I was a founding partner of an amazing management consulting firm, called Mitchell Madison Group, which started life in 1994. In 6 short years we grew MMG to a firm with 750 consultants in 16 offices across the world. Our main competitor, McKinsey & Company (where I worked for 6 years) had taken 50 years to grow to that size. What separated MMG out from the other firms I had worked in (Price Waterhouse, Deloitte, McKinsey and AT Kearney) was an amazing organisation culture. It was a culture that introduced talented young people and allowed them to grow really fast. It was also a culture where the leaders spent a large slice of their time with clients and with the teams - that is why our young people grew so fast and why our clients chose to grow our firm.
As I read through Chris Edmonds' book, I was struck about how much we had done right. We created A Culture Engine that was unique and compelling and attractive to clients and staff. Many of my partners lived to a personal model that underpinned that Culture Engine. MMG was sold in 1999 and sadly disappeared in the aftermath of that sale and the 2000 dot com crash. MY guess is we could have had a very different outcome had we followed Chris Edmonds prescriptions a little more specifically, rather than the implicit way we had done. We had a vision of what we wanted to achieve. However, we never had a formalised organisation consitution. We did build into our evaluation systems all of the elements needed for a personal constitution as a continuum of skills (and culture) so that any member of the firm knew how to grow all the way through a career. Not all our partners had their own personal constitution crystallised.
Chris has penned this guest blog about the very subject of job, career or calling
Job, Career, or Calling?
How do you view your work? Is it drudgery? Is it somewhat , somewhat , or possibly even ?
Most employees see work as a , a means of funding life’s necessities. Some employees see work as a , a profession they can contribute to for years. A very few see work as a , an avenue for meaningful contributions in service to others.
are a dime a dozen. People change jobs all the time. When one isn’t particularly engaged at work, there isn’t much lost when moving from one job to another.
A brings a deeper level of commitment and engagement. A career requires long-term involvement, learning and progressing in skills over time. It’s a profession that requires investment of time, talent, and sacrifice.
Over the course of one’s career, one might work at a number of different companies that provide avenues for professional growth and development.
A is the deepest level of commitment and engagement. A calling is a purpose-driven, meaningful pursuit to improve the quality of life of others. It’s a service-oriented, heart-aligned, inspiring avenue. It may take years to discover your calling. Once you find it, time flies. Engaging in your calling recharges you and inspires you to your very core.
Some employees never find a calling in their workplace. They may find their calling outside of work – or they may never find their true calling, at all.
What causes employees to see work as a job, a career, or a calling? Leaders have a tremendous influence on employee’s perceptions of their work. Specifically, the leader’s plans, decisions, and actions, day in and day out, can make employees see their work as one of those three “levels” of inspiration.
Do leaders pay attention to their powerful influence on employee perceptions? Not really. Most leaders spend every waking moment on their product or service – developing them, marketing them, getting them into customers’ hands. Leaders put more thought into their products and services than into crafting a safe, inspiring team culture for employees.
Yet culture drives everything that happens in their organizations.
How can leaders ensure their work environment treats team members with respect and dignity, that inspires great performance, deep engagement, and WOW’ed customers?
Leaders do so through the creation of an organizational constitution. An organizational constitution is a formal document that outlines the business’ purpose, values and behaviors, strategies, and goals.
Once these expectations are mapped out, leaders must model, coach, and reinforce them. Leaders must invest as much time and energy in team values and citizenship as they do in managing results. By doing so, they create workplace inspiration – not workplace fear and anxiety.
If team members are consistently treated with dignity and respect by bosses and peers, they actively engage in the success of the business. They apply discretionary energy. They have fun. They love serving customers.
Employees who act like that, who are engaged like that, feel called to their work.
Workplace inspiration doesn't happen casually. It takes intentional effort on leaders’ parts, every day.
About Chris Edmonds
Chris Edmonds is the founder and CEO of the Purposeful Culture Group, which he launched after a 15-year career leading and managing teams. Since 1995, he has also served as a senior consultant with the Ken Blanchard Companies. Chris has delivered over 100 keynote speeches to audiences as large as 5,000, and guided his clients to consistently boost customer satisfaction and employee engagement by 40+% and profits by 30+%. He is the author or co-author of six books, including “Leading At A Higher Level” with Ken Blanchard. His next book, "The Culture Engine:A Framework for Driving Results, Inspiring Your Employees, and Transforming Your Workplace" will was published by John Wiley & Sons in September 2014.
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