PeopleResults is thrilled to share insights today from friend and guest blogger Shawn Murphy.
We’re in a business era punctuated by emerging new paradigms challenging deeply held philosophies about corporate success and competitive advantage. Consider technology companies like Zynga, LinkedIn, even Facebook. These companies scaled their business to success fast through the use of technology. Technology that connected people. Technology that created a shared experience.
Sure the verdict is still out on each company’s longevity. The point, however, is these companies architected a way to innovate, implement, fail, refine and ultimately reach success. Their size did not matter.
Success emerged from the brain trust of these three companies’ employees. Said slightly differently: each company tapped into its greatest, inimitable competitive advantage – it’s people.
So what wisdom can we glean from this aerial view of these mighty tech giants?
Certainly more than there is room for in a blog post. One nugget, however, is that the wisdom is rooted in one essential ingredient – workplace optimism.
Workplace optimism is a culture attribute nurtured by managers and sustained by everyone. It’s a vibe. Its characteristics include these at minimum:
- Mutually beneficial relationships
- People connect and connection points are made
- Meaningful work is a standard
- Access to timely information and without bureaucracies
- Promote the greater good beyond one’s own needs
Certainly these characteristics tap into ideals so many long for in a workplace. This is the heart of creating workplace optimism. It’s a daring belief a manager takes on and pursues with passion. For some, it may require standing alone, apart from the flock of managers.
This business era is also punctuated with disillusioned, apathetic employees. To reach any level of success with employees in either of these states of being, a manager must believe in something beyond predictable. She must inspire something unexpected.
To take on creating workplace optimism requires disgust with realities of corporate or small-business work environments. It requires a belief that the workplace doesn’t need to suck.
But this is not some soft HR notion to be measured in the next employee engagement survey. No. You want to create workplace optimism to turn lose your employees to find new ways to create value for customers.
You want to create workplace optimism to shake free new ideas to penetrate your market deeper. To disrupt your market place. Or find ways to remove costs within your value chain.
See, managers need to give employees reason again to believe their work and ideas matter. With belief at their backs the possibilities begin to multiply. It is so cliché to place managers as the paragons of business. We know too much now that this cannot be.
Today’s technology companies have outperformed other industries in creating workplace optimism. The promise of the next big tech breakthrough is an alluring value proposition.
You have to create your own employment value proposition. You may not be angling to create the next Facebook, but you, as a manager, are expected to create results. Your results are accomplished by the hard work and great minds of your people. Invest in the time to create workplace optimism. For your leadership, employees will take notice and respond. But you have to make the first move.
Shawn Murphy can be found exploring the space where business and humanity intersect. His work with clients centers on culture change and helping managers create optimism in the workplace. He dares to believe work can be a source of joy. Shawn is the co-founder of Switch and Shift. Connect with him on Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.
Photo courtesy of jaeldungca.blogspot.com