The 20% Work For Me. I Make Sure Of It.

The 20% Work For Me. I Make Sure Of It.

When Gallup polled US workers last year, they found that 80% of people don’t like their jobs, and what’s worse, 67% say they plan to leave their jobs within the next 12 months. Anecdotally, I know this is true. I hear my friends talk about how much they hate their jobs all the time. Doctors, lawyers, businessmen – the language they use to describe their work is negative, negative, negative. In some cases, they seem to take pride in how awful it is. They brag about the stress, the hours, the conflicts; and they count the days and years until they can stop working. As a father, I’m worried that my children are hearing and believing these messages. I’m concerned that they believe that when they enter the workforce it’s all stress and misery, buffered occasionally by happy hours, TGIF and a desperate hope that “one day I can retire.” Who is out there telling our kids, my kids, that work is rewarding, fulfilling, meaningful and important on numerous levels? As a business owner, I know that if my team members are sitting at their desks thinking how much they hate their jobs and planning to leave soon, then clearly they aren’t helping us achieve our business goals. But I’m convinced that it doesn’t have to be this way, and I’m committed to changing the conversation about work by changing the culture at work. I want to make sure that every member of my team feels valued and that their work is valuable. I find opportunities for every single person to have a voice in what we’re doing. And,...
What if. What next. What about now?

What if. What next. What about now?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about a company’s responsibility to its team members. Here in the US, most employers understand the importance of helping employees maintain their health, providing health insurance plans and more often these days, wellness programs. I call this the “What if?” What if my employee, her spouse or kids gets sick? How can I help them stay healthy or pay for costly medical expenses? Most employers also help their employees prepare for retirement, providing pensions and programs that often include an employer match. I call this the “What next?” What will my team members do next? How will they support themselves when they retire? How can I help? But “What about now?” Sure, I want to alleviate some of life’s worries from my team members, but I also want to inspire them to be fully realized, fully engaged human beings today. And every day! I want them to come to work happy, fulfilled, engaged and inspired. I want this because I care about them. And I want this because if we’re going to ask our team members to help us grow our businesses and commit themselves fully to our goals, then I think we owe some consideration to the “what about now?” In my company, we do this by encouraging team members to set personal goals and assisting them in achieving those goals. We do this by hiring people who are passionate about life outside the walls of work. And we do this more formally through a new program called the “40 Hour Sabbatical.” Look, I’m willing to pay for my employees’ health insurance...
Make Your Mother Happy. Be Happy.

Make Your Mother Happy. Be Happy.

If I were to ask what your goals are, you would likely give me some quantifiable answer, like earning a certain salary, attaining some specific position within your company, or being in a position to retire by a certain age. We are obsessed with milestones and measurement. And I get it. In business, we like to say, “If it can’t be measured, it can’t be mastered.” We conduct strategic planning sessions and discuss SMART goals, the ‘M,’ of course, standing for “measurable.” However, if I were to ask what your goals are for your children, what would you say? Nearly everyone I ask gives me a one-word answer without even a second to consider it. We want our kids to be happy. I certainly do. I want them to find joy and meaning in life. I want them to be thoughtful, kind, creative, confident and proud adults. None of these things can be measured. So, I’m wondering why do we think so differently about ourselves as adults than we do about our children? We seek specific and measurable goals for ourselves and desire beautiful, meaningful and yet nebulous things for our kids. Why the disconnect? Why don’t we allow ourselves to have aspirations that are more difficult to pinpoint when they are achieved? Why are we unable or unwilling to articulate these more meaningful, yet less measurable goals? One answer is in the way we think about happiness in our culture. For us, happiness is the reward for achieving a goal rather than being the goal itself. It’s true. When we say that our goal is to retire by...