An organization is essentially a fiction, only given meaning and power by those who believe in it, who buy in.
As a business owner, you undoubtedly hope for the best when it comes to the future. Whether you are ultimately hoping to become wealthy, or you are simply building a small, humble organization because it is your chance to construct a workplace culture that you would be thrilled to work in every day, you are hoping to create a system that produces comfort that will persist well beyond today.
Over the course of the past 13 years, I’ve interacted with nearly 200 business owners who had questions about optimizing employee engagement within their organizations. It’s not that the organizations were in desperate need of help. On the contrary, some of these businesses were performing very well, and the owners of these companies simply wished to explore the possibility that some ingredients might be missing that would allow these companies to perform even better if they could be discovered.
There is a scene from the film We Are Marshall that perfectly conveys the importance of verbal communication if you truly wish to be heard and understood and to have the full significance of your statements appreciated.
Dear Clients and Friends,
I wish I were not writing this, I am cognizant of the situations and extremes I may be writing to and I pray for the best as soon as possible. We are in this together, and I want to take some time to share some guidance I have seen work in past recessions.
In the pages of The Patient Organization, I laid out the 7 Question-7 Promise Framework, which allows everyone within your company to align themselves with your mission by deciding if they can answer “yes” to questions of belonging, belief, accountability, measurement, communication, development and balance. The ultimate benefit of this process is the creation of the type of workplace environment that can power an Organizational Operating System (OOS).
When it comes to questions about why human beings are present on Earth, a wide array of belief systems have been developed over several millennia by different individuals, groups, and cultures in an effort to produce satisfactory answers to those questions. Yet, when it comes to matters of business, arriving at an answer to the question of why your organization exists can be every bit as difficult to produce.
In most hiring situations, the first time a candidate comes across the radar of a business is when the job seeker submits a resume to the HR department or HR representative. If the applicant appears to check all of the necessary boxes - an impressive education, and years of employment that indicate how the candidate has acquired experience and demonstrated expertise with the requisite skills - then the applicant is brought in for an interview.
To conceive of their businesses as fictional entities is a difficult task for several business leaders to engage in, and for a very good reason. After all, the buildings, desks, chairs, computers, logos and employees are certainly very real, and far from fictional. So, in what way are we suggesting that all organizations are fictional?
When it comes to balance in the workplace, several different explanations are employed to describe what it means, and many of these definitions are correct in one respect or another. In fact, the most complete description of workplace balance incorporates multiple elements from the popular definitions of balance. This ultimately means true employee balance combines considerations of work-life balance with opportunities for thought and reflection within the workplace, while also understanding that keeping employees productive is not immutably connected with keeping employees in motion.