Energy is the life force, or qi in Asian cultures, that literally keeps each of us alive. And we all know that people who exude positive energy are healthier and happier too: they live longer and they are the kind of people that we want to be around.
It is just the same for companies. Those that develop positive energy last longer and attract like-minded people to work there and stay there.
I was, therefore, incredibly happy when the consultants from AT Kearney told me that one of the things, which they are finding most striking about THP is the positive energy they are picking up as they interview people up and down the company. It is a real testament to everyone at THP and another step towards our goal of lasting for 100 years and beyond!
But creating positive corporate energy is never easy. Each and every company comprises a multitude of individuals with different attitudes to life and work and under a variety of stresses and strains.
This is why having a strong corporate culture is incredibly important. It is the conduit to harness all that individual energy and direct it in a positive and pro-active direction.
Over the past 30 years, we’ve worked extremely hard to develop THP’s corporate culture and it is the reason why I mention our seven core values so often in my blog posts. They really are the lynchpin to our success.
Everyone at THP knows our core values by heart because we live them every day. They are not just for branding, but also for bonding.
Take our fifth core value: spirit of business ownership. We encourage everyone to make decisions within the scope of their responsibilities and to contribute to the wider team.
Someone who feels valued and listened to is far more likely to feel positive about life and work. So THP’s managers are trained to actively seek out everyone’s opinion wherever they are in the corporate hierarchy. It is important that the person chairing a meeting wants to take onboard everyone else’s opinion and not just project his or her own.
Perhaps more importantly of all, we emphasise that it is ok to fail at a task because we can all learn from it. Human beings have an instinctive desire to hide failure because they feel they will be criticised. We try to turn this potentially negative energy into a positive force on both an individual and corporate level.
It is also important to remember that even when a company has great corporate values, they require constant work to maintain them. That comes down to effective communication from the top.
One of senior management’s most important roles is to clearly articulate the company’s strategy and live its corporate values themselves. I try to do this by creating positive energy within myself first and then project it outwards.
Just smiling and using positive words can make a big difference to someone else’s day. It is easy to say, but often hard to put into practice, especially if the other person initially exhibits negative energy. But the key is to keep trying: positive energy is contagious and it is also circular.