Let me be blunt.
In today's economic climate, your culture will make or break your company.
The way your employees feel about themselves, about each other, about the work they do and the organisation as a whole, greatly impacts the quality, quantity and consistency of their output.
The way your vendors, customers and competitors feel about your company will define the value, length and profitability of those relationships.
The way you feel about this conversation will shape the choices you make after we’re finished having it.
In other words, the way your business feels is now just as important as what it does.
And the individuals and organisations brave enough to explore this with enthusiasm, vigour and intent will be the leaders in tomorrow's business landscape.
But where do we start if we want to articulate and amplify the feel of our organisation? And how on earth do we begin a conversation about the feel of our business without sounding like a new-age, psycho-spiritual w@#ker?
Firstly I'll answer the second question.
Choose your audience. Just because you know the importance of culture and the need for fresh thinking about it, doesn't mean your team does yet. So unless you're courageous with your conviction and can withstand the jokes and jabs, I'd start slow, ask more questions and do lots of listening.
And as for where to look to understand the feel of your business?
Stop looking. Start noticing. There is a subtle distinction between the two that allows for vastly different experiences. When you look for something there is an intent. An agenda. You're searching and hoping to find something. And sometimes, this can get in the way of seeing what's already there.
When you notice the world around you, you are giving it your full attention. You're observing things as they are. Present to what is around you. Once you reside in this place of awareness, you can begin explore how it makes you feel.
Notice the reception area, the boardroom, the kitchen. Your business card, email signature, job title. How does the atmosphere of your office change at different points in the day? How do you feel before a meeting? In a particular person's company? Or after a spontaneous disruption?
This process is not about fixing, changing or even understanding the events around you. It’s merely a practice of curiosity and awareness. Learning to listen to both the world and yourself and the intersection between the two.
Developing soft skills like these are now vital to cultivating cultures that thrive. To succeed in today's business environment, leaders must read the energy of their people and sculpt the atmosphere of their workplace accordingly.
For some, it might still be too progressive to talk openly about our feelings, but that doesn't mean they don't feel. Knowing how to work with and in the energy of things is now as imperative as it is an advantage.
So how do you feel about that?