Southern Hospitality: Neighbors

A theme this year for me is bringing southern hospitality to your workplace and to your home.

Southern hospitality is a phrase used in American English to describe the stereotype of residents of the Southern United States as particularly warm, sweet, and welcoming to visitors to their homes, or to the South in general.

Mr. Style and I moved last year into a new neighborhood that truly embraces the sense of Southern Hospitality, but does it in a new tech friendly way.  Here is how we do it and you can, too.

  • Welcoming New Neighbors: We all join the website Nextdoor, which allows us to communicate Facebook style with our neighbors. We welcome each new neighbor as they join.  It allows those of us that work to be part of the greeting committee without having to bake anything.  The site lets you know where they live and we post recent family pictures so when I see them while walking, I know who they are.
  • Social Gatherings: We do have a social committee, which I sit on. But we are super low-key.  We plan a few events each year that are actually low key.  We always ask for feedback on Nextdoor – we publicize on Nextdoor, and because we include all in the final decisions – we always have enough help.  For example, our Christmas event was a cookie swap with family photos with Santa (we have a photographer in the neighborhood) and sugar cookie decorating for the kids.  Neighbors helped set up and cleaned up and local teenagers that wanted service hours took care of the kids decorating cookies.
  • Informal Social Gatherings: Because we have created this sense of welcoming, we do things together. For example, we wanted to make two flavors of homemade ice cream last summer.  We put it out on Nextdoor (because we didn’t want to eat that much ice cream) and our backyard and deck turned into the 8 flavor samplings with 30+ neighbors that happened to be home.
  • Start Small: Create a small group of 3 or 4 couples and have 1 couple agree to babysit so the others can go out and the next month swap.  Or hire a sitter to entertain the kids in another part of the house while the adults have a grown up dinner.

Welcome your neighbors, even if they didn’t welcome you.  It is so nice to be able to go home and have your neighbors smile and wave.  Life is too short to not like the people who live nextdoor.

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Creating a Culture of Service Through Southern Manners Part 1

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

There is a lot of debate over Southern manners and the “realness” of them.  However, for this site and my personal definition … Southern manners are the Golden Rule at it’s best.  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  By doing this, people will remember you and/or your organization with a true spirit of Southern hospitality.  This is Step 1 in my Southern manners series.

How do you instill this in your team? By starting with how your team treats each other.  Each company I work with, I gather a group of employees across the organization and we create Good Team Member rules.  When they are finished we send them out to every employee to be signed and dated for their personnel file.  These rules become part of the Performance Improvement Process.  By creating a culture of respect for each other and ownership of opportunities, we transform our organization into a culture of service.

Examples of Good Team Member Rules:

  • Demonstrate integrity, professionalism, and courtesy in their interactions
  • Respect each other’s time, space, and opinion
  • Encourage new and existing team members
  • Erase departmental/positional boundaries
  • Have a “willing to help” attitude.
  • Take ownership of identified opportunities
  • Share information and ideas
  • Give and receive constructive feedback
  • Leave their personal problems at home
  • Are positive and avoid the negative
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