During a recent conversation on The Business of Being Human podcast, I got to go deep with one of my favorite topics: the transformative power of workplace culture. I chatted with host Wendy Horng Brawer, who’s on the leadership team at Intune Collective, about how intentional culture can be an antidote to the “Great Resignation.” We talked about how articulating a clear mission and shared values inspires people to join, and stay with, a company. Why recognizing employees and letting their individual strengths shine is a game-changer for retention, productivity, and morale. And why working one-on-one with CEOs is the secret to making culture changes that last.
Here’s a bit more about some of the things we discussed.
Creating a joyful workplace
We feel joyful at work — not to mention inspired, motivated, and energized — when we get to do meaningful work that leverages our strengths and the strengths of others. True satisfaction doesn’t come from a paycheck; it comes from “linking arms” with people we respect and feel connected to, and who respect us and feel connected to us right back. A leader’s role in creating this happy scenario? Getting all of us aligned with the company’s greater purpose and ensuring we understand how our work together positively impacts the world.
We’re saying no to meaningless work
The pandemic has reminded us that life is sacred — and short. No wonder people everywhere are quitting unsatisfying jobs to find work that’s juicy and meaningful. Since we all define “meaningful” in different ways, I encourage leaders to support individual learning and skills development. When employees feel recognized for channeling their individual skills and strengths for the greater good, they bring their best selves to work each and every day.
Culture transformation starts at the top
The key to making company culture stick is getting the CEO and other executives on board so organizational changes can cross-pollinate across all departments and groups. I love bringing entire teams, departments, or even a whole company together for honest, open conversations about culture. During such gatherings, I ask leaders to “leave their title at the door” so people at every level feel safe sharing opinions and feedback.
I also take CEOs on individualized “Founder’s Field Trips” — outdoor excursions where I help them to articulate the larger purpose of their company. When leaders take the time to “breathe possibility” and explore the essence of their business goals, they can more effectively inspire others to join them.
Be better, do better through awe
Speaking of field trips, Wendy and I talked about how experiencing “adventure and awe” boosts connection, compassion, and creativity. I always say Mother Nature is my best co-facilitator, and neuroscience backs it up: When we’re outdoors and feeling awe — watching a sunrise, noticing a water droplet on a leaf, or craning our necks to admire a towering redwood — our neural pathways light up. Our brains are flooded with feel-good chemicals like serotonin and dopamine. We feel humility, which allows us to shift from “me” to “we” thinking. Now, that’s good for business!
Great culture reaps great business results
I always say that culture is the fuel that drives performance. Just like paying attention to the marketplace and establishing scalable systems and processes, creating a strong culture is a critical factor in business success. Far from being “woo-woo,” culture is a proven, tactical aspect of setting and achieving big organizational goals.
Wendy and I covered a lot more in our 38-minute conversation, and I hope you’ll listen in. You can download the podcast here.
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