How do we create sustainable people in business? In order for a business to thrive and survive, especially in today’s fast-paced and stressful modern world, people need to be sustainable in a business workplace. They need to be around an environment that encourages sustainability, that will make them love and enjoy it and keep their energy well so that they can stay long term with the business or the company.
What would be some examples of sustainable business for someone?
The first thing is passion. You have to connect people to passion. What’s their purpose, what they love, or why they’re passionate about what they do. Because long after your willpower runs out every day, passion kicks in after that. It’s the person that’s passionate about something that will be watching some sort of documentary on the topic of choice long after everyone else has gone to bed. A person that is passionate will not even feel like they’re working hard when they love what they do. So how do you connect people to their passion? I think that’s individual for everyone, but if you can link that passion to the workplace agenda or objective or goals, then that’s going to massively supercharge the energy of the business.
The second thing I would say is the yin and yang balance. You’ve probably heard me talk about that before if you’ve watched a video but just about how we manage our energy day-to-day and that takes some energy and effort to practice it. So ‘yin’ is very much the receiving, the creating, the slowing down. I’d liken it to lucid dreaming or problem solving or resting or filling up or inspired learning. Whereas the ‘yang’ is the doing, the tasks, the execution, the actions, the sales calls, all that sort of stuff. If you want to sustain your people at work, or if you want to be sustainable at work, you need to balance that ‘yin/yang energy of yang, give, expend energy and; ‘yin’, receive and fill up. There are very quite incredible amazing tasks you can do at work that are very Yin-oriented that are powerful. For example, coming up with a creative idea is very ‘yin’. It might take a few hours to muse over something that’s really beautiful and creative, but once you execute it in a business, it can have far-reaching effects. Much more than quick-oriented administrative ‘yang’ tasks might have.
The third one is kindness and understanding. I’ve heard this workshop being bandied around ‘good is the new cool’ or even ‘kindness is the new currency’, and that’s so true. If we don’t have kindness or understanding in a work environment then people don’t feel like they can have their problems at work understood and managed. I remember really clearly when I worked in Advertising many years ago, that wasn’t necessarily a culture that was overly kind in terms of understanding people’s issues. However, I worked with a girl that had chronic pain. She had an illness that came on and she needed surgeries because of a lot of chronic pain. And I’ll never forget my beautiful manager at the time, Jane, she actually gave some money to this person and helped her have some time off and funded her while she wasn’t at work for a period of time to help with her recovery and pain management. When this person came back to work, she was just so connected to the culture. She was really thriving because she felt like she was looked after and there was kindness there. It’s all about how can we be more kind and understanding so that when people go through their ups and downs – and let’s face it, they will whether it’s illness or relationship issues or just struggling with life – when people go through ups and downs, if there’s some kindness that can be practiced around the way that they’re managed, then that person is going to be sustainable in your business long-term.
The other thing is flexibility. That’s a difficult one because everyone works very differently, but there’s a lot of workplace cultures that are bringing in work from home or giving flexible arrangements or working hours. I think that’s critical for us to survive as a culture, especially in the west, around how we work. We can’t be location-specific or time-specific all of the time. People work in different time zones and timeframes and we can’t just be this one-stop-shop. However, I have seen a lot of those flexible arrangements get really bent out of shape, and people take the abuse of them.
It’s really about how we empower people to be passionate. Be kind to them and give them flexibility within reason. Some people that are working from home and got a natural driven mindset. I’ve worked for myself for so many years now, it’s a natural muscle. But if someone starts working from home, and they don’t have those skills, we need to empower them, whether that’s filling their week or giving them a certain amount of outcomes, or doing what a friend of mine, Phil, does, called the ‘daily rock’, where they have a thing they just have to achieve every day that’s really powerful and big. Or as I said, I’m a big fan of ‘theming your week’. This week’s all about this event or this week is all about this sales deal, or this week all about staff reviews. Whatever it be, it’s really powerful to do that. Flexibility’s really important for people’s lifestyles so that they can sustain what’s happening. A lot of people’s lives are changing, there’s a lot more split families, there’s a lot more change in relationships at home and financial changes so flexibility is huge for sustainability.
And the last one that I’m going to mention in this video is culture. It’s a really widely banded term around but culture is really important to help people connect with what the business is about on a very emotionally intelligent level. So for example, we know that consumers make decisions around the limbic brain, the emotional brain. Do I identify with that value system?, do I think that’s emotionally the right decision? We know that people make quite big financial decisions based on the limbic brain. So if someone’s at an auction and they’re looking at buying a house and they’ve fallen in love with that particular house, some people – if they have the finances – will pay a hundred thousand dollars more for that property. Just so that they can get their emotional needs met. If we apply that same thing to people in the workplace, if you’re really connected emotionally to the culture, that’s going to be a longterm sustainable thing for someone. But if I’m not connected emotionally to the culture, I actually don’t believe it in or buy in it or connect to it, then it’s not going to take a lot for me to make an emotional decision to leave to go somewhere else or to explore other opportunities.
So, connect to their passion and purpose. Manage your yin/yang energy flow so that you’re not burning out, you’re filling up and giving out at the same time. Have some flexibility with how people like to work. Have kindness underpinning how you manage people or how you manage yourself. Kindness also relates to self and others. And also the culture is an environment that is matching the people that you’re working with. So having that culture really strong is important to sustainable people.
Hope that gives you some help to not only build a sustainable team for yourself if you’re a manager. But even if you’re someone who’s working in a team, this is what you need to thrive personally.
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