Culture is the collective body of what, how and why you do what you do.
It has been said and demonstrated over the years that organizations work better and achieve more when employees take “ownership” of the company’s culture.
How does that work? What, exactly, do people “own?” Usually it’s not stock. And even if it is, stock ownership can feel financially transactional. It’s more opportunity than ownership.
So what is ownership?
It is purpose. People own their purpose. Purpose gives meaning to the doing part of life. Pursuing one’s life purpose can provide a deep sense of fulfillment; it feels like a life worth living.
When that purpose aligns with what they experience in their work, and their workplace, when they support and live their company’s real Values, when their purpose aligns with their company’s Vision and Greater Purpose – when those stars align – emotional ownership becomes a reality.
Sounds straightforward, and in principle, it is. Getting to that shared reality with lots of people is really hard. Perhaps that explains why so few company cultures experience that shared ownership. In fact, many leaders don’t even try. Instead, they double down on the tried-and-true means and methods to achieve greater shareholder wealth. Their rationale is simply that the world of business is quantitative by nature. Nothing will change that. Employee turnover is aligned with the natural order of things. It’s a normal cost of doing business. While financial incentives remain a primary weapon in the race to riches, additional lifestyle perks have come into play as well. Those perks can ease anxieties over things like healthcare and family time balance, and they can foster better human interactions. Yet, they still fail to ignite the passion of purpose.
Neuroscience has reliably demonstrated that those traditional beliefs and the actions they stimulate are obsolete. So what should/must we do instead? And what are the rewards – the ROI – for this transformative shift?
We will be sharing more on this topic in the coming weeks. To help enrich those writings, we invite you to share your thoughts and experiences in this area of “cultural ownership.” We think that we can begin to create some powerful conversations that will lead all of us to better, more fulfilling results.