I love this quote from The Lorax. Is there a more powerful force in the workplace than people who have permission to care?
- A customer service team that cares when they’ve let a customer down, feel that pain and is empowered to solve the problem, not just answer the question
- Designers who care when alignment is out by a few pixels, or who obsess about how their work is rendered on every possible device and browser
- Developers with permission to take the time necessary to thoroughly test their own work before unleashing it on others, and who care about the quality and long-term maintainability of their code
- An operations team that cares about every customer and every order, and who won’t settle until they create a system where every parcel is shipped on time
- Owners and managers who care about their people and the impact their work can have on their lives at home
People with permission to care don’t shy away from responsibility or assume a problem is someone else's to fix. People who care take all opportunities to apply their skill, passion and influence to improve something that’s within their direct control. Not within their control? They’ll kick up a fuss and won’t go away until somebody does something about it. This is a good thing. How much a person cares matters more than how smart they are, how charming they are or how efficiently they work.
When it comes to building a team, it pays to find people who care about the stuff that’s going to make a difference to your long-term success. And when you find it — nurture it, and remove all the roadblocks that prevent a caring person from rolling up their sleeves and getting the job done — whether it be bad policy, or a well-intentioned but ultimately ineffective team member “higher up” the chain. Give everyone permission to care.
Working alongside people who care is an amazing life-changing experience — and whether you’re assembling a new team or joining an existing team, I’d really encourage you to pay close attention to what individuals care about and try and align yourself with a team of people who share similar values and who all have permission to care…