The moment I mention “team-building” in a corporate environment I get two distinct reactions. Top management smile sagely and point me to all the initiatives held, budgets spent and courses created in order to build a “more effective team” because, of course, everyone in the business “is part of one big family”.
We spend a lot of time talking about brand values and how to project them so that our audience can understand what they are and bond with the brand. We discuss work ethics and how to attain environments in which being ethical doesn’t have to be sacrificed in order to be profitable.
CEOs make decisions. But they don’t decide everything on their own. A business is a microscaled version of society. That means that there is always a flow of power through a business and that flow is never smooth and never quite according to seniority or experience or skillset or rank.
Mr Weasley, in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets admonishes us to “…Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can't see where it keeps its brain?”
Most companies measure how they are doing. They send out surveys to customers and then process, tabulate and look at the results.
When we ask those who work for us, or with us to exercise their initiative we are really asking those around us to make on-the-spot decisions that are for the good of the business exercising the same criteria that the CEO or the owners would.
Every company thinks it works. Every company will also say that as long as it works, everyone’s happy.
Everything we do is data. Even a lemonade stand is, essentially, a construct made out of the ingredients of the lemonade, the owner’s knowledge of his supply line, the algorithm that creates the price and the particulars that determine the cost of the stand, the determination of its placement and the reason for its set up, in the first instance.
We all do work to get money. Every company exists to make money. These are indisputable facts. But that’s not what makes us go to work and give our all. Nor does it make a company go out of its way to make sure its customers are happy.
Trust is driven by the understanding of our motivation and an estimation of the likelihood of our future behavior based upon direct previous experience or what others say about us (i.e. reputation).