Monday, September 1, 2014

Creating a Culture of Love and Responsibility

Culture is the big trend word these days in business. Successful businesses are beginning to understand that the best cultures are not driven by fear, but by love and responsibility. Great culture is fostered by boundaries that are inherently based on loving your employees in a way that promotes upward mobility and improved work/life balance. Companies like Google, Zappos, etc. are working everyday to drive home this effort of a happy culture. As a former collegiate athlete and current fitness professional, I often turn to the world of sports to understand the shifts in current business. Sports is certainly a microcosm for what happens in society. To understand this all you have to do is check out the defending Super Bowl Champions, the Seattle Seahawks. They are becoming the new standard in how you recruit, train and care about football players. In a sport that is very violent they have managed to make compassion and care cornerstones of their success.

I have worked diligently over the past six years at Club Ridges to incorporate a mantra of love and responsibility with our staff members. I have seen first hand that when you genuinely love your staff they will run through a wall for you. However, you have to also make sure that you set boundaries for that love and that you are upfront with your staff when they need to improve their performance. You see love is not a free for all. Awesome love is both warm and kind, but also tough when needed. My staff knows how much I care about them, but they also know that I am not afraid to enforce the rules and provide discipline if need be. Fortunately, I have found that when you provide that balance you almost never have any issues. It truly is an amazing way to run an organization. 

With that being said, here are some simple tips to create a loving and responsible work environment:

1. Revamp the Expectations 

Part of the problem with poor organizations is that they lack structure and positive/responsible expectations. You can't expect people to know how to be effective if you have not laid the ground rules for that. You have to define what love and responsibility mean in your organization and how you want your staff to embody that on a daily basis. And the most important part of this is that you have to lead in this example everyday. 

2. Dump the Waste

After you have set the new expectations you have to do the hardest part...get rid of toxic people who don't want to or can't meet those expectations. It sounds counter intuitive, but its necessary. YOU CAN'T HAVE LONG TERM SUCCESS WITH TOXIC PEOPLE IN YOUR ORGANIZATION. PERIOD. This means you will certainly be seen as the bad guy initially by those negative people. Oh well. Creating a loving culture means being responsible and responsible people don't allow consistently negative folks to infiltrate a positive culture. 

3. Have Fun!!

One of the most important things you can do to create a loving and responsible culture is to have fun!! Spend time talking and laughing with your staff and schedule happy hours and parties to celebrate team success. I believe getting to know your staff outside of the work environment is crucial to building chemistry and commitment at work. Just make sure you lay down the ground rules before you do this stuff and you will build a fun and responsible environment. Happy employees make money! I've seen it firsthand. It works!

4. Reinforce Excellence

Always reinforce the rules of your environment. In my case, we always reinforce the cleanliness of the gym and the friendly attitude we expect when talking with the consumer and fellow staff members. Additionally, we reinforce the quality of the services we provide so that the consumer has a high satisfaction rate for those services. Even if your staff is doing a great job already it doesn't matter. Keep reinforcing those standards of excellence because it is human nature to ease off the gas pedal. It happens even to awesome people. 

Overall, a culture of love and responsibility is not that hard to create as long as you are willing to lead in love and responsibility. Gone are the days of yelling at people, creating fear as an employer and not relating to your staff. That doesn't create long term success in business. And the awesome gift that you are giving your staff is the crossover effect of this type of approach. You can take these principle and apply them to your personal life. I was told this a long time ago and I truly believe this...a good job does not take you away from your family, it brings them closer. Love the people in your life, but be responsible in that venture as well. 

Until the next time...

Dr. D
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