“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  –Maya Angelou

Last week I was in a meeting with a client I hadn’t worked with in about four years.  In that time, as CEO of her organization within a larger global organization, she had doubled the company’s size.  I asked her how she got those types of results in such a short amount of time.  She felt that certain strategic initiatives, some operational efficiencies, and the most significant one, an MMFI rallying cry.
In fact, when this young female CEO mentioned MMFI on a global call, the enterprise CEO turned to his leadership team and said, “That is what the rest of our company is missing.”

What exactly is MMFI?  It essentially is the belief, that when you see anyone who touches your business you should envision them with an invisible sign that says, “MAKE ME FEEL IMPORTANT!” In a world full of big box stores and impersonal online businesses, it is more crucial now than ever in our business world.

The reason for this is simple: when people feel important, they are more likely to stay loyal to your company and continue supporting your mission. Whether it’s providing excellent customer service, developing innovative products, or being an active member of the community, making everyone feel important can create a strong foundation for your business that can lead to growth and success.

Tenets of MMFI
To really embed “make me feel important” in a culture it is essential that every single person in your organization prioritizes it as a commitment. This means that everyone from the top down is actively working to ensure that anyone who touches the business feels valued and appreciated including customers, employees, vendors/suppliers, or members of the community. It means being responsive to their needs, taking their feedback seriously, and always striving to exceed their expectations.

But how exactly can leaders make everyone feel important? Here are a few tips:

1. Listen Actively:  People want to feel heard and understood. Ensure you actively listen to your employees, customers, and vendors to understand their needs and concerns.

2. Show Appreciation:  Don’t just say thank you; show your appreciation in meaningful ways, whether it’s through bonuses, public recognition, or a simple thank you note.

3. Under Promise and Over Deliver:  Hold back on overselling and instead be both proactive and thorough when taking care of all your stakeholders.

4. Be Transparent: Honesty and transparency build trust, and when people trust you, they feel more important.

5. Foster a Sense of Community: When people feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves, they are more likely to feel important and valued.

I remember a trip I took to one of our most loyal client’s headquarters.  A new HR VP had been appointed and she was moving fast to make changes…including potentially heavily impacting our long-time relationship.  I flew in to meet with her and instead of taking a defensive stance, I listened to what she saw needed to be changed in their established programs. Then I spent about 2 hours offering very objective reflections and options…and it was from a very selfless perspective.  That was the turning point in our discussion because she then saw us as a partner that was there to take things off her desk instead of a line-item cost.  She got the depth of the partnership our two companies had and we got off to a great start.

What is a Rallying Cry?
So how can you get everyone in the company to buy into the MMFI framework?  Make it a Rallying Cry!  That means rallying around the single most important thing we can be doing, especially in moments of dramatic change (the story of our life in business the last few years!), does more than aid progress on a single objective — it sets a sequence of events in motion that will significantly impact your team and embed what you are driving in the culture.

The concept of having a rallying cry and defining objectives is a simple one, and therein lies its power. It provides us with a manageable list of relevant issues that we can get our hands and minds around over an extended period. And just as importantly, it gives us permission to ignore other issues that would otherwise compete for our attention.  Essentially it is the One Big Thing we are working on together!

In conclusion, making everyone feel important is essential to the success of your business. By making it your rallying cry and embedding a culture of MMFI, you can create a strong foundation for growth and success. So, as a leader, take the time to listen, show appreciation, be transparent, overdeliver, and foster a sense of community. By doing so, you will make everyone know how important they are to you and promote loyalty, respect, and inclusion.  Don’t we all want that?

Here is a great resource if you want to learn a little more about a rallying cry!