Two unrelated news stories this week have me thinking about what they have in common.
These stories both have to do with Cleveland and show how this town is on the upswing. The Republican National Convention will be held here in 2016, and LeBron James is coming back to Cleveland. In both cases, there is an underlying statement that this area is growing and has a lot to offer. It is, simply said, a desirable place.
What intrigues me is that the underlying statement is true not because of the work of one individual, but the work of many who were motivated to work hard toward a goal that represented a concept they believed in – that Cleveland is desirable. More importantly, it is a concept they cared enough about to defend and enrich it.
So where is the lesson in all of this for the rest of us trying to make it happen in our own environment?
In all of the news capsules of the convention selection, there was not a clear and defined leader that was promoting this effort. It was the product of a dedicated team of people from all over the area that was committed to presenting Cleveland in a way that was unbeatable. It resulted from a great culture that was undeniable to the Committee. Cleveland “wanted it more” than others.
Indirectly, this was also connected to LeBron coming back. He knows what the culture is like here and the good that is inherent in it. It is home.
Within our own organizations, how do we create an environment that convinces others, be they prospective customers, potential employees, or current staff members struggling to find an identity in their work, that this is more than just another place, vendor, employer, company, etc.? How do our organizations become a place they can call “home”?
Home is where people listen to you because they are interested. They care. They help you with your challenges because you’re important to them. This doesn’t mean you aren’t challenged and it doesn’t mean that there are not conflicts and difficult times. We all have those in our own home life (got teenagers?).
In contrast, an environment where people are hesitant to think or offer an idea or opinion because of politics, attitudes or simply bad management is stifling. It suffocates the human spirit. It is not home. It is just a place.
In the end, it is pretty basic. If you are interested and care about people, and make them understand that you do, you have started to create an atmosphere where people can breathe. They are comfortable. They can better respond to the challenges and difficult times. And in the end, they take it upon themselves to personally be responsible for cultivating the same atmosphere. The beauty of it is that it is self-propagating.
“Home is where one starts from.”
T. S. Eliot
“Home is the place we love best and grumble the most.”