So much business conversation today focuses on the dismal level of “employee engagement,” which is the professional way of saying “lack of commitment.” Very rarely, if ever, is the answer found elsewhere than in how the purpose, values and vision of the employee aligns with the purpose, values and vision of the organization.
In our book – BE YOUR OWN BRAND – my co-author and I discuss this vital topic. Whether you’re salaried or not, work by the hour, own the enterprise, have a fancy title or not, the purpose of your work is to create value in both tangible and intangible ways. When employer and employee agree on that purpose, the opportunity for dynamic synergy is created. In fact, magic can happen.
For many people, however, such alignment is more wishful thinking than reality. Work is work and the job is to be endured. No wonder many customers pronounce themselves dissatisfied with what they experience from the businesses with which they interact.
Every savvy business executive knows that great brands get their strength from inside the organization. Brand loyalty begins with the aspirations of the employees linking to those of their employer and being acted out in the everyday attitudes and behaviors experienced by customers. Perhaps, UPS does have an unpleasant driver, but in my twenty five year experience as a customer, that person is yet to surface. I even drive three miles to my dry cleaner, Best Cleaners, past their competitors because they live up to their name – they are the “best.”
Now, of course, work is not always a positive experience. There can be periods of time when you might be unhappy. That is true even at the highest levels of an organization. What is our best course of action during these times? It is first understanding that our brands, no matter the circumstances, are being strengthened or diminished every day.
Are we hiding out or shining out? Are we finding fault or finding solutions? Are we doing what is asked or are we adding value? Are we meeting standards or setting the standards? Whichever actions we choose make impressions on others that either build or weaken our brands.
So remember, it’s your brand, your career, and your life. Alignment is not about perfection, it is about the common ground that will allow you to commit your energies to something you believe in.
Investing the time to find alignment with your employer is a win-win for all involved. Both your personal brand and the company’s brand will undoubtedly be more successful because of it.