Do you regard your office as a community? Is it a place where, as soon you step into the front door, both you and your employees feel as if you all belong to a group team?
Well, I was delighted to attend the 25th anniversary concert of music legend Paul Simon’s Graceland on Sunday night, in Hyde Park in London. He celebrated 30 years of his seminal album with a three-hour set featuring Jimmy Cliff; the South African male choir, Ladysmith Black Mambazo; trumpet player Hugh Masekela and, of course, some of his original classics which have brought such joy to fans over the years.
As soon as I set foot in the park, I felt a part of this community. Here I was with a group of strangers, but within seconds we felt as one. A group of disparate people, brought together for one reason which was to share the joy and passion of the music that Paul Simon brought from South Africa to the West.
It has been raining for weeks, here in London, [in fact the wettest summer on record!] and everyone was wearing their Wellington boots so that we could walk around the parkland easily, although it made moving to the music a little difficult!
But it didn’t stop us from singing and dancing to the timeless songs from the consummate professionals on stage as we listened to the classic melodies from years back. And then, when the concert finished, our new ‘friendships’ also came to an end and we all trooped off back to our respective homes.
On my journey back home, I reflected on the fact that people who come together for a common goal and purpose bring about a powerful energy that can be used for the common good.
With that thought in mind, I wondered if your workplace is a place where people feel a sense of common purpose and are part of a community that genuinely strives for a common goal — other than the obvious one of making money. Is it is place that you come to in the morning with enthusiasm to help make, or offer, something that is better than that available elsewhere? Is your product or service the best available?
I can hear you say, “Well Carole, this is not a rock concert and we have a job to do!”, and I fully understand that. But, nevertheless, if by bringing people together and fuelling people’s passion, then that in turn will bring about a camaraderie and energy in the working together of minds and bodies with a common purpose.
As a stress consultant, I am invited into many workplaces that have stagnated due to lack of energy and purpose. No one communicates, heads are buried down into their computers, lunch is taken at the desk and the whole office feels heavy. There is no energy, let alone passion. So what can you do about it?
Well, I am not suggesting that you stage a rock concert but you could have activities that will bring the community closer together. Ask your employees what it is that they would like to see happen. Involving them is the first step towards bringing passion into the workplace.
Many people have creative pursuits outside of work but don’t bring them to the office. Find out how their creative passions could connect to your company’s business and then start to create potential ‘hooks’ that they can use to attach this passion to their job.
A colleague of mine is a dedicated gardener and once the company found out about her skills, she took over the whole of the office floral arrangements and now holds regular meetings about gardening which includes many of the office staff. So from being solely a computer programmer, she has now become a gardening ‘expert’ with her own team of people around — including the CEO!
So what can you do to bring creative passion to the workplace? Well, you could call on Paul Simon and organise a rock concert or maybe just do something a little more simple such as finding like-minded people to create special interest groups to bring real energy into the office.
And if you do manage to get hold of Paul Simon, then please send me an invitation!