Is the membership boundary in your organization tight enough? We hear so much about the importance of being inclusive in organizations, but it’s equally important to know when to be exclusive. When everyone in a business organization is keenly focused on achieving a particular mission or purpose, the energy becomes concentrated and potent. In contrast, if a business tries to be too inclusive, by including people whose roles don’t have a direct tie to the purpose, the bond between the people and the company is loose, and the energy becomes diluted and weak. Unfortunately, most businesses unwittingly deplete their energy by not defining their boundaries tightly enough.
I’ve personally experienced the energetic difference between being tightly bound vs. loosely bound to a company’s purpose. I’ve always worked in Information Technology (IT), and sometimes my jobs have aligned with company purpose and at other times they haven’t. For example, when I was a consultant for a large consulting firm whose purpose was “to help clients conquer the challenges of applying new technology”, I worked directly with clients and my role clearly contributed to the purpose. I felt a strong connection to the company. Similarly, when I was the leader of application development for a logistics company whose purpose was “to provide the best customer service in the industry”, I was directly involved in understanding customer needs and designing solutions to improve their experience. I felt a strong bond to the company. But when I became the leader of IT infrastructure for that same company, and my role was to keep the machines up and running at the lowest cost, I no longer had direct involvement in the specifics of customer needs, and my feeling of connection to the company became much weaker.
This is just one example of a job that didn’t align directly with company purpose. These jobs abound in corporations that habitually encompass support roles that aren’t central to achieving the company’s mission or purpose. The good news is that it’s now possible to procure most support functions externally through contract, cloud, or outsourcing services, from organizations where the personnel is aligned with company purpose.
The difference in the energy can be palpable. I’ve been in many companies where support personnel occupy different space in the same building, and it’s possible to physically feel the difference in the energy levels. It’s not that the support personnel are less capable or have an inferior work ethic, and it’s not that their jobs are unimportant. Often times, their jobs are crucial. The problem is that they don’t get energized by the company’s purpose because they don’t directly contribute to it.
An organization is strongest when there’s a high level of coherence, with everyone aligned in achieving a common purpose. The emotion created by high levels of coherence does more than just inspire greater performance. It also creates an environment in which employees are sharper and more creative. Is the membership boundary in your organization tight enough?
As we learn more from neuroscience about the incredible power of group emotions, we see reasons to adopt techniques beyond the ordinary. For more on shaping team emotions to increase creativity and performance, including research references, get notified of the upcoming book Primal Teams: Harnessing the Incredible Power of Group Energy or sign up for a monthly summary of articles.Share