Margaret Heffernan: Forget the pecking order at work

I was recently introduced to a TED Talk by, Margaret Heffernan an entrepreneur, former CEO of five companies and author, where she discusses the impact that culture has on a organization.  She said culture of helpfulness routinely outperforms individual intelligence, and makes the claim that many organizations are often run according to “the superchicken model,” where the value is placed on star employees who outperform others.  As she points out, this isn’t what drives the most high-achieving teams, or what we like to call high performance environments, or workplaces.   It’s the social cohesion among the team that is built during every coffee break, during every interaction, every time one team member asks another for help — is the key driver that over time will lead to great results.
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This concept has become of the cornerstone of today’s workplace strategy and office design.  You have probably seen countless articles discussing high performance workplaces and their characteristics.   A high performance workplace is a physical environment designed to make workers as effective as possible in supporting business goals and providing value.
In a high performance workplace, teams produce quality products and services using innovative techniques. They tend to collaborate more effectively than other groups of people. In these high-performance environments, people trust one another, feel empowered to make changes and experience high levels of job satisfaction. Employees with high morale miss work less frequently and function more productively and cost-effectively.
Before you make another real estate decision, establish a working group within your business, bring all the stakeholders together, spend some time and engage your employees about what they want.  Find out what they like about coming to work every day.  At the end of the day, our work environments should complement and foster company culture and brand, and help with employee recruitment, and retention.  Believe me, if you are not paying attention to this, you will lose your talent to those that are.  Trust me, your employees are thinking about it.