Here are a couple of questions to kick us off from the context of being the employee. How many of you know what your company vision is? It's sense of why? What about its current mission? Now dig a little further, what about the chosen strategy to take you there?
Hmmm….. let me think….. was I told this during my on boarding or induction? Even if I was, I can’t seem to remember!
Well, don’t be too down-hearted if you can’t, not many people do and even fewer businesses are explicit about it, let alone try to live and breathe this stuff.
You see, for most of us, we want to have a sense of meaning, purpose or mission. Something to feel connected to, its why religion is so attractive and powerful. Now granted, it's this search for meaning that occupies our thoughts more and more as we grow older or in times of stress. One mustn’t underestimate its power. If you happen to have it, why not help a colleague, friend, company or even a family member with theirs. It’s a remarkable gift to give someone.
Now, before you run off and start shouting where are you going with this stuff, it’s all a bit deep and meaningful, let’s look at Stephen Covey. Stephen Covey in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People talks about “Begin with the end in mind” - Habit 2. How many people do you know that are aware of their personal vision or go one step even further, their eulogy? Do you? Maybe you are just the same as the company you work for, unclear, vague and or don’t give as much thought to it as you could or should.
More and more companies are now starting out to explore and seek, meaning, and most of all clarity around one's destination. If it's absent in corporate life, it's the job of the leader to provide this clarity and direction. This is where we are going and this is how we propose to get there! Management may deal with things, but leadership deals with direction and people going in that direction.
"Things which matter most, must never be at the mercy of things which matter least." said Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
So what does CTi or iTC actually mean and which one are you? Well, C stands for Company, T for Team and the I is you, the Individual. It's a simple framework that acts as a mirror, or anchor if you like on how you, your team and company should make its decisions. How many of us are honest enough to say they are happy to commit to making decisions in the best interest of the company, 1st - its vision so to speak, then the team and finally put themselves last… More often than not, it's the other way around. How will this affect me, maybe then my team and very rarely the company?
So why is that….? Many say, "Well it's not my company" or come up with a number of alternative reasons to justify the order or externalise and take little ownership. What would it be like if you had the clarity of personal and professional vision? - That sense of WHY… the courage In your conviction to make the tough decisions with that as your back drop….Choosing a mission that takes you closer and closer to realisation, remembering to stop along the way to celebrate the success.
How easy would it be then to identify the right strategy to choose? Proceeding to go on a journey of validated learning to determine if the chosen path is the correct one and if not, be agile enough to pivot to a new path. Always knowing what you are working towards results in personal and professional fulfilment. Look around you, check in with yourself this morning on the way to work. Am I clear about where I/we are heading and why? If not, I urge you to seek yours out.
You see, I only share this post as a matter of my own validated learning from both an employee and employer perspective. The moment i realised a different frame of reference, paradox, paradigm, call it what you will. I was then able to really empathise with what the company was trying to achieve and more importantly, why it exists in the first place.
You can’t really complain if your chosen path is to be an employee and work for someone else. So ease up and stop kidding yourself, it's not your company or money after all. Instead, enjoy the ride but ultimately remember more often than not, you won't be the one calling the shots. If that comes as a shock, then better late than never.
That little gap between stimulus and response is your moment to choose. Choose your response. You can always become an entrepreneur and build your own company. If not, stick with the path as an employee but support the company 1000% with theirs. You’ll become a lighthouse for others, protecting them from themselves and shining a light on what it’s like to build a truly, world-class culture of substance. That’s called being a leader, someone who’s prepared to go first!
No business I’m aware of truly sets out to deceive and create an environment or culture of manipulation, self-preservation, distortion, selfishness and ultimately a group of individuals all running around to serve their own interest. So, before you hit delete and externalise saying to yourself, "I’m not the one adding to any of this, its something or someone else’s problem”. You may very well be lacking self-awareness and contributing to your own demise, lack of engagement and even unhappiness. Just remember, if you do have the strength of courage and conviction to unconditionally go first and put CTi at the forefront of your decision making, I salute you for being the very lighthouse that someone was for me one day.
A final thought…. Next time you are in front of a mirror, check in with your own sense of self. Have no doubt, if you are within integrity and supporting and making decisions based on your company first, then team, continue to burn brightly as a lighthouse for others. If not, it’s never too late to GO FIRST and be that leader. The leader of self. It’s amazing how fulfilled you might become and how others look to you for strength.
CTi is strength in numbers, a community, an abundance mentality on a path to a collective and shared vision. If not, choose a path of iTC, full of fear and scarcity. Either way, you decide, but do it knowingly and consciously.