Every organization has experienced its own “Big Bang,” a genesis moment when one person, or a group of individuals, had a collective thought, then created something amazing through their passions and beliefs.
From this moment on, traces of that original spirit and enthusiasm continue to influence the growth, development, expansion, and overall functioning of the business and its people.
This is the birth of an organization’s culture, flowing through an organization like an invisible wave, permeating an environment with a collective passion for, and belief in, a greater purpose.
As an organization continues to evolve, three foundational insights apply:
Your Culture, Your Story
Insight: A culture is only as strong as the people who believe in it, who are living it day-to-day
Your culture is a story that relates why you exist and what purpose you serve. Translating that story into tangible results takes talented employees who feel empowered to make decisions based on their authority and experience. It also requires structure, elements within your environment that echo foundational passions and beliefs.
Reflecting a unique bond shared with the organization, the following tools promote a seamless connection with your product or service:
Core Values represent the harmonic qualities of a culture. These define how an employee and customer experience should look, sound, and most important . . . feel.
Not to be confused with like-mindedness, it is critical for everyone to remain aligned with the overall purpose of the organization and understand how they specifically and individually contribute to the ultimate aspirations of the team.
Beyond that, core values promote loyalty, generating an instinctive sense of trust powerful enough to inspire each employee to feel that “This is me.”
Standards are more than just guidelines and procedures. They are your cultural voice, capturing the mindset of owners or founders as they pieced together their vision of both product and service.
Script your standards as more of a playbook, or recipe for success that extends beyond practical elements of process and technique.
For example, monitoring use of a guest’s name during an interaction is a common standard within the service industry. Most specify three times, going as far as to detail use when greeting, engaging, and then separating from the guest.
The purpose and intent of the standard is to communicate a genuine respect and appreciation for not only the guest, but for the opportunity to serve. Using their name throughout the interaction is a natural extension of that emotion, engaging the guest in a very personal, yet professional manner. And, more than likely, you will have used their name at least three times.
Ingredients and execution make an experience memorable. Fulfilling purpose and intent make it unforgettable.
Successful cultures embrace and encourage innovation, as practical applications will change over time. Innovation captures the essence of discretionary thought, incorporating overtones from that original genesis moment, resulting in changes that promote positive movement and growth.
A Soul Proprietorship
Insight: The right people, with the right blend of knowledge, emotion, and desire, fulfill the promise of an organization.
Realizing your ultimate potential requires passion and desire, a level of engagement in which there is no distinction between the individual and the overall purpose of an enterprise. When operating as a collection of “Soul Proprietors,” employees willing offer their talents and abilities in exchange for the opportunity to experience the life they dreamed of living.
Family owned or Fortune 500, this is when an organization experiences true engagement, carrying forward unmatched spirit and enthusiasm, and inspiring incredible levels of individual performance and achievement.
Connecting with this level of desire begins with asking the right questions throughout your talent selection process. Use behavioral-based questions to determine appropriate skill, knowledge, and experience. Then move up the pyramid and ask open-ended questions that explore a person’s vision of self-esteem and sense of fulfillment.
The more closely their vision aligns with that of your organization, the more likely you have found your next Soul Proprietor.
Listen, Then Follow
Insight: People are the passion behind the purpose.
Where are these people? Everywhere.
There is passion within every human being on the planet. Some may express it differently; it may seem misguided at times, but it is still passion.
Passion speaks to us as intuition, an inner voice that transmits a harmonic blend of emotion and desire from your heart to your brain, bringing the subconscious into conscious, capable of guiding actions . . . or not.
When your inner voice and the culture of an organization speak the same language, loyal and trusting relationships will result. You become the passion behind the purpose.
The pandemic may have made fulfilling the quest to follow your passion incredibly difficult.
Continue to look for the positives in the situation you are currently in. Adversity is opportunity, so you just might tap into something exciting and a great cultural fit for you. You may be speaking a common language already.
Keep connected to the passions you have identified with a higher purpose. Listen to your intuition, that inner voice. Then act, have the courage to stretch, to capitalize on unique talents to justify your pursuit.
Remember your passions are all around you, “all you have to do is listen.”