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Pride is the secret sauce that closes the generation gap

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A Jethro Tull enthusiast since the 1960s, I recently enjoyed the Martin Barre Band performance at the Miller Center for the Arts in Reading.

Before the performance, I had the pleasure of interviewing Barre, a Jethro Tull alumnus who has taken the stage with Ian Anderson and other remarkable artists for 43 years. The context and content of the interview was focused on business, leadership and culture and had little to do with music itself.

During the interview, Barre talked about how his love of writing and playing music for audiences quickly shifts his attention from the extraordinary number of hours and amount of hard work it takes to be in the business of being a band. The joy he and the band bring their audiences, who continue to acknowledge their appreciation with each round of applause, cheers and standing ovations, fuels the band's inspiration.

At 70 and rebranding his talent, when Barre steps onto the stage, the pride in his craft and for his fellow musicians is blatantly obvious by the outcome that's produced.

No owner or leader, regardless of the size of their enterprise, would dispute that running a business is hard work. But, when the reward can be shared with everyone who contributes to the effort of a positive outcome, the hard work is much more palatable, and the pride everyone feels becomes a strong motivator to repeat the performance or process.

What happens to Barre when he steps onto the stage to perform is really no different than when Justin Spannuth, sixth generation owner at Unique Pretzel Bakery, steps onto the production floor to thank his team for its contributions in receiving the “Snack Producer of the Year” award; or Albert Boscov, retail icon of his namesake stores, when he steps onto the bus to New York with his buying team; or Paige Seitz, guarding dog program-manager at the Namibia Cheetah Conservation Fund, when she steps onto a neighboring farm to help the farmer save the livestock from destructive cheetahs.

Pride carries the ball and allows the people to go the distance, regardless of their ages or avocation.

Think how influential the feeling of pride is to children when they've learned how to tie their shoelaces, ride a bicycle, earned a top grade on a test, learned to drive, graduated high school and gone on with their lives into adulthood.

Not only is the pride felt by the child, but its contagious nature transfers to parents, family, friends, teachers and anyone who is part of that child's life. In essence, pride is a common feeling that seems to connect generations, momentarily closing the gap.

After the concert, I mentioned to the band how much I liked its logo. A young man, the band's lead singer, stood up and proudly said, “Thank you. I designed it, and I am glad you like it.”

He went on to express how proud he was that he could contribute another facet of his talent toward the band's success.

Take a look around your business. When you engage, acknowledge and thank people specifically for the role they play in your business' success, you'll see the pride show up in more ways than just a smiling response.

Like the proverbial Thanksgiving dinner, for those of us who have painstakingly prepared this holiday meal for family and friends, we soon forget the length of time and many steps it takes to organize this special event. How soon we forget the pain, when everyone's bellies are full, and the conversations and stories are plentiful.

The Thanksgiving dinner concept in your workplace is no different than all of the hard work it takes to get each person and his or her teams to the “performance.” It doesn't matter if you are an 87-year old retail entrepreneur, 70-year-old world-class musician or 27-year-old wildlife advocate, the secret sauce is the pride and how well it communicates between the generations.

As Barre noted during the interview, “We love what we do, it's the cream on the cake. It's a lot of work and it is tiring being on the road and away from home, but the show brings out the energy. It's very magical.”

Whether you're across the Atlantic Ocean or down the street, let pride be the magic that bonds your generations of team members together. It will be a legacy worth growing.

Bonnie Sussman-Versace – business leader, entrepreneur and CEO at Focused LLC in Wyomissing – is dedicated to developing leaders, enhancing cultures and improving sustainable performance for individuals, teams and organizations. Learn more at www.focusedllc.net, and she can be reached at bversace@focusedllc.net or 610-301-2194.

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