Reuniting Your Corporate Family®, Part I
The only rock I know that stays steady, the only institution I know that works, is the family.”
One of the most exciting aspects of the COVID-19 vaccination process is the anticipated reuniting of family members, many of whom have been separated for over a year. But personal families are not the only ones to benefit from this unifying experience; members of your professional family are also being positively impacted by the inoculations. This means that individuals from your organization will have the opportunity to reconnect with one another and resume their role and function in the Corporate Family®. While the nature of remote work is certain to remain for some time, your leadership will play a key role in the success of your Corporate Family® reunification process.
At LEADon®, we’ve been sharing the importance of the Corporate Family® unit for over two decades. In our book, Corporate Family Matters: Creating and Developing Organizational Dynasties, we explain that “a family is a group that has commonality, typically comprised of parents and their children. In a sense, every business is like a family—we call this your ‘Corporate Family®’” (Wilke and Wilke, 2010, p. 11).
Think about this concept for a few minutes. Your organization is comprised of people who are linked together with a common purpose. You also have members of your leadership team who “are looked up to just like parents are in any family setting” and who are responsible for “creating an environment that is conducive for each family member’s success” (p. 35). With this perspective in mind, you can no doubt identify the “sibling” relationships that exist in your organization, including those within your own leadership team. Perhaps this viewpoint alone will help you understand some of the sibling rivalry you’ve noted in your Corporate Family® over the years.
While we plan to delve deeper into the latter role (siblings) in an upcoming blog, for now we’d like to focus on the critical role you and your leadership team (the “parents” in your organization) will play in positively reuniting your Corporate Family® members in the days, weeks, and months ahead. In a sense, you have an unprecedented opportunity to unify your team members in healthier, more productive ways than ever before, helping them truly engage one another and connect with the essential initiatives in a post-pandemic world. As Adam Blenford aptly summarized in his July 2020 article for Bloomberg Businessweek, leaders must clarify all goals and “ensure that staff are clued in on the changes, as everyone will need to buy into what could be a very different mission” (see more of his article, “The Pandemic Created New Workplace Tribes: Here’s How to Unite Them,” at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-07-23/tips-for-getting-furloughed-employees-back-up-to-speed-at-work).
In addition to clarifying business goals, as a leader you must also create an environment that encourages everyone to be successful. In a previous post, we explained that work environments may be evolving for some time due to health guidelines and the reality of a post-pandemic recovery (see our blog, “Social Distancing: Shortcomings and Solutions” at https://www.leadonuniversity.com/social-distancing-shortcomings-and-solutions/ for more details). You and your leadership team will be responsible for what that evolving environment looks like and how to transition many of your “siloed” employees into one united professional family.
Finally, one of the most important characteristics of any healthy family is great communication. As a leader in your Corporate Family®, successful reunification of team members will require that you “assist and insist that all team members interact and communicate at a high level.” (see The LEADing Edge: 9 Strategies for Improving Internal and Intentional Leadership by Wilke & Wilke, 2019, p. 106). Of course, this means that you and your leadership team must commit to these same high standards while simultaneously “conveying that the world is changing, encouraging the organization to ‘reset’ vs. just ‘restart,’ and highlighting that some things are not changing such as the company’s core focus and values” (see Hubert Joly’s Harvard Business Review article, “Lead Your Team Into a Post-Pandemic World” at https://hbr.org/2020/05/lead-your-team-into-a-post-pandemic-world).
In summary, there are the three steps you can implement in order to successfully reunite all Corporate Family® members:
- Share specific business goals, always striving to gain buy-in.
- Create a positive, inspiring work environment.
- Encourage clear, effective communication.
Implementing these three elements will provide the foundation needed for a unified family, whether personal or professional. If the team at LEADon® can assist you in this leadership endeavor, please connect with us at www.LEADonUniversity.com or at 858.592.0700. In the meantime, be sure to check out our free resources, and look for more helpful advice on how to effectively reunite your Corporate Family® in upcoming posts of The LEADing Blog.