Last week, in the days leading up to ‘Super Bowl Sunday’ I saw an article that definitely caught my attention. It was written by former professional basketball player, Walter Bond. As he enthusiastically anticipated the game last weekend and the decision as to which super bowl invitation to accept, he wrestled with making a decision that was ‘politically correct’ i.e. the boss invites you or … going to the place where, in its’ purest form, he could enjoy the game the best … where he could be himself!
And then he says this: “The workplace is no different. You should look at your company like a party planner looks at a Super Bowl gathering.” Huh? Really now? Come on … work is serious!
So if we give him the benefit of the doubt and just get curious, Bond’s questions are thought provoking regardless of our position or where we work. To the extent we consider ourselves to be professionals, intent on furthering our careers and our success, the decision about where we work will have a significant impact on us and others who are an important part of our lives..
Let’s presume that, without a doubt, you possess the technical qualifications to handle the job. How does the atmosphere (or the “culture”) within a company add to or detract from your success? How does it allow “you” to really be “YOU”? Drawing upon some of Bond’s points, here are some valuable determinations you can make:
- Is the corporate culture one that is actually enjoyable? Do those who work there enjoy coming to work every day? As you observe your own interactions and those of others what do you notice? Pleasant … respectful … even fun? Or, just something blah and neutral … or worse, filled with tension?
- Do you know that you and others enjoy coming to work? If yes, there is no resistance to coming in early or staying late. If no, there’s a tendency to arrive late and leave early and not fully engage in the work needing to be done, much less the overall mission of the company.
- Honestly, do you really enjoy digging in and getting the job done in the best possible way? Do you see this in others around you? Or … are you aware of the pain … people just getting through the day on the way to their next pay check?
- What’s your sense of how employees are respected? Is there an atmosphere where ideas are encouraged – where creativity is rewarded? Or is it pretty much a “top-down-do-what-I-say-and-don’t-ask-questions” kind of place?
- Does your company do things to encourage interaction on a ‘social level’ to help further the sense of belonging and team … or not?
Because you are determined to climb the success ladder, it would be wise to take stock of where you work. In doing this you can ascertain that the importance you place on making the right choice for your own success is just as important to the organization in terms of what atmosphere they foster. If we’re going to work hard at the game, why not play someplace where we WILL enjoy it at its best? So maybe Bond’s point has merit. As he concludes, if you see others leaving or are inclined to do so yourself, perhaps the organization hasn’t yet learned how or know the value of throwing a good party. Making money, while it involves hard work, should be fun! Think you can influence changes to let the party begin? The effort might have a BIG payoff!