How do you define your company? Is your passion the common goal that will carve out an enduring niche in the market—or do you want to foster an environment where everyone likes everyone else to the point where everything turns into vanilla ice cream?
Or, to put it another way, what is the sociology of your brand essence? Is it solidarity, or sociability? Is this a simple black and white issue, or a grey area?
Of course, if a company doesn't have a clear purpose, or mission—objectives cannot be set or met, employees cannot be held to standards, expectations can never be established, sales cannot be made—simply put, the house can never be built, because there's no foundation underneath. Brand discovery hasn't even taken place!
According to a Forbes article entitled Why Accountability is Vital to Your Organization, "93 per-cent of employees don't even understand what their organization is trying to accomplish so they can align themselves with that goal. Additionally, 85 percent of leaders aren't defining what their employees should be working on."
Yes, solidarity—defining and aligning your entire company around a single statement of purpose—this foundation is absolutely essential. Brand personalities can't exist without it—as a result, customers will have nothing to identify with, believe in, or buy.
Yet does that mean profitability at any expense—a ruthless, cutthroat, go-for-the-green steamroll? Does clear-cut purpose foster an environment of competition and division at the expense of cooperation and collaboration, or more of a "sociable," get-along workplace?
Ironically enough, the very purpose is the cement of your foundation. With a clear company goal as the umbrella, every role can be clearly defined underneath it—whether it's in sales, marketing, manufacturing, accounts payable, media—from top to bottom—everyone will know how their piece fits the puzzle, which will give them a strong sense of purpose, satisfaction, and motivation. What's more, management will be able to hold them accountable without coming off as threatening.
According to Forbes, when people have a strong sense of accountability, it creates "a more engaged, motivated, and productive workforce that's churning out higher-quality work. Best of all, you have a high-performing team that holds itself accountable without your intervention."
Sure, a sociable work environment—one where people are friendly and jovial, where laughter and positivity are in ample supply—can be very beneficial, claims Harvard Business Review. "Sociability....is often a boon to creativity, because it fosters teamwork, sharing of information, and a spirit of openness to new ideas, and allows the freedom to express and accept out-of-the-box thinking. Sociability also creates an environment in which individuals are more likely to go beyond the formal requirements of their job.”
However, according to the same article, highly sociable, or "get-along" cultures—allow poor performance to be tolerated because people don't want to fire their friends. They also water things down in attempt to build consensus—it no longer becomes about what's best for the company; it becomes about what pleases everybody, a recipe for blandness.
So what's the takeaway? Make sure you define and align your company around that single statement, your purpose—it's not just an objective standard that helps mitigate conflict and prevent the vanilla "get-along" culture; it provides a foundation for what could become a skyscraper.