Successful Human Communities

I read somewhere recently that a successful business is actually just a successful human community.

I wrote it down in my tiny ‘Thinky Thoughts’ notebook, which I take everywhere for moments like these;

‘a successful business is a successful human community’

I’ve been in employment now for just over a decade. I did a lot of travelling and a lot of temp work, so in that time I’ve had a very diverse experience of the workplace. I’ve worked in a wide array of different offices, bars, shops and even co-work spaces.

Funnily enough, I’ve always felt you can put a workplace into one of just two categories.

Category one: a happy workplace

Category two: an unhappy workplace

I think there’s a formula for a happy workplace - for a successful human community, and here’s what I think that formula is:

  1. Cause.

You need a common cause. A goal, an aim, a good fight to fight together.

It’s for this reason that I believe all human communities need to be working towards goals that ultimately benefit other people. We’ve got to be in it for everyone, not just for ourselves — we need that constant reminder that it isn’t all about us.

You could be working to take homeless people off the street, to support small businesses in using creative methods to grow or to give customers the option to buy cruelty free make-up.

As long as the aim is to enhance someone else’s life in some way, you’ve got a cause that people can believe in.

2. Trust.

I currently have two part-time jobs in which I have a lot of free reign. I feel like my employers trust me to do the right thing, and so I always do the right thing. Trust breeds trustworthy behaviour.

I’ve worked in so many places where the employees are distrusted from the offset — the result is that they behave in an untrustworthy way. Treating your employees with suspicion is bad leadership.

3. Dialogue.

Stories change the world right?

The more I learn about the stories behind the people I work with, the more connected I feel to them. These connections make a team run like clockwork, so it’s worth making the time for post-work socials.

4. Vulnerability

We are all equal, no matter what our job title. Showing vulnerability is not the same as showing weakness — in fact it’s a weakness not to show vulnerability!

To show your vulnerability, to hold your hands up every so often and ask for help, shows that you care more about delivering good quality work than about your own ego.

Showing vulnerability makes the workplace a safe space in which people can collaboratively find the best ways of doing things. Showing vulnerability is vital!

That’s my formula for a happy workplace — or a successful human community. I’m going to start calling it that instead.