A Corporate Culture That Cares

A caring corporate culture is a trusting one — and when it comes to success in business, trust amongst colleagues is critical. Trustworthiness breaks down into three things: 1. Credibility – I can; 2. Reliability – I will; and 3. Care – I’ve got your back, I’m looking out for you. When it comes to corporate culture and our careers, we focus most on credibility and reliability. Take a look at your LinkedIn profile or resume. Where is your emphasis and what do you think is most important for employees?

Show employees you care through corporate leadership training. Find out more.

Slow Down Corporate Culture

We don’t often stop to demonstrate care — rushing through life from one task to the next. The Washington Post performed a social experiment a few years ago. They asked renowned violinist Joshua Bell to dress in street clothes and perform outside a Metro station. They found, “Out of the 1097 people who passed, only seven people paused for a few of a 43-minute concert played by one of the greatest violinists of this era.” My wife read this to me from the article, “If we can’t take time out of our day to stay a moment and listen to one of the best musicians on Earth play some of the best music ever written — what else are we missing?” It’s a good question.

Take another example:  While coaching or facilitating, I often ask people what they do when they see a yellow light. Close your eyes and imagine. You are driving somewhere, practically anywhere, and as you approach an intersection, the light turns yellow. What do you do? Without hesitation, my answer is, “I hit the gas.”

Life is filled with yellow lights and unexpected moments to celebrate or support. I often notice when one of my kids, co-workers, clients or team members is struggling. I also notice when someone received good news or experience success. It’s written all over them. Noticing is easy. Pausing is hard, and what might it mean for them if I do pause to offer support or to celebrate with them?

Care in Relationships

Demonstrating care in relationships often requires pausing for a moment. Renowned researcher John Gottman, PhD., shared a personal story to illustrate how pausing for yellow lights make enduring relationships successful. He describes the power of moments where partners notice each other and pause. One evening, he was turning the page into the final chapter of a novel he was desperately trying to finish. He decided to run to the restroom and get a glass of water before returning to his book. As he’s racing by, he notices through a crack in the door that his wife is standing in the bathroom — crying.

He had a choice to make. He could hurry, answer natures call, and return to his book. Or he could stop, share his observation, and ask his wife what’s going on. She probably wouldn’t even notice if he did walk by. She would absolutely notice if he stops. He did stop, took the brush from her hand and while combing her hair, asked, “I noticed you’re crying; what’s up?”

Gravity pulls our attention to the next thing on our list or in our calendar. We are very capable of recognizing that someone is in need. The challenge is not in recognizing yellow light moments, it’s in stopping to care.

A Caring Corporate Culture

When it comes to our careers, we focus most on credibility and reliability. We believe our credentials, experience, and a track record of success are the most essential characteristics of management. This leaves care in the shadows. In the hectic day to day of corporate culture it can be difficult to take time to pause. However, stopping by an employees desk and asking about their day or congratulating them on a job well done strengthens your working relationship and further improves synergy in the office.

Pausing for yellow lights, noticing people and celebrating or supporting them is a powerful way to say, “I care about you. You are worthy of a few minutes now and if needed, more time later.” They may not notice if you don’t do this. They will certainly notice when you do.