The November 2015 Issue of Inc Magazine has a couple of interesting observations about the relationship between employees and employers in our modern economy.
The first observation is this: "Odds are, you started your company because you wanted to drive your own destiny, or because you had an idea you just had to try, or because you saw an opportunity for financial success and grabbed it. It wasn't because you wanted to be responsible for a bunch of other people's well-being. But like it or not, that's what you've become."
This observation touches on a powerful truth: It is very hard to run a successful business in our modern economy without accepting a serious responsibility to care for the needs of the people that work for you. Time and again I see business owners who fail to accept this responsibility, to the detriment of their organizations and their communities.
The article goes on to mention an argument of Jeffrey Pfeffer, a professor of organizational behavior at Stanford. He says that a willingness to be a good steward of other people's lives" out to be recognized as an essential trait of true leaders.
I couldn't agree more.
I've always strongly believed that the people my organization hires are the most important element of our business success. This may be even more true in a technology intensive consulting industry like the one my company competes in. One of my greatest challenges as a manager and small business owner is finding (and keeping) smart people for my team.
The September 2015 Issue of Inc Magazine has a great short article entitled “Grow Your Business, Know Your People” that talks about one way to keep smart people on your team. The article highlights the need to know your team members personally, and to make them feel like they work with their friends and family. Here are a couple of powerful quotes from the article, which I encourage you to read in its entirety:
"Engaged, enthusiastic, and loyal employees are pivotal drivers of growth and health in any organization. The key to creating such workers in your business is as simple and cost free as it is overlooked. It comes in the form of giving them what they want, need, and deserve more than anything else: to be known."
What does it mean to “be known”. Patrick Lencioni, the author of the article, explains:
“Known in the way that all people want to be known, by family and friends. Who they are. Where they come from. What makes them tick. How there life is going.”
Why is this so important? Patrick tells us that too:
“When employees feel anonymous in the eyes of their managers, they simply cannot love their work, no matter how much money the make or how wonderful there job seems to be.”
This is great advice for business owners and managers. In the near future I want to write more on this topic.