Growth Beyond Work


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Part of Andesa’s vision statement is to create an environment which encourages and facilitates employees to develop and apply business skills to the fullest…. in order to achieve their full potential.  To live into our vision requires investment in training, whether that is time management, sales training, book club, countless hours of one-on-one technical skills development and reviews by experienced staff, coaching, mentoring new hires, leadership development, etc.

This past year, our leaders were introduced to a conflict management concept through the book Red Zone Blue Zone by James Osterhaus, Joseph Jurkowski and Todd Hahn.  This training provided us tools to raise self-awareness of our triggers and enable navigation of situations to achieve a healthy outcome.

Returning home from a recent management retreat, Brenda Shea, Andesa’s Quality Assurance Manager, was involved in a motor vehicle accident.  I’ll let her explain in her own words:

Had two great days at our retreat. I left energized and excited about our future. 

Then I drove home, sitting in stop and go traffic. Came to a stop and before I knew it the car behind me did not stop. I heard screeching of brakes and looked in my rearview mirror and thought, “he is going to hit me;” then the impact. I am NOT hurt. I looked back and saw the hood of the car that hit me all crinkled up and windshield smashed.  I was shaking and upset and taking a deep breath and thankful I was OK.  It was a two-lane road with no breakdown, so I tried to pull over a little and realized I could not because his car was stuck under my bumper.  After calling 911 and Tom (her husband) I got out of my Jeep and saw I had minimal damage and only to my bumper and a decorative light.

 I am very thankful that neither I nor the other driver was hurt. He was a young man, only 17. He came up to me and apologized and asked if I was all right. Sitting there while all the traffic drove around us I thought, what is wrong with people? Not one vehicle stopped to see if either of us was okay. NOT ONE. The damage to vehicle can be fixed, traffic will eventually move forward, but not ONE person cared if anyone was hurt. 

 It just made me think that we all should be thankful for everyday and everyone in our lives. It also makes me think, our society has become so uncaring of others, and all I can do is my part to hopefully change a little bit of that society.  If I was driving by or witnessed this had happened to anyone, I would have pulled over and asked if everyone was safe and fine.

I am thankful to the two firemen and police officer who helped push my car off the road. 

I am also thankful for all three police officers (yes, two more showed up) who stayed with me until Tom arrived; and, of course, I thankful for Tom for coming to get me. They were able to jump start my Jeep so I could at least get it home and not have to have it towed. The three that stayed with me were so helpful and funny.   Two of them asked the one that helped push my car why was he all sweaty.  He said he had to push my car with the two firemen.  Then the two replied, “we showed up at the right time.” They made me laugh and feel not so alone standing on the side of the road. 

Today I feel stiff and aching, but am extremely thankful.  I sat here and started to reflect.  There would have been a time, not so long ago, that I would have gotten out of my car, in a srious RED ZONE state of mind and starting yelling.  Probably would have used a few choice, unladylike words.  But I didn’t.  I just remained thankful.  I was totally in a BLUE ZONE.
First, I am relieved and grateful the Brenda is unharmed.

Second, her gratitude throughout the retelling of this story was admirable. I counted eight “thankfuls” which are often difficult to summon in the midst of a sudden, unplanned situation.

And as I reflected, I thought about much of what we teach as “business-skills” are often life skills.  Time management, customer service, conflict management, questioning strategies, systemic thinking, etc., are examples of skills which improve our work environment but also positively impact our life.  I am so pumped Brenda shared her story of personal growth – helps me to know that our company’s vision and purpose are alive and well.

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