by Christan Hiscock, co-founder and CEO of Kardia
With burnout, lack of engagement, and productivity issues costing companies millions every year, and band aid efforts to fix the problem costing even more, it seems obvious that the way most companies are conducting business isn’t working.
That’s why we need to shift the focus to heart-centered company practices instead, especially if you really want to amplify growth in your business.
The Heart-Centered Basics
Having a team that wants to come to work starts with a basic understanding of what people need to feel happy while they’re there. That means giving an F – or three – in these areas:
We have a society that’s hyper-focused on success. It’s seen as the pinnacle we have to reach to be happy, yet a look at the headlines shows how the most successful people among us really feel. Reports of alcoholism, drug addiction, eating disorders, mental health struggles and suicide are widespread. That’s because the measurement for success comes from outside of us. It’s what other people say we need to do, and then, when we reach it, the bar gets moved.
So clearly, focusing on success isn’t the answer for us as people or as business owners. That’s why we need to shift our focus to fulfillment instead… because if you’re fulfilled, isn’t success a given?
Think about that for a second.
Fulfillment is an intrinsic measurement. It’s completely personalized. And when you have it, you feel like you’re in perfect alignment. It feels good. So, the question becomes, how do we help our people feel more fulfilled at work?
The answer is to help them understand how their personal values tie in with the company’s values, and how the work they do aligns with both. But we can’t do that unless we’ve set our company’s values, and we make sure everyone is living by them. Which is actually how we meet the fairness factor inside our businesses.
We’ve all experienced environments where there are favorites that get away with everything and get recognized for anything, while everyone else seems invisible – unless they do something wrong, then that’s pointed out immediately.
People want fairness and they want to be appreciated for who they are and what they do. The easiest way to find balance, maintain fairness and improve your culture too, is to set your company values and make sure everyone understands what it means to live by them. Then, lead by example. People will mirror what you do.
That kind of consistency across the board, with everyone doing the right thing because they use the company values as their guide, builds trust, decreases engagement issues, and improves productivity because you have a level playing field. It’s simple and hugely effective.
And that brings us to the final F you have to give in your company… Freedom.
Autonomy is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your people and to yourself. Traditional thought is that people will give the least amount of effort necessary to get the job done. That’s why we get so much micromanagement. But the problem is, micromanagement actually decreases productivity because it creates fear and anxiety. As soon as you have people constantly worried about making a misstep, they lose the ability to think clearly and focus fully on the tasks they’re meant to do, tanking productivity.
The reality is that people who are given autonomy are far more productive because they take ownership of their work. They want to do well and they will set their own bar to reach, based on their own intrinsic drivers. That’s when they’ll actively look for ways to get better at what they do. They also have far less stress because they’re not constantly worried about doing something wrong, which in turn makes them even more productive. That’s going to amplify your business radically.
The more freedom you can give your teams and team members, the better off your company will be. Realizing this has been pivotal in my business journey with Kardia.
Amplifying Business Growth.
Once your F’s are in place, you then have two main jobs as a heart-centered leader: to communicate a clear vision for your company and to make sure your people have the support they need to bring that vision to life.
When everyone understands the bigger picture, their part in it, and the specific goal you’re trying to reach for the year, quarter, month or for the current project you’re working on, you’re halfway there. That’s the time to stand back and trust them to figure out how they are going to make it happen.
People intrinsically want to do a good job. They want to feel like they’re making progress and making a difference with their efforts. When you give them the freedom to ask questions, learn from mistakes and look for creative ways to do things better, they will produce higher quality work because of it.
The other half comes into play when you give them support as needed. It’s important to set up regular check-ins with your team to see how things are going and ask how you might be able to help. Ask them about the resources they need to be even more effective. Listen to their ideas and concerns and then take action on them. That open dialogue shows your heart-centered nature, that you actually care about the people on your team and that you’re willing to listen to them.
Why would anyone want to leave a company like that? Simply taking the time to connect with your team members will massively decrease your turnover rates, increasing your bottom-line profitability at the same time.
Put it into Action.
We all want to be treated fairly. We all want to feel like we’re part of something greater. And we all want to experience the fulfillment that comes when we have the freedom to be ourselves and use our natural gifts and talents to make a difference. When you put heart-centered company practices into place and work with your team, you will find they are more than willing to work as hard as they can for you, amplifying your company’s reach, the amount of business you get to do, and the impact you get to make in the world.
Christan Hiscock is co-founder and CEO of Kardia and leader of 14 thriving companies. Through Kardia, which means heart in Greek, Christan is determined to bring more heart into the business world. Heart in the form of kindness, compassion and altruism. Heart that fuels, roots and guides each company to do the right things for its team members, clients and for the greater communities they serve.