(The following is an excerpt from the introduction of “Inspiring Workplaces – Creating the Kind of Workplace Where Everyone Wants to Work.”)
Just Imagine . . .
Imagine the kind of workplace where everybody wants to work: your friends, your family, your competitors and, yes, even your dog want to spend their days there.
Imagine the kind of workplace where people want to work hard, where they want to contribute their ideas, and where they want to do the best possible job.
Imagine the kind of workplace where employees wake up at the start of the work week filled with passionate enthusiasm about their work.
Imagine the kind of workplace that truly backs up the phrase: “Our people are our most important asset.”
Imagine the kind of workplace where people follow their leaders not because they have to, but because they want to.
Imagine the kind of workplace where people don’t want to quit—ever!
Imagine the kind of workplace where loyalty between the employee and the organization works both ways.
Imagine the kind of workplace where people are committed to a compelling vision.
Imagine the kind of workplace where employees and customers are supported, respected and cared about.
Imagine the kind of workplace where loyal customers become life-long, enthusiastic advocates for your organization.
Imagine the kind of workplace where innovation and creativity thrives and where ideas are welcomed and respectfully considered.
Imagine a workplace where humanity rules the ledger.
Imagine if work didn’t feel like work.
Imagine if work was a labour of love.
Imagine . . .
Now some of you may be thinking . . . welcome to Fantasy Island? Is this the start of a John Lennon song? Have the monkeys in my brain taken over the zoo? Do workplaces like this truly exist? Is it even possible to create an inspiring workplace?
Creating an inspiring workplace that reaches these lofty heights may seem like an unattainable, utopian dream. But if you don’t ever imagine what your vision of an ideal workplace looks like, how will you even begin the journey towards creating a more fulfilling, positive and ultimately, inspiring kind of workplace?
I Don’t Want to Frighten Any of You, but Imagine the Uninspiring Alternative:
Imagine the cost to an organization of not attracting the brightest and the best employees.
Imagine the cost of attracting new employees, over and over.
Imagine the cost of training new employees, over and over.
Imagine the cost, stress and loss of knowledge, wisdom, creativity and experience every time an employee quits—and even worse, goes to work for the competition.
Imagine the cost to your workplace when an experienced employee quits—but stays right where he or she is.
Imagine the cost of rising employee absenteeism rates and work-related illnesses.
Imagine the cost of attracting new customers, again and again.
Imagine the cost of not being creative, of not innovating, of not keeping up to competitors, of not changing; imagine the cost of stagnating.
Imagine the toll an unhealthy workplace takes on employees’ mental and physical health.
Imagine the price employees’ families pay for the cost of an uninspiring workplace.
Imagine working in an uninspiring workplace for ten, twenty or thirty years and then asking yourself, “Was it worth it?”
Imagine the cost to your soul.
Imagine if work felt like work.
Just imagine . . .
Unfortunately, this scenario is easy to imagine for far too many people. Work-related stress levels are reaching epidemic proportions. Toxic bosses and toxic workplaces are all too commonplace. Like a bad 60s movie, over-stressed and uninspired zombies are taking over too many workplaces. And even if your workplace isn’t “all that bad,” too many people and too many organizations are settling for mere survival as a benchmark. Too many people are hoping to be voted off their island.
Why are we settling for so little? Shouldn’t there be a more rewarding goal than mere survival? Don’t you deserve better? Don’t your employees, co-workers, customers and families deserve something more? And is your organization really going to remain competitive over the long run when you’re only aiming for survival?
Survival might be an okay goal if you are stuck on an island on a reality T.V. show, but it’s a lousy way to make your way through life. Survival as a default goal does not motivate or inspire people. And choosing survival as a goal guarantees that your company will eventually go the way of the dodo bird.
Organizations that persist in the archaic and ridiculous (feel free to substitute the phrase “unimaginably stupid” if you so wish) belief that people skills and workplace topics such as creativity, humour, communication and inspiration are “soft skills” and somehow trivial, do so at their peril.
Healthy, successful, inspiring organizations and inspiring leaders recognize that it is not the cars in the plant, the oil in the ground or the microchips they mass produce that are their most important resource. It’s their people.
Let’s go even further: People aren’t just the most important resource—they are the resource. And it’s the workplace culture—how people do things and how they treat one another—that forms the foundation for which everything else, all of an organization’s day-to-day successes, is built upon.
To back up the core belief that people are the most important asset in any organization is not a trite claim. It truly is the difference between success and failure; between thriving and surviving; between an uninspiring and inspiring workplace.
So if you don’t imagine where your workplace is going and how it’s going to get there, if you don’t consider your people to be your most important resource and if you don’t consider the human, social and financial costs of an unhealthy, uninspiring workplace, you ultimately risk losing everything.
If, however, you move towards creating a passionate, fun, creative, human and deeply, wonderfully, motivating, inspiring workplace, you stand to gain so much. So the choice seems rather obvious to me. Then again, I’m the author, I have to say this. But, I mean, come on! Get with the program! How could you not choose door number two?
What kind of workplace can you imagine for yourself and your organization?
Copyright Michael Kerr, 2011.
Michael Kerr is an international speaker, trainer and author of “You Can’t Be Serious! Putting Humor to Work” and “Inspiring Workplaces.” You can reach Michael at 1-(866)-609-2640 or firstname.lastname@example.org . For more humor at work articles, DVDs and other humor at work resources, surf on over to www.mikekerr.com . Michael helps workplaces reduce stress, boost morale, spark creativity and increase productivity by putting humor to work.
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