When we think about it, we all know a business is really the sum of the people within it. Yet our root perspective often forces us to believe something else: How many times in any given week do you hear someone say “I work for INSERT COMPANY HERE”? Indeed, how many times per week do you say this?
That idea of “working for the man” has always had negative connotations, at least here in Australia. Fighting hard to shift this root perspective – often the autonomous default response we give with little thought or insight – is both personally empowering and impactful on the culture within your team, your business division and your entire company.
Now, I’m not writing this with any claims on being an expert in organisational culture. I am writing as someone who’s lived it… is living it… as many of us are. Recently I was part of a discussion with some interesting and inspiring people which gave me some clarity and kicked off this thinking.
Who do you work for, really?
Firstly, nobody really works for their company, do they? We may work in a company, but we really work for our customers. Let’s use me as an example: I don’t come to work to serve Microsoft, I come to work to help Microsoft serve its Partners and Customers. I work in Microsoft for our customers.
Having this simple realisation can create a more customer-centric culture, even if at first it just starts with you. Decisions begin to be made with the customer first and foremost in mind. It becomes less about what “they” want or what you feel you have to do because of “them” – “them” and “they” being the boss, the management team, or the big wigs in the fancy suits in the corner offices…whatever “them” and “they” happens to represent to you.
Perspective shift creates human connection.
In fact, this shift in perspective helps eliminate that whole “us and them” type mentality. I’ve been in companies and teams over the years where the very fabric of the place has been torn apart through this counter-productive mindset. Our default root perspective of working for a company only contributes to it. Whereas shifting the root perspective helps everyone understand they’re all on the same side working for the same people: the customers. Eliminating “us and them” makes a company more people-centric, brings people closer, encourages openness and authenticity and ultimately connects us more as humans.
And that should be the end goal: Recognition by you and your people you’re not the staff who work for your company, but the Human Beings who make it. This perspective shift drives a raw open and authentic human connection with your colleagues. With this surely comes a stronger bond, greater influence, more passion and superior success than the mere coincidence of people coming together to work for the same company could ever deliver.
So next time someone asks you “what do you do”, take a breath and say “I make up a part of INSERT COMPANY and we work for our customers”. I bet you’ll feel better just for saying it out aloud.