How many of us count the days when we are on vacation?
While experts focus over the creation of an organization of the future, a little introspection might reveal that your workplace already has the necessary ingredients
Study after study on workplace climate, et al, have been read and forgotten. Loads of sur-veys have been done and clever consultants have presented clever reports (that no one would confess to not understanding!) on how to create the workplace of tomorrow.
The more I read them and the more I interact with such wise men (and women), a little voice from inside tells me that, perhaps, it is not all that complicated!
How many of us on a Sunday night, have looked forward to a Monday morning? Ok, let’s not count the days when we were on vacation, but seriously, how many? If we can answer the above question with an affirmative then, we may have already worked with a company that has created the work place of tomorrow.
Maybe, these companies have not done so by design, but the important thing is they have just created this anyway!
I ask this question (in an informal manner) about looking forward to a Monday morning often to my friends in the industry. For those who have looked forward to a Monday morning, here are the answers I get:
Having a boss who gives top priority to trust and understanding. This does not necessarily mean that the boss has not been demanding, but the trust and understanding needs to be very high.
Many people spoke of a work place where disagreements were discussed and dissolved before the end of the day.
They also mentioned about being set up for success and not failure. The company encouraged people to take targets that were stretched, but achievable, and then gave support to achieve them. Once achieved, the success was duly celebrated!
Job security: Company watches performance closely and when not meeting standards, people are quickly shifted to a job that matches the person’s skills & aptitude. Hire & fire is not the norm.
Attitude and not aptitude is more important to the organization.
Employees feel like family. Spouses know each other, the boss socializes regularly with teams. People have best friends at work!
Politics is not encouraged. The ‘politicians’ are sidelined or weeded out.
Feedback is a straight forward affair. The person receiving it would have no doubt that the giver was on his/her side!
Empowerment is a norm. Having coached an individual, the boss would quickly get out of the way.
This one was a surprise: No power point presentations! Discussions are done over either excel or a word document and submitted 48 hours before a meeting, where people sent their queries beforehand.
Humor! Everyone has a sense of humor, especially at their own self. No one took themselves seriously. They took their work seriously though.
Mistakes: People got together to help the person who had made a mistake. He is not hauled over coals for them.
A clean workplace: Leadership behaved exemplarily to create an atmosphere free from harassment, sexual or otherwise. Of course, there was no mercy from practical jokes!
This one is another surprise; no posters and great declarations about the company’s culture! Just quiet, actionable behavior that reinforces the culture again & again!
Giving credit: All leaders gave complete credit to their teams. They owned all failures though.
Accepting the company’s shortcomings; not glossing over them.
Not blaming each other over crisis.
Informal mentors and coaching programs.
Keeping one’s word! It was a given.
I think , the most important one: teams took a stand for each other come rain or shine.
However, one common thread was that almost all the people I have spoken to mentioned that this culture was not sustained. On questioning why, they said that all of a sudden, some wise consultant would come along, do a survey and then advise the company to change its culture!
What I do see is that most of it is actually common sense. So if we see this in our organization, perhaps we need to record it and most importantly, conserve it. If we do so, then would we all look forward on a Sunday night, to a Monday morning?
I certainly do hope so!