Here’s a scary thought: Try and picture a world without email.
Indeed, it’s hard to fathom our world functioning as we know it without the wonder that is email. It’s cheap, it’s fast, it’s convenient, it’s just… easy. Few words can be as harrowing and bone-chilling for a business as “email is down”.
But for all its immeasurable benefits, there is a dark side to email. One that can eat away at the very core of any business – even the most successful.
Ptex recently received quite a compliment. As of July, we are officially certified as a Great Place to Work® business.
To receive this prestigious accolade, GPW asked our employees to participate in their anonymous survey on their feelings regarding the workplace environment, culture, management, etc. and how it affected – positively or negatively – their job performance. I myself was not allowed to take part in this.
The unanimously positive results of the survey was quite touching.
As I’m sure many of you are aware, I place an enormous emphasis on company culture. It’s impossible to stress enough just how important it is for a business to create, maintain and sustain a great workplace.
While it’s always great to have internal recognition of our wonderful environment, it’s even more rewarding when that effort is recognized by those on the outside. The universal acknowledgement provides even more motivation to keep growing together as a team, to maintain the wonderful environment we’ve created.
Over the years, I’ve seen so many well-meaning business owners – motivated, focused individuals looking to grow their business – who just can’t seem to make that breakthrough towards sustained growth. Whether it’s erratic profits, high employee turnover, or other growth impediments, they just can’t seem to solve the puzzle.
Invariably, the issue is the same: they aren’t focused on their culture. They have eyes for profits and losses, red ink and black ink, for liabilities, operating costs, and equity. But they don’t pay enough attention to their most important asset: the employees.
Professor Jeffrey Pfeffer, of Stanford University, accurately summed up the responsibility of a leader:
“Your most important task as a leader is to teach people how to think and ask the right questions, so that the world doesn’t fall apart if you take a day off.”
Perhaps no concept in business is more essential, and at the same time so colossally misunderstood, than delegation. Any rational person knows that they have strengths and limitations. It follows, that tasks should be divvied based on each employees abilities.
Yet for some reason, many business struggle to properly delegate – and the consequences are severe. Sloppy projects. Missed deadlines. Angry clients.
Now before everyone gets up in arms, I’m certainly not advocating violence in any shape or form. But I do want to bring attention to a fundamental issue that, unfortunately, tends to get skated over a bit.
It’s no secret that company culture is a critical element to success in any business. It’s a huge reason for the success of companies such as Google, Zappos, and Southwest Airlines. Quality employees and valuable clients alike are attracted to a place with a vibrant, positive culture.
Great culture starts at the top. Those in executive and managerial positions have the power to set the tone for the workplace environment. It’s an enormous, far-reaching responsibility, because the environment they create will ultimately determine the quality of the employees and the business they attract. Guess that’s why they’re paid the big bucks.
There is a common denominator that all companies with great culture tend to share: they understand that there is a difference between managing and leading.