3 things that make people truly enjoy their workWhat is it that makes a company culture truly remarkable?
What does it mean that a company culture works?
It means that it makes people happy, satisfied, and blissful with their everyday experience at work. It means that the output they produce is satisfactory, and that it makes clients happy and satisfied. It means that the company as a whole works, functions, properly, and that people feel that something big is happening around them that they have a chance to participate in.
Company culture. What does it even mean? We all hear about it an awful lot, but do we really understand what it is?
Personally, if I were to provide an answer to this question, provide a definition for others to use, I would say that company culture is simply the way we set up our system in order to coexist together. In other words, company culture is the system that we operate in, the system being both structure (processes), and the non-written code of behavior that people realize in their everyday interactions with one another.
In other words, company culture is the way we do what we do - the way we work together, talk together, exchange ideas together, have arguments together, celebrate birthdays together, party together, and grow together.
And once again one could ask - what does it even mean?
I guess there is no other way than to go a level deeper and try to define a working company culture based on concrete examples of patterns and behaviors that people realize in a company like ours, which (to us) seems to us to be exceptional when it comes to our everyday satisfaction.
So, as briefly as possible - what is it that makes people truly enjoy their work?
It is no coincidence that countries with an over-average level of trust between people are the the same time countries with an over-average level of perceived happiness. Trust works. Both personally and professionally. If you can set up a system where people can trust, and where people can feel trusted, then those same people will repay you with extraordinary commitment and performance. It is as simple (and as complicated) as that.
What does it take to build a company around trust?
First of all - maturity at the top.
It all comes down to leadership. If the top trusts, knows how to delegate, and removes obstacles instead of trying to control everything, then the same attitude and mindset goes down and down, till it reaches even the brand new people at the company.
Trust is something that has to be inspired by the leadership. There is no other way to do it. If you don’t know how to trust, and have to control everything, then there is no way that the people at your company will grant themselves and one another the same thing that you didn’t want to grant them.
At the end of the day, building a strong company culture always begins with building a strong leadership - with building oneself, one's own character and maturity.
The same as with children - you might read all the books about different techniques and methods on how to raise a child into a great person, but at the end of the day this same child will simply look and copy that which you are doing around him or her.
There is simply no other way to do it. If you want to build an outstanding company, you have to be an outstanding leader.
And an outstanding leader knows how to trust. Knows how to delegate. Knows how to stop the need to control everything and just let go.
Trust in the company culture always starts at the top, but when it is present, it shapes everything else.
// Book recommendation
For those of you who perceive themselves as highly conscious people, and might be looking for inspiration or guidance in this topic, I suggest reading ‘The surrender experiment’ from Michael Singer. If you are looking for peace of mind in your everyday existence, this book might give you exactly what you are looking for.
2. True responsibility
We all hear about autonomy as the key factor when it comes to employee satisfaction. But what does it mean that team members have autonomy, at least in the context of an organizational culture?
The key word here is responsibility. For team members to feel autonomous they first need to be responsible for something, truly responsible for something. They need to feel that their contribution matters, and that if they fail, their entire team might fail. The entire project might fail. The entire company might fail.
People need to feel that their work matters. That what they do matters. That the load that they carry everyday is really for something, and that other people are counting on them to do their job right.
It is all about carrying a load. If you carry a load, you feel good about yourself. You feel useful. And to feel useful you have to feel that you contribute. That you are not just a small cog in a machine that will work even if you don’t show up for a month. You have to feel important.
This might be one of the biggest problems that corporations face when it comes to providing everyday satisfaction to their employees. How to make people feel that they are a crucial part of something, when in reality, they are not?
At the same time this might be the reason why companies like start-ups have such an advantage when it comes to commitment, and why modern companies are structuring their systems as flatly as possible.
3. Space for autonomous growth and mistakes
Here is the problem. I trust you will solve it. Here are my suggestions as to how to solve it. Nevertheless you are free to solve it as you please. The only thing that matters is that the job is done. I trust that you will give your best. Come to me if you need help. Otherwise solve the problem as you see fit. I will not look at your hands while you work, but I also trust you to not expect me to give you a detailed instruction of how to do everything. You are autonomous. And I trust you to bring me a high quality result. Good luck.
Autonomy comes with time, obviously. Not everyone can jump into deep waters and instantly swim perfectly. But there is a big difference between 1. giving others helpful tips and mindsets and then letting them try on their own, and - 2. giving them precise instructions and controlling them at each step of the way.
The second approach might be easier in the beginning, but if you expect others to be autonomous with time, you need to give them space for mistakes. You have to trust them to do their job right, and learn to deal with less than perfect results in the beginning.
Honestly - it takes a lot of maturity to do that, and once again it all comes back to personal growth and leadership.
Trust, true responsibility and space for autonomous growth.
Give those 3 things to people, and watch your company grow on its own.
Have those 3 things in your life, and watch yourself enjoy your work.
My mission is to transform the world into one based on personal growth and equality.
About Stress Management
This article will give you both - a hard-to-swallow pill, and some hope. It is about manageable and not manageable stress and about knowing which is which. It also covers a short story of our company, for those of you who are interested.