Institutions and organizations are how and where things get done in the world today. Amazing when you consider that less than a hundred years ago there were only a few corporations in existence and they were mostly utilities or railroads. Since then, we’ve seen a huge rise in the number and diversity of companies. In the US alone, there are over six million employers. This amounts to huge potential to influence the world and the quality of life on this planet.
Sadly, this potential is often wasted. The majority of workers today are experiencing a low level of engagement on the job, which means they are doing the minimum of what’s required and not really offering anything extra no creativity, caring or responsibility. Fear is often the primary motivator. Speed is perceived as productivity so there is no time to make or learn from mistakes. Leadership is ineffective or absent.
This can begin so innocently in that most businesses are established by default and not by design. Someone has idea born out of need, demand or inspiration, sprinkles in some dollars and cents, and “poof” a business is born. In other cases, this sad state is a direct result of command-and-control style of leadership where the life of a business and its people are sucked from them in pursuit of one or more of the unholy trinity of wealth, power and fame.
If these are images of an unhealthy organization, then imagine for a moment what a healthy organization looks like. Imagine a workplace characterized by mutual respect, putting others first, listening and being heard, a clear direction, and workers sharing the values held by the organization and its leaders. Imagine if every person (employees, vendors, customers) touched by your organization or its work became healthier, freer and more autonomous.
Over the next month, I’ll be exploring what I believe are the critical components for a healthy, happy, more powerfully effective organization.
While you wait for what I have to say on the subject, I ask that you make your own top 5 list of the characteristics and/or practices that make an organization a great place to work and wildly successful to boot.