Several years ago I remember sitting across the desk listening to my manager give me a lecture about my priorities. My Dad had been battling some serious health issues, and my employer thought it was important for me to understand that “this job is your priority”. Obviously, our priorities were drastically misaligned and this wasn’t my ideal workplace culture. I realized there is neither value nor time in life to give considerable thought to inconsiderate people. Shortly after that inflection point, thankfully, I moved on to blaze my own trail as an entrepreneur.

I spent a tremendous amount of time evaluating what I want in life, and designing a plan.  As, Jim Rohn said, “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” In most cases, this is very true. The choices you make now, the people you surround yourself with, they all have the potential to affect your life and directly influence the quality of your days.

For personal growth look at your Ikigai
Find your Ikigai.

Life, just like a design problem, is full of constraints — time, money, age, location, and circumstances. You can’t have everything, so you have to be creative to make what you want and what you need co-exist. After I had time to paint a clear picture of my priorities (passion, mission/values, profession, goals, etc.), I started to think about how organizations win and what type of organization(s) I want to be a part of. There are several factors of course, but ultimately, organizations win because of their people.

What holds an organization together and motivates the people within it to do the right thing rather than the easy thing?

Culture—the values, mindsets, and behaviors that constitute an environment conducive to success. Culture is the environment that surrounds you at work all of the time. A broken culture makes everything harder due to office politics, the unnecessary rules and the dark, fearful energy that flows through the workplace and bogs everyone down. I wanted to ensure my work environment fostered a culture that truly epitomized my core values. I put together a list of 7 values that I believe fosters a positive culture that enhances the talent, diversity and happiness of your workforce.

Your 7 Key Ingredients:

1. Growth mindset = success
Employees that continue to develop their own skills through training and education allows employees to contribute directly to the business’s future and they can bring insightful new ideas to the table.

2. Trust your team
You will launch many projects, but have time to finish only a few. So think, plan, develop, launch and tap good people to be responsible. Give them authority and hold them accountable. Trying to do too much always creates a bottleneck.

3. Character is more important than intellect
The greatest value of having good people around you is not what you get from them but the better person you become because of them.

4. Use good judgment
It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. Employees should be rewarded for good decisions and made to feel that they are valued and that their contributions matter to the company. 

5. Open and transparent communication
Companies that allow employees to be open and transparent when they talk to each other tend to have a more congenial and trusting work environment.

6. Just do it the right way
It takes less time to do a thing right than it does to explain why you did it wrong.

7. Focus on physical and mental health
Our health is wealth. Every employee needs to feel supported with their physical and mental well-being. This is always a priority.

I’m sure these values will evolve over time, but it’s my take on what is essential to a culture with the values, behaviors, and shared vision that contribute to the environment of an organization.