Carry Your Fair Share

Business Office Team WorkI worked with a client recently that has a remarkable organizational culture. The success they enjoy is based, they believe, on the concepts of what they call their “adult business deal.”

Employees love to come to work each day. They enjoy a workplace built on dignity and respect for everyone – no matter their role or rank.

They are highly productive. They work cooperatively to address challenges that arise.

Employees say that they’ve never worked in a team culture like this. They believe their bosses and the senior leaders of this small organization are their “best bosses ever.”

How did these leaders enable such high performance and values alignment in their company?

This organization’s aligned work environment began with crafting a fair share and adult business deal agreement. This document outlined the concepts and specific people principles that the company leaders wanted lived in the organization each day.

Their formalized people principles include:

  • All team members are viewed as mature and responsible individuals.
  • We build relationships based on mutual trust and respect.
  • We recognize the skills and contributions of every team member.
  • We treat everyone fairly, honestly, and with dignity.
  • We enjoy a positive, blame-free but accountable work environment.
  • We are one team working together towards common goals.
  • We thrive on open communication and share information freely.
  • We maintain positive interpersonal relationships based on the timely resolution of differences.

Every employee signed a document that indicates their understanding of these expectations and their promise to demonstrate these principles in their workplace every day.

With these agreements in place, the hard work began! The hard work is the day-to-day modeling of these principles by leaders and the coaching of all staff to model these principles, in every interaction.

Some of their strategies for constantly reinforcing these principles include:

Daily huddles – Every team meets for 20 minutes at the start of their workday. The previous days successes – by teams and by individuals – are celebrated first. Then, “misses” are discussed. No one is blamed but everyone listens to learn what happened and how to ensure those mistakes aren’t made again. The focus isn’t on people issues but on process issues – that’s what they believe is the root cause of most “misses.” Finally, big projects or jobs for the day are reviewed. Everyone leaves these huddles with clarity and intention to contribute their best.

Validating, coaching and counseling – Leaders spend a great deal of their time “managing by wandering around.” They know employees names – even of employees that they don’t work with often. They greet everyone with a smile and a kind word. They look for things going well – and validate team member’s efforts as well as accomplishments. When issues arise – personal or process – leaders pull team members aside to investigate the situation. Based on what they learn, they invite team members to help fix process issues and to repair relationship issues, promptly.

Celebration – There are a lot of things going well in this company. Leaders say they spend 2/3 of their time celebrating great people principles in action and only 1/3 of their time monitoring performance and production.

Your team, department, or division can make these refinements and enjoy the benefits of these concepts. Your fair share and adult business deal may involve different principles, which is fine. What is important is to create a foundation of people principles that create #WorkPlaceInspiration, today.

What do you think? To what extent does your team environment today demand civil relationships based on dignity and respect? How promptly are differences resolved in your workplace? What great people principles does your team model? Share your thoughts about this post/podcast in the comments section below.

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