I couldn’t think of a better name for this, so the Jerm Manifesto will have to do. While at work, I’ve been talking to a very enthusiastic and smart woman who recently got hired. I noticed that while talking to her about what makes things great at a company or organization, I had a lot of thoughts swirling in my head. The following is what I believe makes an organization or company great from my own observations and experiences.
An organization may have a great leader or CEO who is communicating regularly to the highest level executives or people who are managers at a high level. However, this communication may not trickle down to the every-day employee.
Why should the every-day employee get to hear from the leader or CEO on a regular basis? I think this question is crucial. I want to hear from the captain of my ship – I need his/her voice and vision as a constant reminder and morale boost. I want to know that our captain is thinking about everyone in the organization and not just themselves or a few key people.
When the leader of the organization keeps in touch with every employee – even if it is just a weekly email or weekly video, this sends the message and intent that the leader cares. When there is silence for extended periods of time, does not one question what is going on?
Top-Down Interest In Everyone
An organization thrives when everyone feels valued and has opportunity. When there is clear communication and part of that communication is the opportunity available to everyone, I believe that creates more desire to do awesome work – not just from a few driven-to-succeed people, but from everyone in the company.
This means having regular training opportunities. It means spending time on a structure and set of rules and guidelines that make it clear what it takes to get promoted and even earn extra income or stock options (for organizations that are publicly traded). All managers and team leaders should adopt this transparent philosophy and foster care and togetherness with their teams and groups – we feel more comfortable and confident among our friends and people that talk to us and show interest.
It should be clear how to get a raise. It should be clear what a company’s financials are and it should be clear how everyone is contributing to the profit the company is earning or where the money is going without having to sift through complicated balance sheets and legal documents.
A Positive Attitude and Enthusiasm Matter First
The foundation for all action is attitude and enthusiasm. If you are thrilled with what you are doing, aren’t you more likely to do just a bit more? If your work is simply a means to an end, aren’t you likely to check out on occasion? I believe a good attitude and enthusiasm are created by doing:
- Frequent communication from the leader/CEO
- Top down interest in everyone from the top
- Making it clear that enthusiasm and attitude matter in the organization as standards to live by
- Where there is not enthusiasm or a positive attitude, spend the time figuring out why and report back so changes can be made – either in the organization or the removal of the person from the organization
- When hiring, look to enthusiasm and attitude first, then skills and experience
Empathy and Concern
An organization should be understanding in the way it treats its members. Those members likely have family’s and lives outside the organization. I believe time should be flexible. A 9 to 5 hard line rule for work hours does not make sense in today’s world, especially for technology companies where work can be done at home.
Value should be measured in output and impact. What has the person produced, and what impact have they had on the organization. If they are building useful things or training/motivating/guiding in a way that is beneficial, that can and should be used as a measuring stick – not the time spent sitting at their desk.
Speed and Accuracy
Whenever there is a problem, whether it be between co-workers, or with a process or piece of software at work, the problem should be solved and remedied such that it does not impede progress in the future.
I’ve spent most of my time working in the software industry so I have an angle to provide there. The software should be very easy to change and add features to and updates should be fast. Anytime there is a problem or something is hard, that should be pounced on and made easy. The software development process should be as easy as possible at all times without introducing errors.
This could be applied to any organization. The work should be easy, fast, and cost-effective. Where any of this is not true, immediate action should be taken to solve the problem or deem that the area of the company is just not worth having.
When an organization communicates regularly, cares about its people, makes it clear what it takes to advance/get promoted, provides regular opportunities, and fosters a philosophy of a good attitude, enthusiasm, and moving fast and accurate, I believe the organization will thrive and succeed. This is the Jerm Manifesto.
- Being a Leader in an Organization
- A Thought About Managers
- Always Look to the Best In Others
- What To Do When You Are In Charge
- Inspired By Meeting a New Person