What beliefs do you bring to your workplace every day? How often does your team discuss the underlying beliefs that drive everyone’s attitudes, values, and ultimately behaviors at work? It seems to me every organization could benefit from a robust discussion of what everyone’s underlying beliefs are as they pertain to workplace culture, the role of leadership, and the role business plays in society.
If, for example, your leadership team holds a collective belief that the primary goal of business is to reap profits for its shareholders, then that will undoubtedly effect how you prioritize and operate your business. Does your leadership team view employees as members of a real community or do they view them as replaceable automatons? Does your leadership team believe the only reward employees need or deserve is a paycheck at the end of the month? Do you view work as a necessary evil and adopt the mindset that it’s supposed to be drudgery and isn’t supposed to be fun? Or do you believe work can, and in fact, should be inspiring and yes, even fun?
Paul Spiegelman, the CEO of Beryl Health, a call center based in Bedford, Texas, told me the reason he had created such a caring, compassionate, and yes, fun workplace was because he believed that was how work should be. He nurtured a caring culture from day one because his core underlying belief system led him to do so.
I’ve written often about the phenomenal culture of SAS, a software analytics company based in Cary, North Carolina. SAS is often voted as the best place to work in the United States, in no small part due to the employee perks and benefits that are the envy of many around the world. The CEO of SAS, Dr. Jim Goodnight, firmly believes, “That if you treat employees like they’ll make a difference, they’ll make a difference.” That underlying belief has driven their approach to their culture and how they run their business.
The late CEO of Interface, Ray Anderson, believed that corporations need to take the lead when it comes to environmental stewardship and that belief led his company down the path of becoming one of the most sustainable corporations on the planet.
And it’s not just about the beliefs of the leadership team. The belief system that every employee brings into work will ultimately shape your culture and determine how successful your business is.
Geoffery James, in the fabulous article “8 Core Beliefs of Extraordinary Bosses” outlines 8 underlying beliefs that I too believe are the foundation of any successful workplace culture:
1. Business is an ecosystem, not a battlefield.
2. A company is a community, not a machine.
3. Management is a service, not control.
4. My employees are me peers, not my children.
5. Motivation comes from vision, not from fear.
6. Change equals growth, not pain.
7. Technology offers empowerment, not automation.
8. Work should be fun, not mere toil.
How do those beliefs stack up against your own? Why not use this list as a starting point on your team to generate a conversation around what beliefs are driving your workplace attitudes, values, and behaviors?
Michael Kerr is a Hall of Fame international business speaker who travels the world researching,writing, and speaking about inspiring workplace cultures and inspiring leadership. His latest book is called, The Humor Advantage: Why Some Businesses Are Laughing All the Way to the Bank.
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