As a business owner, you undoubtedly hope for the best when it comes to the future. Whether you are ultimately hoping to become wealthy, or you are simply building a small, humble organization because it is your chance to construct a workplace culture that you would be thrilled to work in every day, you are hoping to create a system that produces comfort that will persist well beyond today.
The future is a magical, mythical place filled with possibilities. In the future, almost anything can happen to you or for you. No matter what your present life circumstances are, the future can still be filled with all of your hopes and dreams for a better life. This is true of both your own life, and of the lives of every employee who opts to work for you and contribute to your organization.
The fact that your employees would have many of their standard hopes for the future connected with your workplace should come as no surprise to you. The workplace is where we spend roughly half of our waking hours, and it is where we generate the incomes that allow us to pursue whatever life goals we have outside of the workplace.
For many of us, our work helps us to derive a sense of identity. We have difficulty considering a status for ourselves that isn’t linked in some way to the positions we fill in the workplace. Because of this, we are prone to be highly protective of anything that challenges our ability to maintain our employment, because it provides us with such a strong sense of identity to go along with the comfort provided by the income.
Working for successful businesses permits people to take pride in their daily activities. If people can project their progression through your organization as they acquire new skills and abilities, they can also understand how their role will change, how their salary might change, and how their quality of life will change as a result.
When your employees are making decisions to work for you, what they are really doing is entrusting you with their futures. They are evaluating the landscape of your organization, seeing what the trajectory of the company looks like, considering what the future for them might be if they stick with your company, and deciding whether it is worth the effort to stay with your organization. If not, they are free to consider any of the seemingly infinite options they might explore if they opted to leave your organization behind.
Within the 7 Question - 7 Promise Framework, the ability of your employees to entrust you with their futures falls under the question of belong. When you put forth your organization’s core values, it permits your employees to make decisions about whether or not your company is one they can believe in. However, your employees will ultimately have to determine if they belong in your organization and can align themselves with you as the company advances toward its goals.
Because of the informal covenant you have with your employees as the guardian of their futures, you should take your role as the steward of that future very seriously. At the same time, you should also be mindful of what you are doing if very few of the individuals you would like to have working for you seem as if they are willing to commit to your organization. Not everyone is going to be a solid fit to be a member of your team because not everyone is going to be able to align themselves with your organization.
Not everyone belongs in your company, and that’s okay. At the same time, if hardly anyone appears willing to work for you, it may be a sign that something within your organization and its direction needs to be adjusted in order for more individuals to perceive that a future with your organization is a future worth experiencing.