“Love is the Best Business Model” interview

It’s been a while since this site has been updated; fortunately here’s an interview from April 2019: Aundre Specialé: Love is the Best Business Model.

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Compassion is a wise and effective managerial strategy, Stanford expert says

This article from the 

Compassion is a wise and effective managerial strategy, Stanford expert says

Stanford psychologist Emma Seppala says that promoting a culture of trust – rather than fear – encourages collaboration and builds a creative workplace.

ShutterstockWorking groupCompassionate managers end up with more loyal and productive workers, according to research by Emma Seppala, associate director of Stanford’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education.

Compassion is a better managerial approach than toughness in today’s workplace, writes a Stanford psychologist in a new article.

In fact, trying to make employees fearful and punish them for mistakes is typically counterproductive to the organization, says Emma Seppala, associate director of Stanford’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education. “The more compassionate response will get you more powerful results,” she wrote in aHarvard Business Review article.

The Stanford News Service recently interviewed Seppala on the topic:

How should a manager react when an employee is not performing well or makes a mistake?

The traditional response is a reprimand of some sort. After all, the employee’s behavior may very well reflect poorly on you as a manager or even the whole team. The idea behind the reprimand is that it will serve not only as a warning to the employee but to the rest of the team. Checks and balances help ensure that everyone stays on their toes.

However, despite its apparent logic, research is showing that this traditional punishment approach may end up doing more ill than good.

What is wrong with the traditional approach of reprimand? What does the research say?

The problem with this type of approach is that it increases stress levels which – when they are high – can disrupt the culture of an organization. Moreover, we know from brain-imaging research that, under chronic and high stress, the ability to think clearly and reason is compromised. If your employees are constantly operating from a place of fear, chances are that their productivity and decision-making will take a hit.

What’s more, their ability to be creative and to think innovatively will also diminish. Why? Because they will be less willing to take chances and go out on a limb, for fear of being punished. Given steep competition in the marketplace and the critical importance of innovation to keep up with competing businesses, managers should be particularly mindful to keep their organizational culture positive.

Moreover, considering that stress-related problems cost organizations in the U.S. workforce over $300 billion a year, managers everywhere should be working hard to keep stress levels low.

Finally, if you are hard on an employee or punish them in some way, chances are that you will damage the relationship with that employee. Their trust in you and loyalty toward you may very likely decrease. Research shows that employees are particularly sensitive to trust in their managers. Anger can significantly reduce that trust. Research also shows that when managers display anger, they may appear more powerful in the moment but their employees will actually come to view them as less effective.

What is a better alternative to punishment? 

When an employee has made a mistake, approach them from a place that is compassionate. Of course, a part of you may be upset, but adopting a compassionate response will actually get you and your employee better results. Here’s why:

Your employee will become loyal to you. We know from research that loyalty is not about the paycheck, it’s about the relationship the employee has with you. If you display admirable qualities that move the employee – for example, you display kindness rather than anger – chances are that employee will become more loyal to you and will, in turn, emulate your behavior.

A compassionate response will also build trust. Your employee will feel that, even when he is not performing, his manager will give him a chance to do better. You can even see the impact of a trustworthy manager at the level of an employee’s brain. A neuroimaging study showed that thinking about managers who have shown empathy activates brain areas that correspond to positive emotions. In turn, trusting employees end up performing better.

Research is showing that a happier workplace is a workplace with less turnover and where employees are more productive and take less sick days.

What types of bosses are employees more drawn to?

The data suggests that employees are drawn to managers that are kind and that they can trust. They also value a manager to whom they can look up to for his or her human qualities and values.

After all, employees spend a large portion of their life at work – it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they prefer to feel happy there. Given data from a Gallup survey showing that 70 percent of workers are currently disengaged at work – a fact that drastically affects worker productivity – it should be every managers’ prerogative to ensure a happy workplace culture.

I’m not suggesting that managers not express dissatisfaction or point out errors. However, they should be skillful and kind in how they choose to communicate with underperforming employees. They can choose to explore the reasons behind what happened and engage the employee in a conversation on how to prevent similar mistakes from happening in the future.

Some people may argue that they simply don’t have the time for this type of leadership style. Others will argue that their job is too fast-paced and stressful to be able to focus on compassionate communication with employees.

James Doty, the director of Stanford’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education – and a neurosurgeon – points out that these types of arguments are erroneous. Brain surgery is arguably one of the most stressful jobs. Mistakes can lead to serious consequences. Yet Doty makes time to address errors with compassion:

“It’s not that I let them off the hook, but by choosing a compassionate response when they know they have made a mistake, they are not destroyed, they have learned a lesson, and they want to improve for you because you’ve been kind to them.”

The following three steps can help cultivate a compassionate mindset:

• Be mindful

Take a moment to gather yourself and your thoughts. You don’t want to speak rashly or act out of emotion. If you are upset, wait until your feelings diminish so that you can approach your employee from a calmer place. Practicing meditation or breathing exercises can help boost your ability to regulate your emotions and act from a mindful place.

• Learn to empathize

Perspective-taking is key. Try to understand the situation from your employee’s view. Understand your employee’s perspective – perhaps they are nervous, or have family problems that are taking a toll, or feeling overwhelmed. Once you can really take on that perspective and understand where they are coming from, you are less likely to want to take a harsh approach to your employee.

• Forgive

While harboring anger actually increases your heart rate and blood pressure and is linked to cardiovascular disease, forgiveness lowers your blood pressure. Research shows that the ability to forgive not only helps your employee, it significantly boosts your own health and psychological well-being as well.

Source –> http://news.stanford.edu/news/2015/may/compassion-workplace-seppala-052115.html

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Iggy Pop, Elvis, Buddy Holly & Me…

I ran across an article from a couple of years ago that I had to share because it’s the only time in my life I’ve been compared to the likes of Iggy Pop, Elvis, Buddy Holly and Cain & Abel…. and referred to as a QUEEN all in one sentence!  Wow!  Thanks Buddy Peter and NewsReview.com for the compliment!

Women of compassion

Aundre Speciale oversees Abatin Wellness Center PHOTO BY WILLIAM LEUNG

It’s surprisingly—and refreshingly—not a man’s world when it comes to Sacramento’s medical-cannabis community

Here’s an excerpt:

If Iggy Pop is the Godfather of Punk, and Elvis and Buddy Holly are the Cain and Abel of rock ’n’ roll, then Aundre Speciale is the Queen of California dispensaries.

Speciale runs three medical-marijuana dispensaries, one in Berkeley and two, Abatin Wellness Center at 2100 29th Street and Capitol Wellness Collective at 2400 14th Street, in Sacramento.

Speciale is a product of California’s foster-children system and spent her teenage years as a SoCal punk-rock anarchist. The Long Beach native learned the ropes of cannabis politics from the legendary marijuana activist Jack Herer. She counted the late comedians Rodney Dangerfield and Sam Kinison as friends. For two decades, Speciale has been on the front line of the cannabis activism and has seen her fair share of sexism.

“I got comments about being a mother, and especially [about being] a single mother, doing what I do,” said Speciale, with a hint of irritation. “Everything from ‘Is it a good example for your children?’ to ‘You are taking a risk at losing your children.’ But I am not ashamed of what I do. I believe that what I do is very legal, extremely moral and the right thing to do.”

Speciale, like Zawkiewicz and Larsson, believe in providing a female-friendly service. She reminisced about how, in the early days of Sacramento medical-cannabis dispensaries, “It was hard … to find a dispensary that fit my needs as a woman and a mother.”

She remembers it being like a bar or nightclub atmosphere. “I wanted to have a place that felt more comfortable, homier, specifically female-friendly for mothers and grandmothers,” she explained.

Speciale’s Abatin Wellness Center sets a high bar for other medical-cannabis dispensaries, as it provides mandatory counseling with every visit. Abatin Wellness Center got a huge publicity boost when talk-show host, medical-marijuana activist and retired lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy Montel Williams revealed that he was a consultant for the collective.

And, indeed, Abatin is not your typical dispensary, nor does it look like one. The counselors are not there to scold you on your marijuana use, but are there to help adjust your medicine to the proper dosage that works for you. Or just to talk, if you want. Truly a compassionate place for people suffering from debilitating diseases and conditions.

“Almost half of the relief that patients are looking for is compassion, a friend, someone to talk to,” Speciale explained. “So many patients are ill, disfigured or don’t feel OK, and they sit alone.”

One thing these three women have in common is that they’re strong, passionate and their hearts are truly in the right place. They are kindhearted and serious about their mission. Speciale put it in a nutshell.

“Being a mom,” she began, “I really want to help people and make it a better place. I believe in starting right where you are and helping the person beside you.”

Read the full story here –>  http://www.newsreview.com/sacramento/women-of-compassion/content?oid=3344034

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NCIA Cultivation Management Symposium – Seattle, WA March 16-18

Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 9.14.11 PMAs both a cannabis producer and provider, I am always interested in ways to continually improve upon and perfect the craft so that patients always have access to the healthiest medicine possible.  As the cannabis industry evolves, innovation and best practices evolve with it.   For those of you that produce medicine, please join us at the Cultivation Management Symposium, Hosted by the National Cannabis Industry Association, in Seattle WA, March 16-18, 2015!

Lets Grow Together!

Related:  NCIA’s Spotlight on Aundre Speciale

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I’m Quoted in Cannabis Now Magazine

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again… the ICBC event in San Francisco Feb 15-16, 2015 was amazing…. and the coverage of the International Cannabis Business Conference continues to roll in. Thanks Angela Bacca at Cannabis Now Magazine for covering the event and for quoting yours truly in this piece!

ICBC: Legal Marijuana’s Future Starts in California

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Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R) speaks at ICBC, Photo by Amy Osborne / The Chronicle

Here’s an excerpt:  

Still, activists and entrepreneurs agree, the future holds more legal marijuana in more places, but activists will still need to push for reforms. Aundre Speciale, the owner of Berkeley dispensary CBCB, has been active in the legal market and activism for over 25 years. She’s noticed the transformation of the industry and is hopeful that there’s more room for growth.

“Just five years ago we were being called criminals and now we are being called innovators, so it’s a pretty interesting time,” she said.

Read the full story here –> http://cannabisnowmagazine.com/cannabis/industry-events/icbc-legal-marijuanas-future-starts-in-california

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Grow Where You Are Planted… San Francisco Women Grow Event, Feb 2015

Recently, I joined a group of incredible women who shared their experiences, challenges and lessons of working in the cannabis industry at a Women Grow event, discussing product development for women.  Thanks to the event sponsors and all of you that came out.

Related:  Cannabis Products for Women

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ICBC Makes Front Page of the SF Chronicle!

Congrats again to Alex Rogers and Debby Goldsberry for putting together such a great event.  I’m honored to have been invited to speak and take part in this event with incredible guests such as Rep. Dana Rohrbacher (R-CA), travel writer, Rick Steves, and Columbia Professor, Dr. Carl Hart, among others.

It’s great to see coverage of the event on the front page of the Sunday SF Chronicle!

Ex-Reagan speechwriter Dana Rohrabacher a big backer of legal potScreen Shot 2015-02-26 at 3.49.33 PM

Here’s an excerpt:

Politicians don’t get much more conservative than Orange County Rep. Dana Rohrabacher. He was Ronald Reagan’s speechwriter, an inspiration behind California’s anti-immigration Proposition 187, a Cold War hardliner, and a man who self-deprecatingly calls himself a “Neanderthal Republican.”

But now, Rohrabacher has emerged as a national leader in one not-so-conservative issue: legalizing marijuana.

Read the full article here:  —>  http://www.sfgate.com/politics/article/Ex-Reagan-speechwriter-Dana-Rohrabacher-a-big-6094273.php

ICBC Coverage in Cannabis Now Magazine

ICBC Coverage on CBS News

ICBC Coverage KALW Public Radio San Francisco 

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Love is the Best Business Model

Thanks to Steven Short at Kalw.org Public Radio San Francisco for quoting me in this piece from the International Cannabis Business Conference!

A business conference with an anti-business streak

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One of the last speakers, as if confirming the opening remarks by Alex Rogers, also touched on the fact that most people in this industry aren’t just in it for the money. Aundre Speciale, from Americans for Safe Access (ASA), offered this suggestion for success: “Love is the best business model.” Her comment was greeted with enthusiastic applause.

Read the full story here –> http://kalw.org/post/business-conference-anti-business-streak?utm_referrer=http%3A//m.kalw.org/%3Futm_referrer%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Fwww.google.com%252F%23mobile/55785

ICBC Coverage in Cannabis Now Magazine 

ICBC Coverage on CBS News

ICBC Makes Front Page of SF Chronicle

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Cannabis Products for Women

I was recently quoted in an article by Nellie Bowles that was published in re/code entitled

Women in Pot Tech, a Focus on Seniors and Yoga Spenders

A dome lounge at potpreneur night. Photo by Nellie Bowles

Here’s an excerpt:  

Aundre Speciale, co-founder of the Cannabis Buyers Club of Berkeley, said that a lot of the gender issues in early pot had to do with marketing and weed names. Pot with a name like Cinderella 99 does well with women.

“Anything that’s called ‘sweet island skunk’ or ‘pineapple’ or ‘island delight,’ the girls are on it,” Speciale said. “It comes from being not so savvy with the strains and looking for something that feels comfortable.”

Read the full story here –> http://recode.net/2015/02/17/women-in-pot-tech-a-focus-on-seniors-and-yoga-spenders/

Related:  More Photos from San Francisco Women Grow Event

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The World is Watching! CBS coverage of Int’l Cannabis Business Conference

Thanks to the International Cannabis Business Conference for inviting me to speak at this amazing event held in Sanfrancisco this weekend.  Alex Rogers and Debby Goldsberry did an incredible job curating a fantastic line-up of speakers, panels and thought leaders that offered insight and direction on how we can work to build a healthy, thriving cannabis industry that serves the needs of community, while remaining true to its roots of being a mission of social and environmental responsibility.

Cannabis Business Conference Draws Marijuana Entrepreneurs To San Francisco From Around The World

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF)— The International Cannabis Business Conference in San Francisco brought advocates and investors alike to the Hyatt Regency Hotel with the goal of legalizing recreational marijuana in California next year.

Marijuana growers, processors and sellers from around the world have gathered this holiday weekend and realize there are a lot of people who stand to make a lot of money if marijuana becomes legal for more than just medical use in the Golden State.

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View the full CBS story here–> http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2015/02/16/advocates-eye-recreational-legalization-at-international-cannabis-business-conference-in-san-francisco/

ICBC Coverage in Cannabis Now Magazine

ICBC Coverage KALW Public Radio San Francisco 

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