This blog is the second in a three-part series on entrepreneurship and the distinct opportunities inherent in creating entrepreneurial organizations. In the first part, we looked at entrepreneurship providing the framework to make a major impact in the world. In this piece, we will explore the opportunity that entrepreneurship provides to create a “Thank God It’s Monday (TGIM)” culture.
Corporate culture has become a hot button topic for U.S. based organizations as they attempt to recruit and retain top talent in an effort to stay competitive in their respective industries. Whether it’s Netflix’s recent announcement regarding unlimited paternity leave or Amazon’s recent flurry of press coverage concerning their controversial work environment, the US workforce is keeping a watchful eye on how organizations conduct their day to day operations.
Some have been so bold as to say that “culture beats strategy.” In fact, recent research suggests that implementing appropriate company culture policies can boost annual revenue by at least $16,000 per employee and profit by $2,500 per employee. That your organization will experience these results isn’t guaranteed – but what is certainly true is that a TGIM culture can provide a powerful, competitive edge in the marketplace, while simultaneously honoring God and honoring those created in His image. In order to achieve long-term success, I believe it is essential that leaders embrace the creation of a TGIM culture, and entrepreneurial companies provide the perfect environment for doing so.
As I shared in the prior blog, entrepreneurship starts with a person or small group of persons who see a need and feel a personal desire and passion to meet that need. To go further, I would say that the entrepreneurial process often has its roots in an individual or group of individuals sensing or hearing a calling from God to “take charge” of some problem or challenge. As that calling begins to take shape and an organization is formed, the team will have a one-of-a-kind opportunity to define how they will go about achieving their mission. They will have a unique opportunity to create a TGIM culture. What exactly does that mean?
In my experience, TGIM culture means that each team member is engaging in challenging and meaningful work – each person knowing that their individual contribution is significant and is an integral part of the larger whole. Second, each person will have ample opportunity for growth and advancement. God has wired each of us to grow and desire new, richer experiences. And if entrepreneurial environments are anything, they are greenhouses for human growth. Another feature of TGIM culture is that each team member and his or her efforts and contributions are being recognized by the company’s leadership. It doesn’t have to be terribly formal or fancy – but each of us want to know that we matter and that our work is making a difference. And, quite importantly, TGIM culture means that the fruits of success are being shared by each of those making a contribution to that success. Although surveys show that compensation ranks relatively far down the list of what makes one satisfied, it is essential that the rewards be fairly shared amongst the team.
I believe Jesus intended us to work together in a harmonious and fulfilling way by being in alignment with our organizations and those with which we work. Indeed, if you examine the “work environment” that Jesus created with his ordinary band of followers, you’d have to say it was a template for our organizations today. There was a common mission. A series of challenging assignments. Regular dialogue and interaction amongst the team. Teaching and training in order to replicate the mission on a broader scale. And, importantly, Jesus as the leader facilitating the larger purpose amidst his team’s diverse personalities and all-too-human tendencies.
The scriptures are full of language about relating to one another (all from The Message):
What you say to one another is eternal. Matt 18:18
Love one another. John 13:34
Reach out and welcome one another to God’s glory. Rom 15:7
Learn to be considerate of one another. I Cor 1:10
Use your freedom to serve one another in love. Gal 5:13
Entrepreneurial enterprises offer a rather special opportunity to experience these “one another” directives. There is essentially a blank canvas to put a team and organizational structure together. The rules of engagement and values of the enterprise can be clearly defined from the get-go, creating a collegial, honoring atmosphere from the start. A bonus is that TGIM culture can extend beyond the team of employees, positively impacting all stakeholder groups including investors, suppliers, customers and strategic partners.
A TGIM culture is also one committed to excellence in every arena. One wherein each person is exerting a strong effort and each work assignment executed as “unto the Lord.” One in which leaders and employees alike are committed to integrity as the standard governing all of their actions and interactions. This passage in The Message says it quite well:
Servants, do what you’re told by your earthly masters. And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. (Colossians 3:23)
A result of TGIM culture (or perhaps it’s a cause of it, too?) is that team members adopt the mindset and attitude of owner rather than that of employee. This mindset is further reinforced when the company’s prosperity is shared with the people making it happen – in both monetary ways (cash compensation and stock options, for example) and nominal ways (individual shout-outs, movie tickets, social events, free food, etc). Those with the mindset of owner will reinforce the TGIM culture, working harder, exhibiting more loyalty and making more sacrifices for the long term good of the company. And instead of team members just getting through the work week waiting for Friday to arrive, they will be energized, enthused and “fully present” every day. Bottom line – a TGIM culture is an environment to thrive, to flourish and be truly fulfilled in one’s work.
Today’s U.S. workforce is demanding that their employers provide a more rewarding and honoring company culture than ever before. Entrepreneurial organizations have a profound opportunity to respond. Perhaps an appropriate starting point is asking yourself a few pointed questions:
· Are you creating an environment where each team member can thrive? Where are you lacking?
· Is your organization committed to excellence and integrity in everything you do? If not, what areas could be improved?
· Are you sharing the company’s successes in meaningful ways with your team? How can you improve?
Ask the Holy Spirit for help as you wrestle with these questions and others that come to mind. I’m confident He will envision and encourage you in your pursuit of creating a TGIM culture in your organization.