Word Of the Week #570: Thrive

July 9, 2015 by  

Thriveto do well; prosper.

Do you work for a company that is doing well? Do you feel that you play an important part? Are you respected?

This week I am featuring Mian Ridge’s article from the Financial Times of London titled, “When workers thrive, companies do too.”

He writes, “Michael Lee Stallard, a business consultant from Greenwich, Conn. and the author of ‘Connection Culture: The Competitive Advantage of Shared Identity, Empathy, and Understanding at Work’ makes a strong point when he says that people are the most important part of a business. And focusing on operations and financials is not only wrong, but commercially foolish.

Companies with a ‘culture of connection’ – broadly speaking, one in which workers are able to ‘thrive for sustained periods of time’ – have a competitive advantage. Stallard spells this out, citing research that sounds plausible enough. Businesses with high ‘connection scores’ boast higher levels of profitability and productivity than those with lower scores.

The author also garners the findings of neuroscientists and endocrinologists to build his case, pointing out that ‘human connection’ has been found to reduce the levels of stress hormones in the blood, making us more likely to make rational decisions.

a thrive

Stallard attempts to draw up some broad definitions. He writes that humans have six needs at work: respect, recognition, belonging, autonomy, personal growth, and meaning. He offers suggestions for how employers can meet these needs, with practical advice on topics such as hiring and communication.

His exposition of the ‘connection culture’ is best made through the anecdotes he tells about the companies that got it right. When Alan Mulally was introduced as the new chief executive of Ford in 2006 and was asked what car he drove, he replied without hesitation, ‘a Lexus… the finest car in the world.’

His generosity to a rival did not do the company any harm.” Mulally led Ford to 19 consecutive profitable quarters and, having raised eyebrows at his introduction, was given a standing ovation at his retirement.”

This week’s focus is on making your business thrive. Is your company profitable? How productive is the staff? Is everyone given recognition? Is your work meaningful?

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