|Labor Day is always the third day in a 3-day weekend. It’s a day for picnics, fireworks, walks in the park, long bike rides, and time with friends and family|
But it is also a good day to reflect upon the meaning of work – and specifically on the meaning that you put into your work. Two of my favorite poems celebrate the sacredness of doing good work.
“Work is love made visible” is one of the best-known lines in Kahlil Gibran’s poem On Work, included in his beautiful liA great statement of values should define who you are, what you stand for, and what you won’t stand for. Core values are the foundation in what we call the Invisible Architecture. Building on that foundation, culture is the superstructure and workplace attitude is the interior finish.
The values of an organization are most clearly reflected in a crisis. For many organizations, the Covid19 pandemic has been a values stress test.
A time of crisis also creates a great opportunity to engage your people in a meaningful dialogue about the organization’s real values.
Here are questions to ask about your own organization’s statement of values:
Does your statement differentiate you from the competition, or is it generic boilerplate that could be mounted in a competitor’s lobby without anybody noticing?
Does your statement inspire team members? Do you expect your people (or at least your leadership team) to know those values by heart? Is your statement something parents would take home to share with their children?
What values have you seen reflected during the pandemic that should be elevated to the status of defining core value? Have you seen courage and resilience? How about fellowship and teamwork?
Given the traumatic impact of the pandemic on many healthcare workers, should you elevate self-care to the status of core value committing your organization to protecting the physical and emotional health of your people, and to assuring a physically and psychologically safe workplace environment?
Does your organization make the hard choices necessary to live its values when the chips are down? At a time when many other healthcare organizations responded to the financial challenges of the pandemic with layoffs, Midland Memorial Hospital in Midland, Texas committed to keeping people on the payroll. When elective surgeries had to be cancelled, the hospital put operating room staff to work making face masks in an ad hoc sewing room (affectionately known as the sweat shop); they made more than 10,000 masks for distribution in the community.
When I work with partner organizations, I interview many people individually and in small groups, and spend many hours on archival research. Crafting a Cultural Blueprint for the Invisible Architecture of your organization requires a real investment of time.
But so does crafting the blueprint for a physical building. You wouldn’t think of starting construction on a new building without having invested the time to create a complete set of blueprints, would you? Shouldn’t you be just as meticulous in designing the Invisible Architecture that will go inside that building?
For further reading:
The Florence Prescription: From Accountability to Ownership (also available as Audible audiobook)
Building a Culture of Ownership in Healthcare
Everyday Courage for Extraordinary Times features 21 short videos, 12 eBooks, Leader’s Guide and Participant Study Guide. The course is incredibly affordable, easy to implement, tailored to your organization, and absolutely guaranteed to be effective.
Learn more by visiting the Values Coach website, emailing me, or by calling our office at 319-624-3889.