“Our people matter,” says nearly every CEO on the face of the planet. “Without our people,” so the logic goes, “we would not achieve our goals.”
Rare are the leaders of organizations who will tell you that their people don’t matter. However, there is a big difference between understanding the value of the people inside an organization and actually making decisions that consider their needs. It’s like saying, “my kids are my priority,” but always putting work first. What kind of family dynamic or relationship with our kids do we think results?
The same is true in business. When we say our people matter but we don’t actually care for them, it can shatter trust and create a culture of paranoia, cynicism, and self-interest. This is not some highfalutin management theory—it’s biology. We are social animals and we respond to the environments we’re in. This is why leadership matters. Leaders set the culture. Leaders are responsible for overseeing the environment in which people are asked to work . . . and the people will act in accordance with that culture.
A positive and powerful idea is to think of the business as a family. Our friend Roy Spence, author and CEO of The Purpose Institute, believes every workplace should be like a family:
1. Create a business family: not every company is a family business, but every company can be a business family, with unconditional love, forgiveness, and nurturing.
2. Treat each employee the way you would like your kids to be treated where they work.
3. Build a home, not a just a business: start by building a home that you as a leader and your team members would want to come home to every day.
4. Be a coach: As a parent or a leader, follow the proven role models for exceptional coaching that result in highly productive, responsible, trustworthy, loyal, and caring children/employees.
5. Build each other to greatness: Encourage and insist that each team member—every member of the family—play to his strengths so that each one has the opportunity to become great at what they are good at. A family that respects each individual’s strengths—that celebrates the fact that although we are family we are all different and we have each other’s back in terms of our weaknesses—will be a formidable business family.
6. Be patient with those who don’t “get it”: People may have been abused by other leaders. Give them time and space to heal.
7. Let them grow and then let them go: Let people grow beyond your team if that is what is best for them, just like great parents do with their children. Empower them to become great parents to others.
8. Be authentically human: Break bread together, celebrate together, talk it over together, and mourn together. Be proudly “unprofessional.”
Reprinted from Everybody Matters: The Extraordinary Power of Caring for Your People Like Family by Bob Chapman and Raj Sisodia, Foreward by Simon Sinek, with permission of Portfolio, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © Barry-Wehmiller Group Inc. and Rajendra Sisodia, 2015.
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