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Together is More

Over the last few months, I’ve slowly introduced a few of Share’s Guiding Principles. Last month we discussed how to live in the AND while getting more out of life by combining work AND play.

For December, I want to introduce another way to get MORE out of your career. Too often we try to accomplish everything ourselves, and end up taking on more responsibility than is necessary.

As a serial entrepreneur as well as a leader of emerging leaders who are very entrepreneurial, breaking the habit of trying to “go it alone” is paramount. Leaders who do not master the art of collaboration are overworked, or have limited results, or in some cases, both.

Our success at Share On Purpose is in large part because of the principle – Together is More: Collaboration Fuels Quality.

WHAT IS “TOGETHER IS MORE”?

The guiding principle Together Is More, is about collaboration. Collaboration as a discipline is not well understood because the corporate management system by which most professionals started their career, is deeply flawed. In most companies, failure is punished severely, which diminishes the willingness to take calculated risks, and includes an intense focus on individual accountability versus individual and team performance.

This translates into individuals and departments working independently, and in some cases against each other, rather than collaborating to win collectively. This lack of natural collaboration built into the cultural framework impacts productivity and results. It also slowly erodes trust as well as the ability to create a performance culture.

The guiding principle Together is More requires that the executive team model collaboration from the top down, as well as ensuring collaboration occurs throughout the organization. It’s something that’s not just “talked about” but is embedded into the entire management structure, as it is role modeled at all management levels.

WHY COLLABORATION IS KEY TO SUCCESS

Building a performance culture is, in large part, dependent upon the effectiveness of the organization’s ability to collaborate. Establishing a culture that has a foundation of collaboration will have a significant impact on the organization’s effectiveness.

However, it requires a win-win mindset from every level of the organization. For example, the executives and middle management MUST believe:

  • No one can win, unless we all win.
  • When an individual wins, we win as a team.

HOW DO YOU BUILD COLLABORATION INTO YOUR CULTURE?

Collaboration requires authentic leadership, as well as a commitment to win-win relationships between employees and managers, and the company and its contractors.

Beyond the commitment to strive for the “win-win,” the basis of all performance cultures is what I call “authentic leadership.”  Although there are 5 tenets of authentic leadership, one is particularly important in building collaboration into the cultural fabric – Assume Positive Intent. Leaders who are authentic have not only mastered a win-win mindset, but usually do so through mastering the ability to “assume positive intent.”

If we assume positive intent, the mind will begin to expect only positive outcomes in relationships. If someone still gets upset, hurts you, or takes advantage of you, it usually has nothing to do with your actions.

To do this means to assume the other person/entity/group meant well, even if we don’t agree with their actions or ideas. We then in turn, look for positive intent. When you enter any interaction assuming positive intent from the other party, relationships will improve.

No one really sets out to purposefully hurt us. People are just wrestling with their own issues. So, if you assume positive intent, you’ll find that most people rise to the expectation, and when they don’t, know they are doing the best they can and their reaction has little to do with you.

This is a powerful leadership lesson that facilitates a culture of collaboration, and supports a performance culture. I am grateful that our top executives model this attribute and have adopted a collaboration mindset.

If a place that has an authentic collaboration among all of its team members sounds like a place you would want to work for, consider applying for one of our open positions.

Working For Yourself, Not By Yourself

“Priceless.” That’s how writer Sue Carrington describes her working relationship with Share On Purpose.

A full-time freelancer since 1999, Sue is a seasoned member of the gig economy. She embraces her role as a writer entrepreneur and loves the autonomy her freelance life provides. Working for herself, however, doesn’t have to mean working by herself — a mindset she said she shares with Share On Purpose.

“The writer’s life can be a solitary one,” said Sue. “It’s what we’re called to do, but sometimes we’re on the outside, looking in. Remote writers can feel even more apart. Share’s approach to working with contractors acknowledges that reality; the company bridges the divide somehow and makes every effort to create community for us.”

Creating a Community of Wordsmiths

Earlier this month, Sue took a 1,300-mile road trip to Texas from her home in northern Virginia (her Pomeranian, “Poet”, in tow) to meet her long-distance co-workers face-to-face for the first time since joining Share in May 2016.

“It was a little surreal,” she said about being in Las Colinas for the company’s Thanksgiving party. “Umpteen emails and conference calls carved initial impressions, but talking with virtual colleagues face-to-face truly filled in the picture — in the best of ways!”

Sue’s perception of Share as a supportive community, which was in part why she joined the company, only grew stronger while she was in Texas.

“During the Writer’s Cadre, held after our Thanksgiving party, Share President and CEO Terri Maxwell sat down with the writers to say how much she and the Share team appreciate us. Her words confirmed for me that Share truly understands the writer’s way and values us both as subject matter experts and as writing entrepreneurs. That’s unique.”

Collaborating as a Team for Individual Success

The writers at Share are long-time professionals. Most have their own writing and editing businesses in addition to their work with Share and its partner companies. This helps create a synergistic team environment that, in Sue’s perspective, delivers benefits to each writer.

“Share is a place that enables us as writers to help grow each other’s businesses,” said Sue. “The collaborative community encourages freely exchanging ideas, developing relationships, and growing our individual networks. Over time, we’ve gotten to know and rely on each other. So whenever we get ‘too much’ work, we can ask for help from another Share writer, knowing the work and the client will be in good hands. For solo writers, that kind of alliance is a blessing.

“Our competitive advantage as freelancers is that we’re always available to serve our clients. Often, that means working wee morning hours or late nights and weekends,” Sue added. “But we do have choices. The key to work/life balance is empowering ourselves to make those choices wisely, and Share helps us in doing that.

“It’s never this or that; the ‘and’ is everywhere. The entire culture is about purposeful integration of work and life — and appreciating each other’s individual working styles. That kind of understanding leads to a better work product, a stronger collective, and happier clients. Who could ask for more?”

If these principles sound like a culture that you value and would fit into your life, check our open positions.

Work AND Play

Many adults grew up to believe we should operate from OR thinking. I can have cake OR ice cream. I can do what I love, OR chase financial success.

At Share On Purpose we believe in AND. We believe you can do what you love AND accelerate career success. We also believe that you can BOTH work AND play.

How you ask? By focusing on 3 key components:

  • Do what you love: Your passions are there for a reason. Although it’s unrealistic to think you will do what you love every day, it’s NOT improbable to think that the majority of your career should be enjoyable. If you don’t love what you do most of the time, rethink your career. Work with your manager or a coach to define what it is that you do enjoy. You can do what you love, if you first believe that you can. Once you have the belief, simply take steps to align your career goals with what you enjoy doing.

At Share On Purpose, not only do we believe in this philosophy, but we work hard to align our associates’ careers with their passions. It’s not always easy, and it does take a concerted effort, but it’s a critical part of our guiding principles and culture.

  • Love what you do: Once your career has migrated to doing more of what you love, it’s now your responsibility to love what you do. Find ways to make work fun. Bring a game-mindset to work. Invent fun ways to challenge yourself and your team. Remind yourself that joy should be part of your daily life, rather than something you seek only on the weekends.

We get stuck in our careers, because we chose to be stuck. We always have control over our perspective and the resulting attitudes and beliefs we carry. Work on your perspective. By looking for ways to make work fun, you will be focused on the fun, rather than the work, and this will enhance success. Another great way to change your perspective is to start every day by making a list of what you are grateful for. Find people in your life that you appreciate and take time to tell them what it is specifically, that you appreciate about them. A simple text of appreciation can make a big difference in both your lives. Tips for an appreciative mindset here.

  • Find balance: The last component of work AND play is balance. There are numerous studies that prove that work/life balance is not only a worthwhile goal, but actually improves performance. Balance is about taking the time to spend moments with the people who are important to you, and to partake in activities and hobbies that you enjoy. For a fulfilled life, we should work to live, rather than live to work.

What I’ve learned about driven people is that they struggle with balance, not necessarily because of their employer’s culture, but because of their own high standards and drive. I used to be one of those people. My personal standards were so high, that I would work myself into the ground. Needless to say, this type of obsession didn’t make me a fun leader to work for, nor an enjoyable person to be around. I knew that for life to be different, I had to change my approach. I had to change my perspective about balance and build it into our culture.

At Share On Purpose we have a driven culture, but also value work/life balance. As a result, we incorporated several strategies to support our driven leaders.

  • We start meetings late (after 9:30AM) on Mondays and stop work in the early afternoon (around 3PM) on Fridays. This allows our team members to ease into the weekend on Fridays, and ease out of the weekend on Mondays. It also makes the weekends feel longer.
  • We also encourage every team member to take a 4 or 5-day weekends every quarter to recharge their “batteries.” It doesn’t mean that you have to go away during that time, but simply “unplugging” is essential.
  • In addition to standard vacation time, we also reward employees’ tenure and incentivize balance with bonus time-off every few years. For example, at 3 years of tenure, employees are given an extra 2 weeks off, plus $250 to spend on a vacation. At 5 years of tenure, employees are given an extra 4 weeks off, plus $250 to spend on a vacation.

So, if you don’t love what you do, and if you want MORE out of life, maybe try to learn how to look for the AND, rather than the OR in your career.

And, if these principles sound like a culture that you would find meaningful, check out our open positions. We do have very high standards, but quite frankly, that is part of what makes it fun!

 

The Agile Brain

Dharmini Patel lives to learn and utilize knowledge. A trained chemist now fully in a marketing leadership role, she approaches challenges and opportunities with full-minded zeal, using creativity and analytical thinking to comprehend and assimilate vast amounts of information in order to solve problems in novel ways.

“The brain is a muscle that needs to be kept in shape by using it, challenging it, and taking care of it,” said Dharmini. “Engaging the brain through out-of-the-box activities stretches this muscle and ensures you are prepared to be what you want to be: successful.”

This growth mindset and drive to be more is what drew Dharmini to work at Share On Purpose in the first place. A results-oriented person, she realized early on in her career that she wanted to build a performance culture wherever she went. When she learned about the Share On Purpose culture, she felt it was the perfect fit.

“Share On Purpose is an agile environment,” she said. “Our leaders saw how various industries were shifting at an insurmountable pace and quickly realized that a successful company culture must facilitate a learning model to keep up with the rapidly changing world. Such a model allows for the management team to strengthen their skill sets, to be resourceful, to stay on top of everything, to enhance their lives, to grow their careers with knowledge application and to stay ahead of the game. That’s what’s happened with me.”

The Difference a Learning Culture Makes

While always successful at her work, Dharmini’s position at Share On Purpose has enabled her to excel in ways she never imagined possible. In just 18 months, her career has grown exponentially, taking her from an Engagement Director to a Senior Director and on to Managing Director. She credits the company’s learn-as-you-need-it model for her rapid development.

“I came to Share On Purpose from a scientific and business management background,” she said. “Because of the company’s focus on gaining knowledge as it’s needed, I am continuously exposed to learning opportunities where there is a vast influx of information. It’s like drinking from a fire hose! I then get to comprehend that information in selective chunks and repackage it for everyone else to utilize from a business decisions standpoint. This has enabled me to take my skillset, mix it with the Share On Purpose culture and learning process, and actually grow my passions and my skills, all while making a major contribution to the overall organization.”

This growth isn’t something Dharmini sees just in herself, either. She sees it – and fosters it – in her team as well.

Culture Drives Results

“Values drive performance and results,” she said. “That’s what I’ve found in my own career, and I’ve always wanted to make sure it was a part of the training process at any place I’ve been. You can be driven and ready to learn, but if you aren’t given the opportunity to dive in and gain the knowledge you need to get results, then everything gets canned – all your passions, your drive, everything. At Share On Purpose, it isn’t like that. Here you get the opportunities and resources you need to excel.”

Share On Purpose’s Guiding Principles include passion, collaboration, performance, authenticity, character, perseverance, and new knowledge, all values that Dharmini says create a rich culture and benefit new and established employees.

“Experience and knowledge are valuable assets. They enable you to open a door of opportunity that is the right fit for you to be successful with a company culture that supports knowledge acquisition for career growth and living a balanced and fulfilling life,” she said. “When you work in a place that values people first, then performance and results, everyone wins. Share On Purpose is that place. The team members here, across the board, believe, share and practice both the culture and values in harmony. That is such a breath of fresh air in today’s fast paced world!”

Share On Purpose is unique in that we have a portfolio of companies that allows us to support our team members in finding the brand and position they like best. Our culture supports dedicated team members to help them excel by utilizing the values and passions they hold dear. Dharmini is one of several success stories.

If working in a place that values knowledge resonates with you, consider applying for one of our open positions.

A Fit Organization

For job seekers evaluating a company, the guiding principles, as well as how these are used in business decisions, speak volumes about a prospective employer. Said another way, for you to “fit” a company’s culture, you must both understand these values and their importance to culture.

The reason for this is that skills can be taught, culture can’t. For a culture to be real, every team member must be aligned with the culture and guiding principles. Because of our commitment to Career3 and specifically to promoting from within, we needed to define a value specific to knowledge acquisition. The founding leaders of Share On Purpose asked ourselves a bold question: How would we build a “learning organization” in an uncertain, rapidly changing world? And, how would we grow our management team so they led with these values consistently? Ultimately, we wanted to know how to strengthen our culture as we expanded.

There are many things I’ve learned from the Millennial generation, but what resonated about their learning style was what I termed “just in time knowledge.” Millennials are quick to learn and incredibly resourceful knowledge seekers. They don’t learn because they are told to, or because they want to accumulate knowledge, they learn to apply the knowledge to enhance their lives or grow their careers. Novel concept, I know.

The principle we adopted regarding training and mentoring, with the help of our initial team members was “New Knowledge – Learn it as you need it.” Knowledge is (and always has been) power, which is why college degrees became a necessary management criterion in the Baby Boomer era. The problem with the accumulation of knowledge today is that our world is changing so fast that most skills are outdated less than a year after they are learned.

For our guiding principles to resonate with the way future generations learn, we had to rethink all traditional training models, and embrace the “just in time” learning modality. That meant defining the value, New Knowledge, and rethinking the Career Matrix to introduce management skills as leaders evolved their careers. It also meant investing in the Share School Online Leadership Training Portal to make the training available when emerging leaders needed it, rather than when we wanted to teach it. This resulted in a culture where leaders embrace the notion that to truly evolve our talent, we work on their leadership evolution timeline, rather than training them to fit our needs.

There are many things that contribute to building a performance culture, but one of the most important is to use a defined set of values so that business decisions are aligned with the culture; and then to embed these values into all facets of the organization, especially training. Without guiding principles, decision-making can erode culture.

Remember, skills can be taught, but culture can’t.

If this sounds like an organization you’d like to be a part of, view our available positions and apply now.

Building a Performance Culture

Building a performance culture starts with understanding that employees desire to GET something from your organization, as much as they want to give their best. It’s a 2-way street, just like any other relationship.

The mistake most leaders make is that they focus only on their half of the relationship, expecting, and in some cases, demanding performance. This never works, because mediocre performers always return to their ordinary levels of performance once the pressure is off. Conversely, if you hire high performers intentionally, you won’t need to motivate them to perform at their best, because they are intrinsically driven to do so without your guidance.

The truth is, as leaders we don’t want to manage staff performance. What we REALLY want is to hire and promote leaders who are intrinsically driven to perform. True performers excel, with or without our leadership, because of WHO THEY ARE, not because of what we expect.

So, the question in building a performance culture isn’t, “How do I drive performance?”, but instead, “How do I attract performers?” Here are 3 tips we’ve used to build a performance culture at Share On Purpose:

  • Authenticity Attracts: Promote who you are, at your company’s core, rather than who you want to be. True performers value honesty and directness, and probably have done enough of their own research anyway. In addition, they enjoy being a part of the solution, which means being part of performance improvement.

In addition, discuss openly what your guiding principles are, as well as how you’re living them. This is key, because true performers will ask those they encounter during the interview process, as to what your culture is. If your front-line talent team doesn’t know how to define your culture, it will turn performers off since they value authenticity and transparency.

As part of our effort to ensure transparency at Share On Purpose, we not only outline our Culture on our website, but have defined the Guiding Principles that make our culture work. These Guiding Principles were developed WITH our key leaders back in late 2013.

Starting in October, as CEO, I will dedicate one article per month to writing about each principle. In addition, we’ll share an honest assessment of how one of our leaders or team members is demonstrating this principle through another article. Although we’re far from perfect, we pride ourselves on striving for excellence and that includes promoting what our leaders are doing to live our brand.

Culture doesn’t happen because we put words on the website, or even on the wall. Culture, and in particular a performance culture, happens when you manage the company, its leaders and its associates to a set of guiding principles that make the culture authentic.

  • Together is More: Never forget, for a second, that true performers are recruited constantly by other organizations. If you want them to stay, build an organization worthy of their commitment. That requires building a relationship with them, investing in their development, and of course, listening to their feedback. Not only will this serve you in the good times, but it will also breed loyalty in the hard times.

Today, the job market is strong, and top performers inside most brands are looking for new roles outside their organization. Research shows that the reason they are doing this is because they don’t feel valued in their current organization, and/or they do not have a relationship with a top executive. Part of the reason why our executives dedicate 25% of their time to mentoring and developing performers is because we VALUE our current team as individuals, in addition to both their contribution, and future value.

The best advice I ever got from one of my mentors, my former CEO Burl Hogins, was to constantly “re-recruit” my best people. By meeting with them frequently, and learning about their passions and interests, I can ensure that I am supporting THEIR career ambitions, as well as my business goals. I’ve never forgotten that lesson. Thank you Burl.

  • Measure What Matters: When you hire performers, you don’t have to manage them. That’s the good news. But you do have to manage performance, just not for the reasons one may think. We measure what matters, not for our business, but for the leaders themselves. By letting leaders know where they are, in as many ways as possible, they will motivate themselves and their teams to improve results.

Now, I’m not advocating meaningless reports or needless management meetings. Just the opposite, in fact. Keep your meetings short (less than 30 minutes, if possible). Find ways to track meaningful statistics in every area of the business and share these statistics openly with your team. Let them know where they stand against the goals, and inspire them to achieve those goals. When you measure what matters, performers rise to the occasion. On their own.

Again, watch for future articles about our guiding principles and culture as we want to attract performers who fit our culture and who aspire to BE MORE.

If you’re ready to become part of a performance culture, and if these 3 tips sound like they fit who you are, check out our open positions. We’re always looking for smart, driven leaders.

Life Happens 24/7, So Work Like It Does

We’ve heard that even in salaried positions, most professionals feel like they have to punch a time clock. You have to ask for time off to go to the doctor. If you want to take a long lunch to catch up with a college friend in town, you have to ask permission.

I don’t know about you, but at Share On Purpose, we feel like this kind of oversight is old school management, not designed for next generation professionals.

At most companies, the concept of work/life balance is to work eight-plus hours a day (usually an 8-5 regiment), and the time after 5PM is your time to handle life duties and schedule fun activities. Why do most managers think that life is only meant to be lived AFTER 5 PM?

Work Success Should Be Results-based, Not Time-based

If you’re frustrated with the 8-5 foolishness, it’s probably because you know that time worked has nothing to do with results gained. So, isn’t it time to be treated like an adult? Isn’t it time to be compensated based on results, rather than time spent in a cube?

At Share On Purpose, we believe that professionals should be in charge of their own time. Other than pre-set company and client meetings, for the most part, our team members determine their own schedule. Each person gets to figure out his/her productivity cycle, whether a night owl or early bird. Need some extra time off for personal errands? No problem. Want to take a long lunch? Great! We treat our associates like adults, and expect each person to manage their time so that work gets done and team goals are met.

So, Now What?

If you’re tired of working a schedule, regardless of the need to get work done, the first step is to admit that an 8-5 schedule doesn’t meet your idea of work-life balance.

Second, if you’re ready to look for a performance-based role where you work output is the focus, not your physical presence, then you have to ask yourself: What am I willing to do to have time freedom? Working for an organization that provides the freedom to set individual schedules or work remotely is a perk, but it comes with added responsibility. Be clear on what you’re looking for from your career and what you’re willing to do to get it.

Do you prefer a job that you can work at for eight hours and then leave completely at the end of the day? Or are you looking for an environment where you have complete ownership of deliverables and your impact is felt throughout the organization, as well as your clients?

Here are a few questions to get started:

  • Are you comfortable in a macro-management environment where you manage yourself, and your team leads towards performance?
  • Are you disciplined enough to set goals and drive completion without manager oversight?
  • Are you driven enough to put in extra time when necessary for the success of your team?

The benefit of being disciplined and driven is that you’re rewarded with flexibility and are treated like a responsible adult. Great companies usually have a culture that rewards smart, motivated professionals who want to work hard and still enjoy true work/life balance.

Consider Share On Purpose

Share On Purpose cultivates new companies and leaders to run them. We are planning to launch a new brand every year, so driven professionals will have plenty of upward career mobility. We are looking for driven leaders who are seeking a meaningful career, and not just a better job. If you enjoy flexibility, freedom, winning and want to work with a team of like-minded professionals, then you should check us out. Our team understands that each person works on their own schedule and we don’t believe you should have to settle for a time-obsessed job where the focus is on time spent and not results delivered.

To learn more about working at Share On Purpose, simply click here. We are hiring for multiple positions, so apply today!

Culture – It’s What’s for Business!

Do you ever feel there’s something missing in your day-to-day work? Maybe you feel like you don’t exactly fit in, or perhaps there is something “off” about the company you currently work for. Maybe you are just simply looking for something bigger, better and more significant.

You are not alone! According to an article in Harvard Business Review, 7 out of 10 people are not actively engaged at work. This not only impacts each employee’s happiness, but costs an estimated $450 billion in lost productivity each year. That’s billion, with a “b.”

Lack of engagement is bad news for companies, but also equates to a challenge for career-oriented professionals who desire a challenge and want to be a part of a larger purpose. If the company cannot tackle the issue of engagement, talented professionals will go elsewhere. This begs the question – what should you consider if you are wanting to make a positive change in your career trajectory?

Find a Culture Fit

When you feel like there is something missing from your career, it impacts every aspect of life. Perhaps you like your current role, but the company itself is not in alignment with your overall goals. Successful leaders will advise you: choose the company, and choose the leadership, rather than the job itself. Look for a company that has a culture that is in alignment with who you are.

The culture of an organization showcases its beliefs, values, and behaviors. By investing time in learning about a company’s culture, you can find a workplace that aligns with your personal goals. It should be relatively easy to learn about a company’s culture, because organizations are very aware of the advantage a positive culture brings. If you cannot find out about the culture, that is your first sign you don’t want to pursue that company any further.

A recent Forbes article outlines how organization’s that focus on culture are becoming icons for both job seekers and those looking to fulfill a larger purpose. Reasons listed include:

  • Younger companies that focus on culture see a huge payoff (think HubSpot with its culture manifesto).
  • NetFlix’s culture manifesto “freedom with responsibility” is one of the most popular documents on the internet, 11 million+ viewers.
  • Value statements have popped up everywhere. Examples include Zappos’ cultural values focus on innovation, Google’s 10 “truths” (focus on the user is one), and LinkedIn being in the “human service” business and calls itself a “tribe.”

Obviously, culture is a focus for many organizations. Those who understand the value will be actively creating and cultivating a culture. Those who don’t may not realize that culture happens whether you focus on it or not, and are the ones who end up with a culture you may not desire.

Make the Best Choice for You 

Finding a culture that aligns with your value set is key to your success and happiness. The following tips will help you get started on discovering the best business opportunity for you:

  1. Write down your values and goals. Make sure to be specific and think long-term.
  2. Review the company website for their culture information. At Share On Purpose, we are very clear on our culture and focus – “to inspire potential in others while launching game-changing ideas. We believe in creating BOTH meaningful vocation and financial success.”
  3. Consider reviewing survey websites. Many current and former employees will provide their feedback on a company through sites likes Glassdoor. One caveat – review these with a critical eye. It’s very easy for people to voice “sour grapes” on these sites, so review them for valid content that provides good feedback.

Finally, don’t wait until you are completely unhappy or out of a job to start seeking your next opportunity. It takes time to find the best organization for you, so start earlier and invest time in really understanding the type of opportunity you desire. For those who crave an entrepreneurial environment filled with opportunities for high performing individuals, please check out the open positions at Share On Purpose. Starting now gives you the best chance to find the ideal place for you.