known pyramid of needs. We all like to be appreciated by others but we should appreciate them too.

Perhaps, drawing from Maslow’s seminal work, many psychologists now play the emotional intelligence trumpet, and identify appreciating others as a good sign that Ms. A or Mr. B has emotional intelligence. I agree it is – which is why, in deciding who to hire, fire or promote, my team and I place immense value on how candidates appreciate not only colleagues but also the help-needing guests we serve at our various locations in the #Detroit area.

Now, let me ask you: how well do you appreciate others – family, friends, colleagues, clients, neighbors?

Given that people like being appreciated, giving others sincere appreciation might hold the keys to the next level of your career or business success. Voltaire put it well thus: “Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”

Even the all-sufficient God wants us to appreciate Him. Psalm 100: 4 says, “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him and bless His name.” And in 1 Thessalonians 5: 11, we are told to “encourage each other and build each other up.” It doesn’t get any clearer than that.

So, if you are the only person receiving all the commendations and accolades in your family or organization, something is wrong. Encourage a culture of mutual respect, appreciation and encouragement and watch as everyone serves, succeeds, and smiles together.

Dr. Chad Audi has been the president and CEO of America’s largest rescue mission, the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries, since 2004. An expert in finance and leadership, he is credited with bringing all-round growth and expansion to the 112-year-old organization that gives much needed hope and help to the homeless, jobless, drug-addicted and afflicted of southeast Michigan. For more information, please visit http://drmm.org or call 313-993-4700.

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