Food Swap: Coworker Edition

One of my favorite things to do is spend an evening cooking in my kitchen. I love thinking about recipes and trying new things. I even love the grocery shopping (hi, Aldi!).

The (not so) downside of cooking

Cassidy Shearrer - Graphic Designer - Columbia Marketing Group

The only thing that I hate about cooking is when I let food go bad. I hate wasting things so much that I rarely buy greens because I know I’ll never get to the bottom of the bag before they spoil. Such is the dilemma of cooking for one. I don’t always cook for one, but most of my adult life I’ve prepared meals for one or two. If you’ve been in this boat, you know the frustration a whole gallon of milk can bring. And how is one person supposed to eat an entire bag of radishes before they go bad?

I’m becoming an expert in preservation techniques. I only buy vegetables with long shelf lives (thank you, spaghetti squash). I pawn off extra celery on my boyfriend. Sometimes, I just eat the same meal for like five days straight. And by day five, I have lost all desire to eat the amazing New York Times cooking blog recipe I was so excited about.

Co-worker food swap meet

So, when COMO magazine’s editor-in-chief, Emma, said she wanted to eat more vegetables, I got an idea. I knew Emma probably had similar meal frustrations, and I also knew that she brings her lunch to work most days, so I proposed a lunch swap. Maybe I could pawn off some of my extra meals on her! Okay, and maybe bond a little with my coworker ?.

She agreed, and with the not wanting to disappoint, I made an old standard of mine. Rice noodles and zoodles with steamed veggies topped with a peanut tahini sauce and sesame seeds. I made it for dinner the night before, brought in lunch for Emma, and ate it for dinner the next night. And then it was gone! Nothing went bad!

The only issue I hadn’t foreseen with this plan was that food brings out my competitive side. And Emma totally brought her A-game. OMG, some kind of delicious Asian turkey lettuce wrap (I immediately asked for the recipe). Plus, she gave me sides! Grapes, a mandarin orange, and chocolates. I’m feeling the pressure for our next swap. I’m over here fangirling and writing blog posts about it, and she still hasn’t asked for my recipe! We are swapping lunches again next week. I need to go read some food blogs…

The Benefits of Personality Assessments

I am typically a behind-the-scenes kind of girl. Pretty stereotypical of an editor type. I prefer to interview and photograph those with the story, not be at the center of the story.

And while I can stand in front of a large audience when I have something to say, it also makes me feel anxious and vulnerable.

I don’t prefer the spotlight and I would rather listen to you than talk about myself.

Except when it comes to personality assessments.

If you ask me what makes me uniquely me, I’m quick to offer an answer. Not because I’m impressed with myself, but because I strongly believe that being vulnerable with who I am is a gateway to building healthy, meaningful relationships.

I believe the same is true about you and the teams you lead. The more we understand ourselves and strive to understand each other, the stronger bridges we build to connecting with those who are different than us.

So, what about me?

I’m people-structured, and according to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, I’m an ENFJ (just barely an E. If in doubt, see above).

By DISC Profile standards, I’m an SC combination.

Prefer Strength Finders? My top five are relator, strategic, maximizer, responsibility, and discipline.

I’m also the color blue on the True Colors Personality Test, and I strive to be playful, engaging, affectionate, loyal, and courageous, the qualities of a counterphobic Enneagram six.

These assessments don’t determine my worth or tell me how to act. They simply describe who I already am. And with that clarity, I can better engage my inner self and the world around me.

But it’s not all about me.

Armed with the same information about my team, I seek to make sure that their roles line up with how they’re instinctively wired. For example, our best sales people are often “I’s” on the DISC, as well as the color orange. Great project managers are usually task-oriented and have some gold in their profile or show up as a “C” on the DISC profile.

The DISC and True Colors Personality Test do a great job of helping people know where they best fit. Does a person’s role fit their natural bent?

The Strength Finder and Enneagram tools are more advanced and lend in-depth information into how people will do their job and what motivates them.

The possibilities are endless, yet the outcome is clear. The more you know, and help your employees explore, the more engaged and productive team you’ll have.

10 Guiding Principles for Working Together

I don’t mind saying it. Working for COMO magazine and Columbia Marketing Group is pretty great. The community has tended to agree in the past by awarding us the 2017 Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year and the 2017 Debin Benish Outstanding Businesswoman of the Year.

But it’s not like it just magically shows up every morning like fairy dust delivered by flying llamas with magical carafes of coffee. It takes hard work and consistent commitment by all parties to a unified vision. Here is the approach we use to ensure we protect the most important part of our company … our culture.

The Business Times Company culture involves three core areas:

  • Care for the cause.
  • Care for our community.
  • Care for ourselves.

Individually, and as a group, we commit to:

Care for the Cause.

  1. Manage by objective. Our goal is to deliver a high-quality product, on time, without pissing off our co-workers! We actively respect the product, the process, and the people, and take responsibility for delivering on what we promise.
  2. Do whatever it takes. We are not bound by roles or job descriptions. We know it takes us all, chipping in, to meet our objectives. Some weeks that means going the extra mile.
  3. Prioritize the mission. We understand that our company mission stems from our love for Mid-Missouri, small business, and healthy team dynamics. For the sake of that mission, we collaborate always, yet respect clear decisions by the person responsible.

Care for our Community.

  1. Acknowledge problems early. We open and honestly embrace conflict before it becomes toxic. We share concerns when they are a 10% problem, before they become a 70% problem. We acknowledge the difference between a problem to solve and a tension to manage.
  2. Share feelings appropriately. We agree to give the benefit of the doubt and work to understand where the other person is coming from. We process our emotions before venting, qualify conflict, and respectfully give constructive feedback.
  3. Refrain from gossip. We commit to talk about a problem with someone who can solve it. We understand that gossip is a fireable offense.
  4. Embrace both sides of the coin. We strive to know the whole person (personality, skills, and strengths), and we understand that we can’t eliminate the qualities we dislike without damaging the ones we love.
  5. Communicate with perspective. When problem solving, we let our co-workers know if we’re talking about a $10, $500, $100,000 or $1 million-dollar issue.

Care for Ourselves.

  1. Work and play hard. We give 110% to the job during office hours, but also prioritize rest, down time, self-care, and self-awareness. We take advantage of the time given by the company to divert daily, withdraw weekly, and abandon annually.
  2. Understand emotions. We work to stay emotionally healthy and keep our emotional cups from overflowing. We strive to bring our full and best selves to our jobs (and lives) daily.

Three Little Ways We Show Our Clients Appreciation

Gratitude goes a long way inside and outside of your office.

We aren’t challenging any Emily Post fanatics’ positions on the handwritten thank you note, but we do favor a few other ways to show gratitude to clients.

What’s Your Love Language?

This is a personality test office. Myers-Briggs to the Enneagram. We’ve tested it. We have the chart hanging in our kitchen.

One of our newer personality assessments centers around love languages. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, the five love languages are quality time, words of affirmation, gift giving, physical touch, and acts of service.

Love languages can be used for personal, romantic, or business settings. It’s all in the application.

Does your client have quality time as their top language? You may want to schedule a longer meeting complemented by lunch.

Is gift giving more their jam? Keep Your clients preferred alcohol and snacks in office. Nothing says ‘I appreciate you,’ like having their favorite drink or snack waiting for them. Not even our spouses do that anymore.

Physical touch is trickier in the work environment, but can still be extended through high fives and handshakes.

Hey, Just Thinking of You…

Our staff loves helping small businesses grow. We think small business is the backbone of a community.

We don’t stop thinking about clients when we leave the office. Our clients are always on our mind, so whenever we see something that reminds us of their business or personal hobbies, we make sure to send it their way.

It’s one of the small ways to say, “Hey, I thought of you.”

See an article or book that might help a client, why not send it over? Who doesn’t love to be thought of?

Consistency is Key

One of the best ways we show appreciation to our clients is being consistent. Consistency lets our clients know they are as appreciated today as they were the day they signed on for our services.

How can you show consistency to those you service?

How do you show your clients you care? As a client, what has an agency done that made you feel appreciated?

Write to us on Facebook or Instagram about how you show your clients love.