I’ve had a very busy last few days with travel, meetings, phone calls and, well, running an agency. I was asked at a client lunch the other day what my company’s values were. I responded “respect” and “responsiveness” as two of them. What that means is that I want to be the best team, the best marketing agency, and be known for always being respectful and for being communicative. Responsiveness does not mean passiveness or weakness; it means we’re communicating firmly, clearly, efficiently with no wasted effort. These two virtues are the two things which have gotten me farthest in my life, and are two of my cornerstones.
Obviously, the people around me have to share those virtues. If they don’t, then it’s not a good fit. If they do, then it is a great fit. And when that happens, it is to be celebrated! Your colleagues absolutely have to know every day how much you care about them as people and what you’re willing to do for them. They’re your biggest asset, and the ones who share your common values and bestow that on other employees, clients, colleagues and more.
Another way to think about it is: no matter what your company’s values are, your people are the ones to carry those values out. This is why when I hear, and more importantly see, companies and businesses treating their people well, and seeing their people enjoying their lives because of it, I just know they’re going to succeed. I was lucky enough to visit one such place this week, in fact. An amazing workplace and workforce that has been recognized as such, but more important than awards is actually what you feel and experience being a part of it. It is no wonder this business is doing very well. The difference between a creative, energetic, and dynamic workplace culture versus one that’s not is seriously night and day.
I hear and read (and personally know) lots of leaders who talk about the importance of their people. More and more of them are throwing these ideas around than a few years ago. Some leaders who have never respected their colleagues in their life are suddenly saying “oh yeah, you gotta treat your people well.” In fact, I recently read one piece from an executive I know talking about the importance of people and having your leaders be accountable for creating culture and acting swiftly to do so. Since I know this person, I know this is total bull shit. It’s the old cliche of “talking the talk, versus walking the walk”, and I guess the takeaway is that a focus on people and culture actually does work and is a priority for companies or else people wouldn’t be jumping on the bandwagon. The thing is…you can’t fake it.
I know this for certain: when you create the right culture with the right people, you know it, you see it and you can feel it. And that’s the important one: you can feel it. Others can too. How does this tie to results?
I’m no scientist, but I can tell you based on personal experience that it has always – in every single competitive situation I’ve been in from sports to corporate executive to running my agency – been the people, culture and environment that created exponential growth and success. Not the other way around.