I worked for a company in which the company culture was lauded. We had gatherings, games, ways to give back to the community, raffles, all kinds of vendors coming in to sell us all kinds of things at reduced rates, holiday lunches...
Problem: It didn't help morale - didn't stop attrition - didn't increase engagement.
Company culture is not a standalone effort. it is not a Band-Aid that can slapped over problems in order to make employees feel better about their dispiriting work conditions. So when is company culture "a thing"? When is it something to celebrate?
I once knew a hard-working, bright young woman who was hired to work at one of the largest firms in the world. The company was famous for its relaxed atmosphere, for providing all of the comforts of home while at work - from a gym to a laundromat. Free breakfasts. Help getting to and from work. Verrry chic!
I sent her an email, a week into her new gig, and I asked her how it was going! I was excited to hear how "the other half lived"! Disappointingly, she was unhappy and didn't think she would stay very long (she in fact left after 3 months).
Wholeness used to be a "woo woo" term. Very fluffy and light.
Not anymore. That is, not if you're paying attention.
At my last job one of the statements I heard directed at those below management was, "You shouldn't be asking for more, you should just be grateful to have a job."
From simply a human viewpoint, how thrilled are you going to be to bring your best to the table when you are receiving that kind of message?
Let's get real. You're NOT going to be thrilled.
This is one kind of the internal fracturing that goes on and on, and then we wonder why we can't bring a business together!
A business is not the sum of its parts. Wait, WHAT? Right. It isn't. As it stands, we are fractured. We have a system which takes parts of the business and gives them differing goals, and different rewards, and asks them all to care more about the business than about themselves.
With this perspective, you are about to spend the rest of the life of your business dealing with unnecessary attrition, absenteeism, on-the-job illness, and the loss of lots and lots and LOTS of money!
If you're ready to look at business as what it is - the sum of the parts of its humans - it ends up looking more like an addition problem made up of these vibrant aspects::
Human Beings +
Service to a Greater Purpose =
A Wholeness-Based, Successful, Sustainable Business
Sales and Marketing - when created by individuals permitted to be more in service to their integrity and to their customers than they are to their sales numbers - are actually the same animal.
When at their very most human and intentional best - best for everyone, not as a drive for a desired bottom line - Sales and Marketing connect with the other with authenticity, emotion, consideration and with personal integrity. They are based on communicating the core, human, emotionally palpable message.
We have learned the rules, and we have learned them well.
We have learned them from the Corporate environments we have slaved in.
We learned them to survive and to try to rise, and although they never worked, we didn't think we could do anything about it. We learned to:
These messages could not be further from the truth!
I know someone who left her corporate high-level job one week before COVID hit. So did her husband. They took off for warmer climes - the Virgin Islands, to be precise - to start a Bed & Breakfast. And then - one week later - COVID hit.
What a great excuse for panic. But instead of panicking, she started looking for independent work to do. She asked herself, "What can I do to stay afloat here until I know how to do something different?" And even amidst the nervousness, she made room in her consciousness: maybe there is something I can do.
I hired her to be my Virtual Assistant until her business got going.
The reason I mention her is that she confronted the unknown, she asked some questions of herself, made room for potential answers, and she moved forward. In scary times of the unknown, we need steps that we can place our feet on with certainty. Without that, we spin.
In these uncertain times, we also have our so-called Number One fear to deal with: public speaking. Okay, it's not exactly the same as getting onto a stage and giving a talk - granted! - but I know a lot of people, a lot of businesswomen, a lot of entrepreneurs who are having fits dealing with having to be so visible on Zoom.
I also have a friend who will not chat on Zoom with me because she doesn't like the way she looks, and she doesn't want to see herself on that medium. That's a terrible situation in which I have to miss my friend at the time I could use connections the most.
For businesswomen/entrepreneurs, the problem is equally acute.
What do you do if you have to now do your business online? Live? On Zoom, or GoToWebinar?...and you are profoundly uncomfortable with the process, and lacking any ways of being able to check your effectiveness or appropriateness?
I can't count the number of times I sat in an office in my 20's and asked the one question that absolutely killed my boss's patience: "But...how will this task I'm doing impact that task over there?"
That's the question a leader asks. Leaders want to know the 360-degree and it's not because they are ego-starved for power; it's because they understand that no one thing in business lives in a vacuum. Everything impacts everything else!
Leaders - real leaders - understand that their job is to serve those below them, to help them do their best work, to invite them to grow in ways that will benefit them personally as well as benefit the company.
This kind of leader is too rare. But it might be you. And if you are that kind of leader, it's time to approach that understanding within yourself.
You know you're a leader if...
"Environment is stronger than will." The first time I heard that, I didn't know what it meant.
Then I moved to California from the Midwest, spent 13 years giving all of my money to the Bay Area cost of living, and returned home to find myself waiting there, thrilled to be more myself, back in my home environment, and now very much aware of the meaning of that saying.
Its meaning is no different in being applied to traditional business; environment is stronger than will, stronger than creativity, stronger than personal drive. Change the environment, and you court the possibility of infusing your business with the oxygen of vision, inspiration and true cooperation.
Being in control of your business sounds good, right? In some respects, that may be the very thing holding you back from the successes you are working so hard to attain.
It all depends on what kind of control you are committed to. If you are committed to the "lone cowboy" approach, you are courting the kind of disaster that ego is expert at creating.
If, instead, you are committed to being in service to a mission and vision that may require your humility instead of your Rambo-like decision-making powers, you may just see the holy grails of business: where the core troubles lie, and where the most unexpected and regenerative answers are hiding.
You already know about the Iceberg of Ignorance. We all do. But we have made an enormous error in leaving the people solutions to Human Resources, surveys, surface reward structures and comments about "open doors".
Do you want to know what your unseen problems are?
My friend Theresa was just introduced to Brené Brown for the first time, and she was captivated. The part she repeated to me had to do with vulnerability and courage - courage not being necessary at all unless you are actually being vulnerable. Brené reportedly said that if you are going to be vulnerable, you are in fact going to be hurt.
Well at first blush that doesn't sound particularly desirable, does it.
It is, in fact, good news. It means you are going to step out from the rank-and-file behaviors that keep you safe from the new.
You are going to be alive now. Much more alive.
Revolutionary, Visionary Business Consultant, Self-Expression/Communication Coach and Emotional Linguist™ , Lori is a rabble-rouser for the redefined identity of women leaders, author of The Human Solution: The Feminine Face of Wholeness in Business, and Talent Optimization Professional
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Do you like the idea of breaking those social "should's" that have held you back for too long? Do you like the idea of successfully changing your modes of communication, your business structures, your self-image, and to your quality of life?
Lori Kirstein, Founder
The Goodbye Good Girl™ Project LLC
The Feminine Face of Business
Cincinnati, OH 45205
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