Occasionally, you find people so proud and excited about the organization that they belong to. That is the way it is supposed to be. The word “belong” is instructive. Belonging has a connotation of voluntary involvement.
I can tell you from the get-go that belonging is an intangible and yet such a powerful thing that is brought about by a connection of “spirits”.
You don’t get connected to someone’s whose spirit is contrary to yours, do you?
Can you in all possibility say “I belong to this and that”, if there is no charitable intention from your end? Hardly. It is easy though to say things such as, “I work for…” or “I am a Manager at…” The vein in which those statements are made is different from saying, “I belong to”. It is a matter of the spirit involved.
I think the worst thing we see in organizations is them having people that do not “belong”, not that they are not needed, but that they are not connected to the spirit of the organization.
The problem we have when creating and forming organizations is that some of the people that we end up working with are working with us for other reasons other than being connected in spirit with what we espouse. It is compounded with the fact that we are depending on these people to move our "cause" forward. This is perhaps the greatest challenge in organizations today, seeing that our cultures today have veered so much from the essence of purpose and the spirit behind doing what we do to cultures of seeking to simply “make it in life.”
6 Signs You Have It All Together
The following are some of the ways that can tell you that the spirit of your organization is alive and well.
Goodbye to Carrots and Sticks
When the members of your organization are not motivated by incentives or scared by punishments if they do not do what is required of them, then the spirit of that organization is alive and well. Take a look around you. What is the situation with your organization? Do you need to have people “clock” in and out so you can measure their attendance? There is a huge saying in the corporate world, “People do what you inspect, not what you expect”. Well, why is that? Probably it is because the level of the spirit in that organization is low. However, when you find your employees needing no warnings, follow-ups and pay rise to do what you are up to as an organization, you are on a great course. The question is, how in the world can you make sure that this is the case with your organization? That has partly been answered in a previous article.
From Commoditization to Causes
When your organization (even as a for-profit business) appreciates the value it offers to people more than it does the money it receives from people, chances are that the spirit in your organization is alive and well. However, when your relationship to your employees and your clients is overly transactional in nature, you have prioritized commodities over the spirit. Each business must be a cause for something. Causes are always spirit-led.
For the most part, the spirit will be concerned about change, influence and making other people better. It will prioritize this over money and resources. Whenever members of your organization are not so bogged down with selfishness but get to learn to appreciate and work for impact, change, influence and betterment of society, the spirit of your organization is alive, well and kicking.
A Great Sense of Belonging
People generally love to be associated with vision. When the vision of your organization is clear, people rally around it and feel proud to be connected to it. The environment under which they work “spiritually” is charged with good will, care and concern for one another were well as excitement and pride to work. That spirit brings about great engagement at work. The contrary is also true. When the level of the “Spirit” in the organization is low, the working environment is boring, sometimes akin to a prison. Engagements levels are low and people are busy polishing their resumes and attending interviews secretly. Engaged employees feel secure and part of the organization and the paradox is that they do not need to look for new jobs, those new jobs look for them.
When you see people in your organization growing and the organization itself growing, it will be for the most part in response to the presence of a strong and healthy spirit of the organization. You will see the excitement in people’s work as well as innovation and creativity. You will see people coming to you with ideas on how things can be better or with warnings on where we are doing wrong. There is a genuine spirit of concern and commitment to the organization.
Care for one another
Where the spirit of the organization is alive and well, you will see a great spirit of a family being created. People genuinely care one for another. They care for each other on matters outside of work such as family. They do this automatically because whenever there is a great spirit in the organization, it causes people to think about “humanity” more than targets and tasks. The vibrancy in the organization is something to envy them for. The same cannot be said when the focus of the organization is not spirit-filled or Spirit-led.
People work to make a difference and not to be paid
I know, I know. This sounds so foreign and actually impossible. But it’s not. The easiest example I can give you is some special forces in countries that pay the ultimate price to protect their nations. I know that is going overboard but you get my point. Spirit as already mentioned is concerned about causes and not commodities. When you have nurtured the spirit of your organization well enough, the people that are working with you to a large extent will enjoy more of psychic income (the sense of meaning and fulfilment they get from doing their jobs), than they would monetary income. This is not to say that the monetary income is useless. It is needed because money is a resource. I ought to add quickly though that you cannot expect people to thrive only on psychic income. There has to be a balance between the two.
I believe that if you see some or more of these signs within your organization on a consistent basis, a culture will have been formed based on the spirit of the organization. When that is done, oh what a day! Wait for revolutions!