Country Music Star Influences Global CEO

A country music superstar influences a global CEO to power through pandemic pressures. The relationship offers lessons for everyone during COVID-19. The following is adapted from a news release published on Feb. 2, 2021. 

“After inviting country music superstar Collin Raye to perform at our company’s annual convention, I was invited by Collin himself to perform with his band on tour,” said Kevin Guest, author, musician, and CEO of USANA Health Sciences. “Collin said he saw my passion for music and wanted me to tour with his band part-time. I was astonished, thrilled, and terrified all at once.”

USANA’s full-time chairman and CEO was reminded of three aspects that can help today’s workers through the global pandemic:

  1. Passion
  2. Hard work
  3. Performing

A Passion for Music

“I had a passion for music from an early age,” Guest said. “My dream as a kid was to become a rock star, to play music for adoring fans, maybe even to be heard on the radio. Creating, composing, and performing music was my passion.

On stage at the 13th Annual HealthCorps Gala in New York on April 16, 2019.

Kevin Guest performs with Collin Raye at the 13th Annual HealthCorps Gala in New York on April 16, 2019.

“I daydreamed for hours, imagining myself on stage in front of tens of thousands of screaming admirers who loved my music. That dream was a driving force in my life, so performing with Collin Raye was a dream come true.”

Guest writes in his bestselling book, All the Right Reasons: 12 Timeless Principles for Living a Life in Harmony, that his parents loved music so much his dad bought a piano before buying a car and rode a bike to work with Guest’s mom on the back of the bike on trips to the store.

The indelible lesson on Guest was “when you really want something, make it happen,” which Guests dubs “The Piano Principle” in his book.

“I really wanted to make this happen, so I worked my heart out to be flawless. It was Collin’s career and product I was presenting on stage,” he said. “I spent hours learning the music and honing my skills. Although I love to play music, that was hard work. And I honestly wondered if I had bitten off more than I could chew.

“So, instead of relaxing after working a full day at USANA, I learned how to play every one of Collin Raye’s songs.”

Get On Stage & Perform

Guest writes, according to psychology professor Angela Duckworth, extraordinary success is a combination of passion, perseverance, and grit, which she says is far more important to achievement than natural talent and is a better predictor of success than virtually any other quality or measurement.

“The next step is to perform. To get on stage and take your best shot. Whether that be to your boss, your team, or to larger audiences,” Guest said. “That act alone makes the preparation real and helps a person improve. Working with Collin Raye has allowed me to play with and meet some of the finest musicians on the planet in some of the most famous settings in the music world.

“I’ve performed with Collin when we shared the stage with Brooks and Dunn, Keith UrbanDiamond Rio, and many others, even playing at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry more than once, something that would’ve never happened had I not taken these steps.”

Pursue Your Own Passion

With the pandemic influencing work and personal lives for months ahead, Guest recommends:

  1. Pursuing your passion
  2. Working hard to improve your skills
  3. Performing in front of others for accountability

“When you combine those three steps, you’ll find your work not only becomes more enjoyable, but you get better at doing the things you’re passionate about,” he said. “In these times, that may be the best way to find harmony and balance in a less-than-normal daily schedule.”

All the Right Reasons: 12 Timeless Principles for Living a Life in Harmony is available on Amazon. All proceeds benefit The USANA Foundation and its mission to feed hungry children. Each book purchase provides 40 meals.

Recognize and Celebrate Successes

It’s remarkable what a difference a simple thank you can make. That thought came to my mind as I prepared today’s blog post. It’s the latest in our Engagement Series, and it highlights how important it is to recognize and celebrate successes.

Jeannie Price, USANA’s executive vice president of sales

Jeannie Price, USANA’s executive vice president of sales for the Americas, Europe, and Australia-New Zealand, recently gave USANA employees some ideas to help celebrate each other. It’s always an important thing to do, but even more so now that so many of us are working remotely.

“While we cannot control the ongoing progression of the pandemic,” she says, “we can hold fast to our company values of health, excellence, integrity, and community, as we navigate through our new normal.”

Price explains, and I wholeheartedly agree, that building on our values and culture is more important than ever.

“While the road to normalcy is unknown, it is important for people to know what is important here and now,” she says. “Recognizing people for their commitment to challenging circumstances gives employees a sense of what is important.”

6 Ways to Celebrate Employees

Here are six ways Price identified to recognize and celebrate employees in a remote workforce.

1. Celebrate anniversaries and birthdays

While in-person office celebrations have been temporarily suspended, we still have opportunities to create special, memorable experiences. Send an employee lunch, or mail a gift card to his/her home. Taking the time to send a personal note can be extra special. Organize a virtual happy hour and invite the guest of honor’s spouse and/or family to the event. This helps build a stronger connection with the employee and their family and the work team.

2. Recognize small milestone successes

In other words, don’t wait until a big project is completed to offer praise and congratulations. Set milestone markers and recognize an individual’s or a team’s efforts along the way. And then, once the project is finished, be sure to celebrate the achievement.

3. Show appreciation for the right behaviors

Do you have employees who are especially responsive, even when working remotely? Write them a personalized message that details how appreciative you are of their ability to remain attentive from their new home office. This will reinforce the value of communication throughout your remote team and motivate employees to continue building these behaviors.

4. Celebrate small acts of kindness

Paying it forward is such an important part of our culture. And right now, there are ample opportunities to help others. Many employees are doing small acts of kindness every day that we simply are unaware of. Everyone can search out opportunities to highlight these acts of kindness. We can showcase them not only as an opportunity to recognize but more importantly, to inspire others to do similar activities. It helps to foster emotional connections among team members.

5. Allow for peer to peer recognition

Being recognized by a peer can be very rewarding. Do your part to congratulate colleagues on their successes.

6. Tell the story

To maximize recognition, it’s important to tell the story and shout it from the rooftops. Deliver your recognition in a social setting, including special virtual meetings/calls. That way, peers get the opportunity to add on to the praise and make the appreciation even more special.

“Whatever your style of recognition, celebrate achievements,” Price says. “It will go a long way in fostering relationships and keeping us connected.”

To view additional articles in this series, please click here.

Your Time is Valuable: Insights on Time Management

A new year, for many, means new resolutions (or old ones revisited). For me, time is of the essence. In fact, in a recent video interview, I mentioned that being present is critical to success. Take time to enjoy the beauty of life and count your blessings with an attitude of gratitude.

Be present with a grateful heart and I think we’ll have the best year we’ve ever had.

USANA President Jim Brown

USANA President Jim Brown wrote an article late last year about this notion of time. In it, he offered several insights on time management and creating an optimal work/life balance.

As I’ve done with previous articles in this “engagement series,” I wanted to share some of Jim’s thoughts with you here.

“Working from home is the new norm for hundreds of employees at USANA,” Brown says. “We’re also connected 24-7. Our work/life balance is more challenging than ever, and I worry your days don’t stop.”

Brown recognizes that companies need to have tools in place to make sure employees are balancing workloads. Without them, it can be easy to slip into 10- or 11-hour workdays — especially when working from home. A set system or schedule can help you manage your time and stay productive.

Below are several excellent time-management tips, courtesy of Jim Brown.

Plan Your Productivity

I use Outlook. The calendar and reminders keep my day on track. And I set alarms on my phone, so I never miss a meeting. I also schedule downtime, time for me to just sit back and read a book, to learn and grow.

A simple pad and pen work for me, too. I keep my daily action items on it and take them into my meetings so that I can write notes. I put an “AI” next to action items. If I don’t keep track of them, I’ll forget to do them. The list sits on my desk.

My administrative assistant, Irene Howell, also helps me organize my events. She has access to my email and can add items to my calendar. She’s always looking ahead for me. It’s nice to have that extra help. She does a lot to help USANA move forward.

Fine Line Between Work and Life

I’ll look at my phone before bed to check if anything has popped up. But even if it’s urgent, I take care of the issue the next day.

Working from home, you get to decide if you’ll take a break or run an errand. Your inner voice may make you feel guilty for going to the bank or hardware store. But if you’re good at time management, and you’re knocking action items off your list (whatever that may look like), you shouldn’t feel guilty for taking time for yourself.

Sit down and look at your time. Make that work/life balance happen.

Time Management

It’s Your Time

Some companies have implemented companywide initiatives to block out hours when employees can’t schedule meetings.

We don’t have any such plans. USANA shouldn’t be blocking out hours, you should. And this goes back to time management. Develop your own schedule. Say you need to pick up the kids from school or help them with homework — that’s your downtime. I don’t want you to lose that because the company has scheduled hours for everyone to follow.

Yes, we all have big days that require long hours, but this shouldn’t be the norm. Our normal is a very stable work week where we effectively give to the company because USANA gives back to us.

Good Timing

Time management takes extra effort and attention to detail. It also goes beyond calendars and to-do lists. Here are a few suggestions to help you make the most of your day.

1. Look Ahead

For some people, it’s helpful to always look a day ahead. I keep an eye on my whole week. Managing your calendar in advance gives you the flexibility to modify your schedule for both your business and personal needs.

2. Take Time to Reset

Free time is important. I’m trying to exercise a little bit more now, so that helps me. At night, my son and I play video games together. It’s a great way to spend time with him. I also just love gaming. Call of Duty or Madden is my way to take my mind off work.

3. Procrastination

Everyone procrastinates on some level. Though it’s not something I have much of an issue with. I have a lot of other things to work on, like my impatience.

Procrastination usually happens if a task doesn’t excite you or is something you don’t want to do. But the longer you wait, the worse it gets. It’s better to tackle these things head-on.

And if you have control over your time, you can afford a little procrastination.

4. Say No

I honestly don’t think any of us are good at saying “no.” When something lands on your desk or you’re asked to take on a task, look at your priorities. If you don’t have the time and it’s reasonable to do so, say no.

5. Delegate

Delegating is a great way to get stuff done. It’s a chance to help others learn something new and inspire them. The higher your position, the more important it is to delegate. If you’re building a team, they need to be prepared to move up as well.

Delegation is a tool for growth. Look at it as a teaching tool. If you’re just using it because you don’t want to do stuff, (and I don’t think we have employees like that) then you are not using it right.

6. Set Your Phone Aside

I never actually shut my phone down. But when I finish work, or when I come home, I’ll set it down to take a break from the texts. I typically put it away so that I can spend one-on-one time with my wife and son, too. That way, I can give them my undivided attention.

I’m not always perfect. If that phone vibrates, I’ll pick it up and look at it just to make sure everything’s OK. But sometimes putting it to the side is all you need.

7. Take Vacation

I struggle to use my vacation hours. Sometimes I take a Friday off or go to Lake Powell for a week. But most of my vacations are extensions of my weekends.

Vacations help us wind down and take a mental break from work. I understand vacations look different right now, but it’s important to take time for yourself.

The Value of Time

In the end, the one thing we’ll regret most is the time we didn’t spend with our loved ones.

With good time management, you’ll spend less time working and still get just as much done. Schedules make you feel prepared and productive. And they can help you enjoy work — and life.

To view additional articles in this series, please click here.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Kevin Guest: 3 Keys to a Fresh Start in 2021

I’d like to share the following article that went out to news organizations in late 2020.

Getting a Fresh Start in 2021

Making a fresh start toward success in 2021 requires three key decisions to forge forward no matter the past. The following strategies are based on principles in All the Right Reasons, a bestselling book by Kevin Guest.

“Few people dispute that 2020 has been one of the most difficult years in history,” Guest said. “But 2021 can become one of the best, especially when we apply solid principles that can move us forward.”

First Key: Learn From the Past

The Butch O'Hare Principle - Butch O'Hare - All the Right Reasons“The first principle is to learn from the past and move forward,” said Guest, who’s also chairman and CEO of USANA Health Sciences. “It’s something I was inspired to do from the life of World War II fighter pilot Butch O’Hare.”

O’Hare became the Navy’s first Ace of WWII and the first Naval aviator to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Guest wrote in his bestselling book, All the Right Reasons: 12 Timeless Principles for Living a Life in Harmony.

“Butch O’Hare, for whom the Chicago O’Hare Airport is named, was the son of Easy Eddie, the famed attorney for Al Capone in the 1920s and ’30s, who was notorious for racketeering, bootlegged alcohol, gambling rings and prostitution in the Windy City,” Guest wrote.

“But Easy Eddie wanted a better life for his son, and his son, Butch, looked to the future instead of dwelling on the past and made contributions that saved countless American lives in the war. Believing in fresh starts is the key, and there is no better time for us all to do that than Jan. 1, 2021.”

Second Key: Help Others Who Are in Need

The second principle is to help others who are in need.

“Losing yourself in the service of others is therapeutic beyond measure,” Guest said. “That’s something that will bring untold benefits because it helps the giver and the receiver, who may be a coworker, friend, or even a stranger. The rewards of simple acts of service are immeasurable and something we need as we enter a new year and detach from the pandemic.”

Third Key: Never Give Up

Guest’s third principle comes from his grandfather, who taught his grandson confidence, courage, and commitment.

Kevin Guest Speaking“My grandpa was a strong influence in my life in Montana,” Guest said. “He loved to make things happen, not only in business but in life. He was full of enthusiasm and optimism, a real dealmaker.

“His favorite mottos were on a plaque on his desk: ‘You Gotta Fake It Till You Make It’ and ‘Go, Baby, Go.’ Those sayings have stuck with me and taught me that you have to give it your all for as long as you can. You have to be committed and see things through to the end. That’s when the magic happens.”

Leading a billion-dollar company in 24 markets worldwide, Guest applies the principles globally and expects to see a 2021 work environment bring successes for all who apply lessons from the pandemic, help lift others higher and energize their talents to make a difference for the better.

“Persistently implementing these patterns into our personal work habits can carry us to higher levels of personal success — especially as we enter a new year of opportunities like no other time in our lives,” he said.

All the Right Reasons: 12 Timeless Principles for Living a Life in Harmony, written by Kevin Guest, is available on Amazon. All proceeds benefit The USANA Foundation, which works to feed hungry children. Each book purchase provides 40 meals. A version of the above article was distributed as a news release on Dec. 29, 2020.

4 Ways to Stay Healthy at Home

Health is much more than simply how we feel physically. Paul Jones, USANA’s chief leadership development officer, recognizes this and recently he shared with our employees four ways to stay healthy at home.

USANA President Jim Brown speaking about the importance of health.

USANA President Jim Brown speaking about the importance of health.

“How grateful I am to work for a company that lists health as a core value,” he says. “Its very vision is to create the ‘Healthiest Family on Earth’ no matter where we are — working in the office or at home.”

Though physical health is incredibly important, so too is our mental, emotional, and spiritual health.

“They are very much intertwined and if one aspect of health is struggling, it impacts the others,” Jones says.

With that, Jones outlines four areas of our life we can focus on to improve our overall well-being. It’s the latest in a series of posts from USANA’s management team.

Tips to Stay Healthy at Home

1. Nutrition

For many, it seems one of the more frustrating effects of COVID-19 is the 19 pounds we have gained from staying in and eating less than stellar foods. I have three challenges for us all:

  • First, evaluate the snack selections available in our remote worksite pantries and eliminate the greatest temptations. Snack less in between meals. And when you do snack, choose healthy options.
  • Second, drink more water throughout the day. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is about 15.5 cups (3.3 liters) of fluids for men and 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) a day for women.
  • Third, take CellSentials.

The Challenge: Choose healthy snacks, drink more water, and take your vitamins.

2: Exercise

Studies show the importance of exercise. However, one of the great benefits of regular exercise is better mental health. A comparison of 1.2 million people who do 45 minutes of exercise 3 to 5 days a week have 1.5 fewer days of poor mental health each month.

The exercise does not necessarily have to be in a gym (if they’re open). Shoveling snow, raking leaves, vigorous house cleaning, and many other regular, daily activities also count.

The Challenge: Let’s get up and move!

3: Sleep

Too many of us are sleep deprived. The recommended guideline for a good night’s sleep is at least seven hours. Yet, one in three adults doesn’t meet this standard, according to Nancy Sin, assistant professor at the University of British Columbia.

“A large body of research has shown that inadequate sleep increases the risk for mental disorders, chronic health conditions, and premature death,” Sin says. “All elements of our health are negatively affected when we don’t get adequate sleep.”

The Challenge: Turn off the electronics and go to sleep.

4: Gratitude

This is Jones’ secret to a healthy life. He explains that Nationwide Children’s Hospital has shown the following health benefits from living with gratitude:

  • Improved mood
  • Increased optimism
  • Improved social bonds
  • Improved physical health

And he challenges us to pick one — or more — of the following actions:

  1. Start your day by writing down one thing that went well the previous day and why it went well.
  2. When you find yourself feeling upset or frustrated, hit the pause button and reset your thinking. Come up with something positive about the situation or think about something else entirely that you are thankful for.
  3. Go around the dinner table and have each person state something they are thankful for. Even more, identify something specific to that day that they are thankful for.
  4. Share your gratitude with others by writing a note to someone for whom you are grateful.

To view additional articles in this series, please click here.

Make the ‘Season of Giving’ a Year-Round Effort

We’re in the midst of what many consider to be the Season of Giving. The holidays are a time for giving back to our communities and giving thanks for the many blessings in our lives.

Yes, we’re embarking on a special time. And though I encourage each of us to focus on giving during this holiday season, I believe it’s important that we think about how we can give back, no matter the time of year.

It’s the overall Spirit of Giving, a notion that’s not tied to a calendar, that helps to make a difference in the lives of so many.

Volunteering Weekly

USANA Kids Eat volunteers. Photo credit: The USANA Foundation

This time last year, we were putting the finishing touches on opening the new USANA Kids Eat food-packing facility in Salt Lake City. In just a few months, we’ve watched the program become an integral part of our community.

USANA Kids Eat, an initiative of The USANA Foundation, couldn’t do what it does without a dedicated staff and teams of volunteers. Several individuals volunteer weekly throughout the year. They fill backpacks with food and deliver them to schools to ensure students aren’t going hungry on weekends.

In October, The USANA Foundation blog highlighted a half-dozen of the volunteers who are committed to giving back year-round. I’ve known many of the USANA Kids Eat volunteers personally for years as members of the USANA Family. I’d like to offer my heartfelt thanks for the countless hours of service.

Miles for Meals

As I mentioned in my October e-newsletter, a group of four USANA employees had organized Miles for Meals. The 12-hour bike ride on Oct. 29 aimed to provide 12,600 meals for hungry kids. Thank you to everyone who contributed, and here’s an update on the adventure. Spoiler: The campaign raised more than 20,000 meals!

Giving Back

As we celebrate the Season of Giving, I’d like to encourage you to look within your community and identify opportunities to give. It’s so important to have in our hearts a Spirit of Giving. I believe it enriches our lives as well as the lives of others.

Thank you for doing all you do to help make the world a better place. We all have the power to help others, to give back, and to do good in this world all year long.

May your holiday season be filled with happiness.

P.S. Here’s a recent news clip featuring USANA Kids Eat.

A version of this article went to email subscribers on Nov. 24, 2020. I invite you to subscribe here.

Bass Frontiers TV Interview with Kevin Guest

Kevin Guest, a lifelong musician, best-selling author, and Chairman and CEO of USANA Health Sciences, visited with Bass Frontiers TV to talk about two of his favorite things — music and USANA. The interview — From Bassist to Boss — launched Bass Frontiers’ new YouTube channel on Dec. 8, 2020.

🎶 🎶 🎶

“As long as I knew my core values, I could stay in harmony with myself.”

All the Right Reasons Book CoverLearn more about living a life in harmony. All the Right Reasons: 12 Timeless Principles for Living a Life in Harmony is available on Amazon. All proceeds benefit the USANA Foundation and its mission to feed hungry children. Each book purchase helps to provide 40 meals.

Have Fun and Stay Connected While Working From Home

For many of us, working from home is our new daily routine. And, if you’re like me, it’s definitely a different experience. Fortunately, I’m still surrounded — albeit, mostly virtually — by talented colleagues and friends.

Dan Macuga, USANA chief communications and marketing officer

Dan Macuga, USANA chief communications and marketing officer

Recently, Dan Macuga, USANA’s chief communications and marketing officer, explained to USANA employees how he’s staying connected and having fun while working from home.

As I’ve done previously, I’d like to share with you key points from his article in hopes that you can implement the strategies in your own life.

Get to Know Your Peers

Being happy, Macuga says, is critical to staying connected and having fun. It’s something he’s learned in his 14 years at USANA.

“USANA has to be experienced,” says Macuga, a self-described people person. “I consider myself very fortunate to be here at USANA and with each day that feeling strengthens — even with tough days like you and I have every once in a while.”

Daily interactions with employees allow for the opportunity to learn about new ideas, among other things. And those interactions shouldn’t vanish simply because we’re not all working in the same building.

“Basically, if you listen to people around you, and you are truly interested in their opinions and feedback, you gain insight into the business you would never know otherwise,” he explains.

In other words, if you listen you will learn. Plus, you’ll be able to offer your own perspective on an idea or an initiative. This is how innovation starts — it’s a groundswell of ideas that culminate in change.

In the process, learning and interacting can be fun. It will help you build relationships and set a foundation for future collaboration opportunities.

“We are people first, employees second. Learning about people, their families, and their hobbies is not only fun, it’s truly engaging to hear what other people are up to. Perhaps you will even find similar likes that bring your friendship to a new level.”

— Dan Macuga, USANA Chief Communications & Marketing Officer

Make Sure You’re Having Fun

Our new work environment can feel isolating at times. It gives me even more appreciation for our USANA Associates and what they accomplish. But no matter where we work, it’s important that we stay connected with our colleagues.

Macuga tackles it in two parts: Disconnect and Connect.

“Stress can impact your health, your personal life, your work life, basically everything,” he says. “So, my advice is this, when you feel pressure, find an outlet to just disconnect and let go. Find a way to take a break, step away, let your mind roam, do something you enjoy, just get away for a bit.”

It could be a walk around the block, a 15-minute meditation, or reading a chapter or two in a book. Essentially, find an activity that lets you stop, forget, and get your mind back into a good spot.

For Macuga, his go-to activity to decompress is slightly unusual.

“I mow my lawn!” he says. “Seriously, I go out back, fire up the mower, and work on getting the lines in my lawn perfectly straight.”

When you’re ready to go back and connect, consider doing so in a way that involves some sort of teambuilding. Departments at USANA hold smaller Zoom meetings regularly. Others conduct virtual lunches or get together to play board games or meet to discuss a book, movie, or TV show.

The bottom line: Find ways to stay connected with your co-workers.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Listen and Learn

I’ve said it before, but the USANA culture is special. And that culture doesn’t disappear just because we’re working from home.

“I have worked for a number of large global companies here in the U.S. and I can assure you that not one of them has the unique culture that has been created and maintained at USANA,” Macuga says. “To keep that culture alive and well in these unique times, we need to stay focused on our personal health and stay connected with those around us.”

Remember:

  • Find a way to disconnect in times of stress. Look for opportunities to get away even for just a few minutes to let your mind go and reset yourself.
  • Find ways to stay connected. Get to know your fellow employees better on a personal level and find ways to spend time together doing something fun.

And finally, Macuga believes the more you listen, the more you learn.

“Take the time to get to know people around you, hear their ideas, and listen to their concerns,” he says.

It will give you insight into making your work environment even better than it already is.

To view additional articles in this series, please click here.

Kevin Guest Shares Tips to Increase Value in Post-Pandemic Job Market

Below are some thoughts on what bosses and employees can do now to increase their value in a post-pandemic job market. A version of this article originally appeared as part of a news release.

“I learned long ago that treating others with the utmost respect and kindness is a key to success and makes life more harmonious for everyone.”

— Kevin Guest

All the Right Reasons Book CoverWith coronavirus vaccinations imminent, many U.S. workers suffering from pandemic anxiety want to better secure their employment when the pandemic ends. However, studies show job security and financial concerns are the significant predictors associated with anxiety and depression.

To confront anxiety, answers lie in what bosses and employees can do now.

Bosses have a profound effect on the morale and calm environment for employees. Recent studies show a boss’ servant leadership style makes it easier for employees to deal with anxiety related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Research published in the Journal of Applied Psychology concluded employees work better if bosses acknowledge employees’ emotional suffering, work to empower employees, and emphasize serving in the community.

3 Tips Post-Pandemic

Here are three things I believe workers — and bosses — can do now for a better post-pandemic future:

  1. Build on the power of relationships
  2. Prepare now to improve valuable skills
  3. Never give up in striving to achieve your goal

No. 1: Build on Relationships

Wherever I speak, people have said the Dorothy Principle I cite in my book, All the Right Reasons, has made an instant impact on their lives because it illustrates that knowing others’ names, such as a cleaning lady named Dorothy, can lift self-esteem. I learned long ago that treating others with the utmost respect and kindness is a key to success and makes life more harmonious for everyone.

No. 2: Improve Valuable Skills

Improving work skills is perhaps never more important than now. Many years ago, Styx’s Tommy Shaw inspired me, who sang and played guitar anywhere he could — even in bowling alleys and nightclubs.

When Tommy Shaw was playing in an Alabama bowling alley bar, the band Styx was frantically searching for a lead vocalist. Someone influential with Styx had heard Tommy sing in Chicago and thought he might be a good fit. They listened to his demo tape and were impressed with his vocal range. They changed Tommy’s life forever when they invited him to join Styx, a global powerhouse in the music world.

What if Tommy hadn’t been ready when Styx called? That level of preparation is what we all must do now to make ourselves more valuable to our employers and future employers.

No. 3: Never Give Up

A 22-year-old Rwandan woman hunted by killers illustrates my third recommendation.

After Rwanda’s genocide in 1994, Hutu fighters hunted Immaculee Ilibagiza, who fled for protection. However, even with killers outside her window calling her name, she stayed positive. Ultimately, she was rescued, traveled to Rwanda’s capital, and applied for a United Nations job for weeks with no luck.

Convincing herself she could master English, which would increase employment opportunities, Immaculee hand-drew a computer keyboard on cardboard and spent hours learning how to type. With determination to learn English, countless attempts to get the U.N. job, and positive self-talk, she was eventually hired.

It’s that level of persistence and positive self-talk that can carry us to higher ground. These traits can help us plow through any obstacle — even this pandemic. Not once did Immaculee tell herself she couldn’t do it, even though everything she learned was new and difficult.

These patterns of behavior can make us all better prepared to endure to the end of the current pandemic. They can also prepare ourselves for a solid future post-pandemic with higher levels of harmony.

All the Right Reasons: 12 Timeless Principles for Living a Life in Harmony is available on Amazon. All proceeds feed hungry children, with each book purchase providing 40 meals. A version of this article originally appeared as part of a news release.

Building a Foundation of Trust

When Doug Hekking, USANA’s Chief Financial Officer, writes about trust and integrity, we all should listen. Doug and I have worked closely together for many years, and I’m grateful for his leadership.

Recently, Doug offered several thoughts on these important topics in an article for USANA employees. I’d like to share key points from his article here in hopes that they might resonate with you.

The foundational building block of establishing trust with others is to, first and foremost, seek to become trustworthy yourself.

Doug Hekking, USANA Chief Financial Officer

Doug Hekking, USANA Chief Financial Officer

“Our expectation of others and our willingness to trust others is often a manifestation of how we view ourselves,” Hekking writes.

Certain characteristics and competencies are inherently linked to trust and integrity:

  • Honesty
  • Do what you say you’ll do
  • Humility
  • Speak up

If you embrace these character-building values, you are creating a solid base that will be apparent to both yourself and those around you.

Building Trust: What Are Your Intentions?

I’m humbled to share the following advice. It’s something Hekking says he learned from me following one of our interactions. Over the years, we’ve disagreed at times on certain issues. While our conversations sometimes became heated, they were never vitriolic.

“After one of these conversations, it was weighing on my mind how I spoke to Kevin,” Hekking writes. “I reached out to apologize for how I communicated and his response proved to be one of those learning moments in my life that has never left me.”

Thinking back, I remember explaining that I understood Hekking’s intentions were pure and his motivations were in the best interest of USANA. Therefore, I didn’t take offense and appreciated his passion.

Demonstrating positive intent/motivation provides a real opportunity to improve and enhance our communication with each other.

“We are in times where there is a great deal of change,” Hekking writes. “As you demonstrate your capabilities, follow through, and deliver results, you will fortify others’ belief and trust in you.”

The Basics of Trust

Hekking continues to highlight ways in which employees and managers within an organization can create trusting relationships. Besides being honest with yourself, you build trust through:

  • Honest, candid dialogue
  • Mutual respect
  • Transparency
  • Owning mistakes, learning, and moving on

Actions speak louder than words. There needs to be alignment between what we say and do.

At USANA, we do this well. When we make mistakes, we acknowledge them and set things right. Our actions show we advocate for our customers as key stakeholders.

You’ve heard me say it before, but I’m proud that we hold true to our core values.

Build a Safe Zone of Communication

Finally, communication is so important as we work to build and maintain trust. It’s critical that you welcome open and honest dialogue. To do this, listening is key.

Whether you’re an employee or a manager, create a safe environment to have open and honest dialogue.

“If someone is talking to you, be present and listen—really listen,” Hekking writes. “Don’t placate with hollow conversation.”

Interact in a transparent way. Welcome differences of opinion. And recognize employees are the experts at what they do.

As organizations grow, one person can’t be the expert in all things. Encourage an open dialogue where people are respectful, but they also feel free to disagree and offer a diverse perspective.

“In my experience, when the right employee is given responsibility and accountability, that person steps up and shines,” Hekking says. “Such growth encourages those of us in leadership roles to be confident to delegate and empower our teams. When employees take advantage of opportunities and deliver on them, they add to the building blocks of trust and confidence.”

Building trust takes practice and commitment. My sincere thanks to Doug Hekking for sharing such strong advice on this topic.

As he concludes, “Trust is a multidirectional, daily exercise, with responsibility on both sides. And it all starts with each of us.”

To view additional articles in this series, please click here.