I recently read this quote from Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh on hiring:
“We’ve actually passed on smart, talented people who could have had an immediate impact on our bottom line because they don’t fit in with the company culture.”
I respect and admire the Core Values created by companies like Zappos. Specifically, when speaking of human capital and valuing your people, I appreciate:
Core Value No. 6 is “Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication” and Core Value No. 7 is “Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit”
It is no secret that people are important to the success of a business. However, how much emphasis is actually placed on valuing your people?
Integrity in relationships is key. It’s important that we invest personally in all of our relationships and that we treat people with respect. It is not difficult to build trust. Is is, however, difficult to RE-build trust once it has been broken. We can accomplish so much more through trusting relationships. They are absolutely vital to a team and communication is key. The greatest way to diminish trust is with gossip. As Blake Mycoskie discusses in his book, “Start Something That Matters,” some gossip is good. The well-intentioned gossip where you are talking about the award that your co-worker just won or a recent accomplishment for the firm. Unfortunately, it is the other type of gossip that can poison a company at all levels. In grade school my Mom used to say, “if they gossip to you, they will gossip about you.” It’s true. I know people who actively bad-mouth anyone whom they feel competitive with or they don’t like. The gossip is mean-spirited and in my opinion, stems from insecurity. There should be a zero-tolerance policy for this type of immature and hurtful behavior.
Passionate people who are empowered drive business results. Many companies today are empowering their people by things as simple as a title. At TOMS, the founder, Blake Mycoskie, has Chief Shoe-Giver printed on his cards. I’ve seen such unique titles as: Time Ninja, Brand Ambassador, Office Queen and of course there’s always printing with no title.
A title can not only give someone assumed authority, but it can also remove power from a capable person. Structure can stifle creativity. Empowerment is not only good for employee morale, productivity and efficiency, it is also good for customer service. How often do we spend what seems like hours on the phone with a customer service representative, that has no authority (or hasn’t been empowered) to provide solutions to customer service issues. Instead, you are continually transferred to the next “supervisor” in hopes that someone you speak to will actually have the authority to fix the situation. Do not put your people in a box. Hire intelligent, capable people, give them a job to do and then get out-of-the-way. When they make a mistake, because they will make mistakes, offer solutions, resources and support. Your people have to know that they can make mistakes. They also have to know that their leaders make mistakes.
People want to feel like they are apart of something that matters. Empowerment can do that. It can also provide a platform for innovation; cultivate an atmosphere of trust; and build loyalty.