Good Company Spirit

How to tell if it's present or absent

Are you energized by your work? Are you valued for your contributions, treated fairly and with respect? Do you feel that you are well-informed and that your ideas are heard? Are you learning and advancing in your career? If your answer is a resounding "Yes!" then you have experienced Good Company Spirit.

It is commonly accepted that a positive working environment has a positive effect on the bottom line. Most employers and employees agree that a positive working environment is worth striving for. Catalyst Advancement focuses on Good Company Spirit, the concept behind a "positive working environment." Catalyst Advancement helps client organizations discover good company spirit and then works with them to develop and sustain it. Good spirit can be created and nurtured. Although it is needed at all times to create ideal work communities, its presence is crucial during hard times, crisis and transformation.

Good company spirit is not easy to define or measure. However, one can feel its presence or absence easily. We experience good company spirit when work tasks seem to progress by themselves, with speed and efficiency. We are energized by our colleagues and by what we do, and the workday seems to fly by.

When company spirit is negative, tasks seem hard, if not impossible to complete, and the people working on them are sick of work. In this sort of setting, nasty comments and pressure squelch motivation. People become isolated from others and think that their work has little purpose or meaning. Strange atmospheres result in collective anxiety that erupts as fear and hostility. Creativity and cooperation are blocked and people experience signs of mental and physical stress.

The building blocks

In order to understand how to discover and nurture good company spirit, its basic building blocks – spirit, values, vision and relationships – deserve a closer look.

Spirit is defined as "that which constitutes one's unseen being, and a predominant mood of an occasion or period." Spirit is both internal and external; it is the animating force within us. Spirit also works between individuals. It affects us whether it is good and constructive or bad and destructive. Spirit is present at all times, whether we notice it or not.

Values are elements of significance. People committed to common values feel a common spirit between them. When people experience common values, common spirit is born, energizing those involved. The more meaningful the shared value, the bigger a source of energy it is.

Sometimes organizations define their values so that they cannot be experienced, in which case they cannot become sources of common spirit. For example, "customer focus" is a frequently stated organizational value that employees are unable to experience or share. Examples of excellent organizational values are "respect" and "openness," which are both values that every employee can find important and experience with others.

Vision is a mutually accepted promise about a better future. Quality leadership is about creating goals and shaping them into visions that are interesting and worth achieving. A good vision statement creates positive images that kindle enthusiasm and spirit, which motivates employees to succeed.

Positive personal relationships in a work place create a network of employees that experiences common values and vision. Social connections are formed between individuals who are encouraged to express personal values and share them with others. These positive personal relationships increase the employees' commitment and willingness to work hard toward a common goal. The energy needed to realize the vision is thus created by the employees, instead of being drained from them.

Creating business success

Good company spirit is not only about the contentment of employees. It is about creating energy within the organization, so that employees can do their jobs better. It encourages employees to learn and grow continuously. Good company spirit is also strengthened when employees feel that they are treated with respect and their opinions are heard. It is an essential factor in the realization of human potential and provides the basis for positive development. All of the above result in improved motivation, energy, health and creativity. The obvious outcome of this is business success.

However, the rewards of good company spirit are not limited to financial successes. It also yields a better quality of life for employees. Furthermore, it is reflected as an added value for the customer. If a customer can feel the organization's positive spirit, the right kind of focus is being expressed. Good company spirit is the finishing touch that creates excellence, separating the top companies from their competitors.

New challenges, new solutions

Work environments have undergone radical changes due to advances in technology and changes in leadership styles. Work places are decentralized and diverse, and decisions may be made far from an employee's work station. Individuals are members of expansive and constantly changing personal networks; contacts are often brief, yet demanding. These developments accentuate the importance of Good Company Spirit to bond people together to form working communities that operate in unison.

Catalyst Advancement is driven by good company spirit. It is intertwined in all of our products and services. We believe that awareness and nurturing of the unseen spirit that acts as invisible glue is crucial in working environments where networks and globalization are setting new rules and demands. It benefits the employees, business, customers, suppliers and all other stakeholders.

To summarize: Good Company Spirit is a central source of added value that radiates in all directions. It is a positive force that inspires and energizes people to work together at their full potential, maximizing the business profits as well as customer and employee satisfaction.

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