Over the years, we listened as our clients told us what is important in their dealings with our team members. At the top of their list were the following attributes:
- Thought Leadership
We adopted our original guiding principles in 2000 to help lead our managers, staff, freelancers, consultants, and clients to consider and follow:
- Human Capital Principles that guide our relationships with our people and our clients
- Data and Privacy Principles that guide our use of confidential information held in trust
- Green and Sustainability Principles that guide our use, reuse, reduction, recycling, and replenishment of materials and resources that impact the environment both locally and globally
- Create an environment where people feel good about themselves. Research has shown that managers spend three times as much time telling people what they did wrong as telling them what they did right. How often you can spot somebody doing something right?
- Give people freedom. When did you personally work at your best? Probably when you were given freedom and trusted to do it your way. Is this what you provide for your people? Have they been challenged, trusted and given freedom?
- Ensure our people are working within our organization’s principles and have clear targets. Make the framework crystal clear, then give people the freedom to work out their own way to achieve it – this will create opportunities for innovation.
- Feedback is crucial to job ownership. Ensure that your people regularly receive feedback from their internal or external customers. And ownership reinforces both responsibility and innovation — if people genuinely have full ownership, they will make sure it works.
- Choose our managers according to how good they are with people. Do you appoint managers on the basis of core skills or length of service, regardless of their ability to motivate, support, and develop staff?
- Ensure our managers know how they are doing with their staff. Do your managers regularly receive peer and upward appraisals?
- Recruit people for attitude, then train for skills. At the interview, do you test people on their ability to talk through their core values, and their ability to do the tasks? What about whether they show positive attitude, how supportive they are to others, or their ability to cope with change?
- Systems, not rules. Trust everyone to do their jobs to the best of their ability – with a clear set of principles and a framework, but without detailed rules and instructions. Have you ensured that a process or system can be changed if any member of staff can find a better way to meet the needs of customers?
- Celebrate mistakes. Saying ‘I got it wrong’ is a sign of responsibility and an indication of an honest and open corporate culture. If people haven’t made any mistakes, they probably haven’t tried anything new. Does your culture ensure people remain open or does it stifle learning?
- Have fun and do great things. Does your team enjoy their work? Are you creating an environment where people can make great accomplishments?
- Eat well. Nourishing the mind, the soul, and the body are the intertwined foundations of great people. What are you doing to ensure your people are learning, growing, and healthy? Is your team well-fed?
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