Why Inspiration Matters
I haven’t met a single business owner who doesn’t have a challenge within one of three areas: their time, their teams, or the profits. I also haven’t met a single business owner who couldn’t solve these challenges by creating an organization that employees are inspired to work at.
This is because at the heart of all of an organization’s challenges lies this fuzzy, sometime touchy-feely thing called culture that is oftentimes ignored, especially when the times are good. But when the times are tough — and business owners feel the pains of time, teams, and profits — addressing culture is often forgotten altogether. Culture is nebulous, its hard to define, and for many, its impossible to shape.
And when things are hard to understand, they often become less valuable.
This type of thinking could not be more wrong.
Ignoring culture costs a TONs
Do you know what happens when we believe something? It becomes true. So too is the case for matters of culture, which many business owners simply dismiss as not being important. Yet how employees feel at work — whether or not they are inspired to work hard, solve problems, collaborate across teams, communicate well, seek quality, or demand accountability — are fundamentally components of the organization’s culture.
Still think culture doesn’t matter? Consider some of the facts: A 2016 Gallop poll in the US indicated that only 32% of employees are happy at work. And 17.6% are actively disengaged and uninterested. This means that at any given workplace, more than 2/3 of employees just marginally care to be there.
And when 2/3 of a workplace drudges along at work, there is no wonder why the organization has problems with its time, teams and profits.
A few simple things you can do
Creating workplaces that employees care about isn’t really that hard. But because they are considered “soft” skills by many, they are ignored. Here are just a few things you as a boss can do to make your employees excited to get out of bed every morning and come to work.
Make employees believe in what you do
People don’t buy what you sell. They buy why it matters to them. The same holds true for employees who work for your organization. Employees wont give you their all simply because you ask them to. They have to be intrinsically motivated to do so. And the only way to make an employee intrinsically motivated is to find a way to connect with what is important to them.
For you, the business owner, the top of the heap, the kind of command, this starts with articulating the fundamental, unshaken, core purpose of your business (a hint: if making money or selling more widgets is the answer, you will never inspire your employees to work).
If however, you are driven to serve others, or help solve a problem with your product, or make a dent in the universe as Steve Jobs would say, you’re on to something. Having a “why” that employees can believe in and participate in is the first step in creating a culture that inspires — and ultimately one that will solve your challenges with respect to your time, teams, and profits.
Make your organization transparent
Nothing makes an employee disinterested, disengaged, and disheartened to come to work than knowing that others in her workplace can’t be trusted.
Especially if that person is you, the boss.
In order for employees to feel inspired to come to work and truly give of themselves, they must believe that the place they are working for trusts and believes in them. And this starts by creating an environment of transparency.
Don’t know where to start?
Ask your employees what they would like to know. And then tell them.
Let employees take risks
Google is one of the most innovative companies out there. Why? Because Google actually budgets time for each of their employees to do something that is outside of their job description. Upwards of 20% a day!
Interestingly, it has been proven time and time again at Google that their most valuable product lines have come from this 20%
Most organizations, however, don’t let their employees take risks. More, employees are fearful to do so on account of any number of repercussions that may come from a potential failure.
Want your employees to be inspired to solve your organizations challenges with respect to time, teams, and profits?
Let them create the solutions (just be prepared if, in the beginning, some of them fail).