Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Elizabeth Havlicek. We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
Elizabeth , appreciate you joining us today. Before we get into specifics, let’s talk about success more generally. What do you think it takes to be successful?
I think it takes faith, balance and a sense of worthiness (coupled with self-confidence) to be successful. You have to fully believe that you can do whatever you set out to do, and that you deserve to be successful. You have to quiet the inner voices of self-doubt when things don’t go quite as planned (and do they ever go quite as planned?).
You also need to surround yourself with a great team of people who can fill in the gaps of skills you might be missing, whether those people are sub-contractors or direct employees, you need to understand that it is very hard to grow or scale if you are trying to go it alone.
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your back background and context?
Food has always been one of my “love languages”. I believe that really great food brings people together and are a common bond (we all eat after all). I also believe that, when it comes to food, if you are going to treat yourself, then have something really amazing that is more of an “experience”.
I was inspired to focus on popcorn when I realized Americans consume 17 billion quarts of popcorn per year. Many flavored popcorns contain an incredible amount of corn syrup, artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. I wanted to do it better.
We make our popcorns (and nut brittle) with golden cane syrup (never corn syrup), which is less processed. We flavor our popcorns with pure, natural ingredients with unique flavors (we used dehydrated lemon juice to flavor our Tangy Sunshine Lemon, real maple sugar in our French Toast, natural cheddar powder in our Ancho & Cheddar flavor, etc.) I will never use ingredients that I wouldn’t be proud to serve to my friends and family.
I am also committed to utilizing “differently gifted” labor. I want to create an environment where people with developmental disabilities can feel valued and appreciated, while producing something that is FUN!
Giving back to the community is also important to me and from the moment the company was launched, we adopted a foster care facility. Every month, we put together gift bags for every child in residence who has a birthday that month. We also support events such as movie nights and Holiday celebrations. We love knowing that we can provide a moment of happiness for children who may often feel forgotten.
Are there any books, videos, essays or other resources that have significantly impacted your management and entrepreneurial thinking and philosophy?
Simon Sinek has had a profound impact on me. Even in the corporate world, I always had a unique management style. My parents taught me early on that everyone has value and should be treated with dignity and respect. I always felt like an ‘outsider’ in corporate America. I would bake cookies for my teams (even teams of hundreds of people). I would try to learn about every employee. I would stop and celebrate every victory I could find so that people would go home and feel a sense of accomplishment. I try to find ways to bring out the best in people and make them feel like they could accomplish great things. I always tried to make people feel like they were part of a family, or something greater than themselves.
In Simon Sinek’s work, I realized it wasn’t a “crazy” management style. His books, especially, “Leaders Eat Last”, taught me some new skills and also reinforced for me that doing everything you can to make people feel good about coming to work was not weak or silly. It’s actually smart business, because people who feel valued will go above and beyond and feel good about doing it.
How do you keep your team’s morale high?
I believe the most important part of managing a team starts with making the right hiring decisions. I would much rather have an empty seat than have the wrong person in the seat. I believe that you should actively allow team members to evaluate new hires in the interview process. When multiple people get to participate, it fosters a sense of “ownership” with the other team members. When you have multiple people involved in the hiring process, they all have a stake in ensuring the new person is successful.
I also believe that gratitude is a key component to maintaining high morale. Even though you are paying someone to do a job, demonstrating gratitude for the things they are doing right helps to support their sense of self-worth and encourages them to continue to strive for high performance. It’s too easy to always be pointing out what people do wrong. I believe you have to praise more than you criticize. Also, helping everyone to understand the impact each of their jobs have on each other’s work also helps to foster a sense of community within the team.
- Website: https://ooohsogood.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ooohsogoodllc/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ooohsogoodllc
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/elizabethhavlicek/
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c00GAxGRY5A&t=10s
Michael Rischer Photography