Mike is the Chief Manager of Michael Gregory Consulting LLC, focusing on developing managers, issue resolution and value added services. Developing leaders focuses on applying theory practically and joining the global movement in developing life-giving organizations. He has written six books with a seventh coming out later this year based on 25 years of management experience, having taught management training to 13 different divisions over an 11 year period and having solicited feedback from the best places to work in America. These books may be purchased at mikegreg.com.
Why does the world need a work revolution? (In other words: the way we’re working isn’t working. Why not?)
We spend most of our waking hours during the week at work. It is important that work have meaning, be fun and be fair. In today’s world the emphasis needs to be on being a servant to others regardless of your role in the organization. Employees and managers need a good working relationship. Life is short. Management needs to recognize and praise employees regularly. Work should be broken down into small chunks and employees should receive praise along the way for meeting goals. Managers should provide employees the resources they need. Managers should provide employees with the ability to lead programs or processes. Along the way managers need to be available to their employees, but let the employees make autonomous decisions and to learn from mistakes. When the project is complete managers need to provide employees with recognition in front of their peers so that all can see the success and feel the joy of a job well done. When managers are truly servant managers, both employees and managers have a real sense of fulfillment. This sense of fulfillment is missing in many businesses environments today.
How are you or your organization reinventing work in some way (big or small)?
My firm focuses on developing leaders, on providing mediation/negotiation services, and providing various value-added services to businesses. Developing leadership skills addresses all behavioral areas and ties into neuroscience. We don’t focus on past management practices, but what can be learned from past management practices and what we know works today based on applied neuroscience. Every day we negotiate with others. Managers and leaders find themselves mediating all sorts of activities between parties. I employ my 25 years of management experience together with more than 400 formal mediations and with thousands of negotiations to help others find solutions.
Why do you do what you do?
Today my business focusses on serving others by developing managers, mentoring, teaching trainers, mediating, negotiating, and applying strategic planning to help individuals and firms focus themselves on core competencies and enriching their work life experiences. By developing trust with a balanced approach toward employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction business results follow and everyone wins. By truly listening, developing, and recognizing employees, increased wellness and profitability result. Conflicts are minimized and satisfaction is maximized.
What kind of art (any kind) do you like and why? Any recommendations we should know about?
I enjoy listening to a variety of music and appreciating those that are far more creative artistically than I. I enjoy being in peaceful environments and appreciating nature’s creativity and beauty.
What is one specific thing your company does that makes your culture unique and/or different?
The basic manta of our firm is: Provide top quality service by helping clients identify, address, and resolve issues.
- Do the right thing, and follow the golden rule;
- Do what it takes to keep promises, be excellent in our work product, and be on time;
- Have fun.
We aim to always truly listen to others, address their needs rather than “our solutions”, and keep everything in perspective.
What is one discipline/industry totally different from your own that has inspired you? How does it impact your work?
I have learned from leaders in spirituality, especially Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, and Martin Luther King. From their examples I have learned that we can and should always work to bring peace to each and every situation in life including our chosen vocation. Learning from the example of spiritual masters we look for every opportunity to do our best and bring problems toward peaceful solutions.
What’s one tangible and concrete technique other organizations should use if they want to create a more human and/or meaningful place to work?
We always try to develop good working relationships with all employees, clients and customers by listening to their concerns, addressing these concerns directly, and being there to back up one another when needed.
What is one surprising thing we should know about you?
I used to work for the IRS. At the IRS I was twice named Civil Servant of the Year. Why? I believe I was nominated because I truly believe in being of service to others and giving back both at work and outside of work. By serving others regardless whether you are a front-line employee, front-line manager, middle manager or executive director, you will come across as genuine when you take this philosophy to your heart.
What piece of technology (other than your laptop/smartphone/tablet) could you not live without and why?
There is no piece of technology I can’t live without. Every July I take a busload of youth from the twin cities to the Leeche Lake Band of Ojibwa Indian Reservation. This is a church camp in Northern Minnesota where various technologies do not reach. I call it “the cure.” We tend to be so wired so much of the time it really helps me reflect on not being wired and refocus on my inner core while working and playing with these kids and seeing them grow. By being there for my own peace of mind while helping to promote a fun-friendly environment that offers reflection for all of us, I come back truly renewed with a sense of fulfillment. We all need to take time away from the wired world periodically.
What do you do for fun?
I truly love my wife, our family, our friends and our neighbors locally and around the world. I enjoy spending time with family and friends: going for walks, riding bikes, participating in sports, and sharing in the joys and blessings that each day offers. If you live every day as if today is your last day, someday you will be right. It truly is fun to give back with our time, ourselves and our possessions. You can’t take it with you.
How do you stay productive throughout your day?
I am an early-to-bed-early-to-rise kind of guy. I am up at 4:15 am. I begin each day with stretches, yoga and exercise. Following breakfast and a devotional reading, I am ready for a shower and ready to begin work by 6 am. With my variety of clients, speaking engagements and writing, my days move swiftly. I take frequent breaks and eat nuts, fruit and veggies periodically typically knocking off around 4:30 pm and spending time with my wife over dinner and a walk before moving onto other activities.
What is “required reading” or “required viewing” for people who want to understand what makes you tick?
- The Servant Manager: 203 tips from the best places to work in America by Michael A. Gregory (2013)
- The Brain-Friendly Workplace by Erika Garms (2014)
- Peaceful Resolutions by Michael Gregory (coming later in 2014)
Where in the world are you?