In business, attitude is everything.
An anything is possible attitude needs to show up in the look and feel of the business environment. Your business environment is just as important for creative expression as are personal power and boundaries. If you want people to creatively express themselves and be able to fuel change and growth for your business, and you want to circulate healthy energy throughout your business, you need a visible environment that communicates trust, compassion, and freedom.
Having a C-suite in mahogany row and everyone else in grey cubicle land is not going to work. Let me be clear: I love mahogany; it’s beautiful. In fact, if you want everyone in the business to have mahogany, go for it; make it happen. The problem is not mahogany. The problem is if your business is creating luxury for people at the top when everyone else gets leftovers. It communicates to the rest of the business that everyone else is a second-class citizen, who doesn’t deserve the same respect as the people sitting in mahogany row. If this sounds like your business, you need to change it if you are to have any hope of creating a healthy culture that circulates engaging energy. If you choose to visibly separate and create different classes of people, you are choosing an environment that sucks human energy, inspiration, creative expression, and an anything is possible attitude dry—you are choosing toxic energy. If your environment makes a statement of, “You are not worthy, because you are less than the people at the top,” people will never feel safe to creatively express themselves in the way your business needs them to in order to move forward in the future.
I’ve read many success stories of businesses that have proven that equalizing the business environment fuels creative expression. Google is just one example of a large business that has proven that an equal and open environment works. Google also has a “Do No Evil” philosophy that permeates the business and fuels people with a sense of freedom. The environment, together with their “Do No Evil” philosophy, creates trust. People feel genuinely safe to express themselves in a way that moves the business forward. Google is huge; what happens if your business is small? Well, another example is Network Medics, a small technology firm based in the Twin Cities, managed by three owners who decided to give everyone an office. Not only does everyone have an office, but everyone chooses the exact furniture and design they want. Everyone’s office looks completely different, and everyone’s office matches his or her own personality. It’s amazing; you can feel the energy of trust, compassion, and freedom as soon as you walk through the doors. Everyone at Network Medics genuinely feels safe to creatively expressive themselves in a way that moves the business forward—the business, each client, and every person in the business benefits. Both Google and Network Medics have chosen to circulate healthy energy.
The importance of environment goes beyond people’s “workstations.” In order to have a a business that circulates healthy energy people need to be able to breathe—literally! Your business needs plants, natural light, and color. You might even want to throw in a fish here and there—fish give off good energy. Let people open their windows—they’re not going to jump. People thrive on nature, light, and color. People thrive when they’re in an open environment that is authentically equal. Grey and beige cubicles flanked by mahogany row will not foster creativity, and people will not feel safe to express themselves in the way your business needs them to. Take a note from Google and Network Medics and create an equally open environment that fuels change and growth.
Designers always ask the same question before jumping in and redesigning your home or office. The question is simple, but is often difficult to answer: “What do you want?” After they get a blank look, they ask the follow-up question, “What words describe the feeling you want your home or office to have?” Seriously, every time it’s always those two questions. When it comes to an energetically healthy business the answer is always the same.
If you want an energetically healthy environment that energizes people, ignites action, and drives sustainable profit, here’s your response. “I want an environment that conveys trust, compassion, and freedom. I want people to walk in and immediately feel as though anything is possible. People should walk through every part of the business feeling able to breath, and feeling as though they are worthy of being part of a business that genuinely cares about their well-being. I want every aspect of the environment to support every person in giving themselves trust, compassion, and freedom, so they can creatively express themselves in a way that fuels change and growth for the business.” The process is simple. Make it happen.
Gina Soleil, is a speaker and acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a business where people are energized, feel good and are happy. Visit Gina Soleil and follow her on Twitter.