Flourishing Corporate Soul Advances BusinessOrganizations have a soul. It is determined by interactions between the managers and the managed. Understanding this powerful organizational force will help leaders act to tap the energy of their people and create a stronger company.
Hall Thorp, a local entrepreneur and business executive said: “When leaders tap the personal purpose of employees and align these efforts with the purpose and goals of the organization it becomes a powerful animating force. This animating force is the corporate soul.”
There is much evidence to support him.
Leaders and researchers agree that motivation develops from within us, grounded in our basic human need to develop our skills and capacities, to act of our own accord and to connect and collaborate with others. This means that we do our best and most creative work when we have freedom and work toward meaningful goals; that is, we are fulfilling our personal purpose.
Further evidence comes from a Fortune magazine survey that eight out of 10 people would continue working even if they were wealthy and not need to work. The three most frequent reasons given were to develop their skills, to have a sense of service and to help themselves and others grow. In short, people seek to satisfy their personal purpose at work.
It is this personal purpose, our “GPS for personal fulfillment,” which must be tapped in the workplace to create a difference in the performance of the organization, Thorp said.
The corporate soul is not the culture of the organization. Culture is the norms and values defined by management; soul is the energy and action demonstrated by leaders and their employees. Culture is the “talk”; soul is the “walk.” Nor is the corporate soul a values statement, public relations initiative or employee picnic. The corporate soul is much more.
For a glimpse into the corporate soul, ask people at work if they find fulfillment, have leeway in what or how they do their assignments, are encouraged to offer ideas, are invited to participate in solving problems at the appropriate level, or are encouraged to expand and improve their skills. Positive responses indicate a flourishing corporate soul; negative responses are a sign of weak leadership and corporate soul.
There are three important leadership steps to create a flourishing corporate soul, Hall said. First, select people with positive personal goals. Second, share the company purpose and give your employees meaningful goals. Third, give them the gift of your attention.
With a flourishing corporate soul in place much will be accomplished.
Dr. Mark Frohman is the owner of Frohman Consulting Corp. and a counselor with SCORE, a nonprofit business-consulting group.