Do You Have 'Oozers' and 'Drainers' in Your Network?
I’ve been fortunate to have had great mentors and business owners/partners throughout my career. Consistently, they placed a high degree of importance on culture and are what I call 'oozers' (more on that later).
In each leadership role I’ve held, including my current role at Alliance Franchise Brands, I begin by focusing on finding the team members who represent the kind of value and energy that will make the organization successful.
One of the best articles that I’ve read to help me with this process was an article titled “What Creates Energy in Organizations?” from a 2004 issue of the MIT Sloan Management Review.
The article shares that all companies have formal and informal 'networks' of people. Within those networks are people who are either 'energizers' or 'de-energizers.' I choose to call them 'oozers' and 'drainers.'
The article also says that “people are energized by interactions in which a compelling vision is created.” It goes on to say 'energizers' (oozers) see realistic possibilities; 'de-energizers' (drainers) see roadblocks at every turn.
My definition of an “oozer” is someone who exudes, or oozes, the values (Are yours defined?) of the organization. They believe in the vision (Is yours clear?) and will often act as a compass when actions don’t measure up to the values and vision of the organization.
Oozers have a bit of contagiousness to them; not as a Charlie Cheerleader but by the steady way they approach their work and their colleagues. They are the types of people you want as mentors for your new team members.
So it’s time for a gut check.
Are you an oozer whom the team admires? And who are the oozers you can count on?
“Drainers” are contagious as well. They can drain the positive energy from the oozers. They don’t buy into the values or vision of your organization and are unlikely to put in the extra effort that important initiatives require. They will take a molehill and make it into a mountain. They view the world through the lens of “This isn’t going to work.”
Time for another gut check.
Are you a drainer? Are there any on your team?
It’s challenging, but not impossible, to have all energizers/oozers on your team. And it is even more important to avoid the de-energizers/drainers.
Some drainers may change their energy contribution with constructive coaching sessions, but short of that, they will be happier somewhere else and your team will be happier, too.
I welcome any comments or practices that you may use to ensure that you and your organization stay on course. Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kevin Cushing leads the Allegra, American Speedy Printing, Insty-Prints, KKP, Speedy Printing and Zippy Prints brands as president of Alliance Franchise Brands' Marketing and Print Division.
Alliance Franchise Brands LLC, the parent company of Allegra Network LLC and Sign and Graphics Operations LLC, is a world leader in marketing, visual and graphics communications, linking more than 600 locations in North America and the United Kingdom. The Marketing and Print Division is headquartered in Plymouth, Michigan. Franchise owners in this division offer one-stop marketing and print communications services. Its Sign and Graphics Division, headquartered in Middle River, Maryland, includes Image360, Signs By Tomorrow and Signs Now brands of sign, graphics and visual communications providers.
Cushing has owned and operated award-winning franchise locations, was inducted into Epicomm's Soderstrom Society, and was named Print CEO of the Year in 2011 when he served as CEO of AlphaGraphics Inc.