Everyone who works for me is a volunteer. Provocative statement, yes?
I do not mean to say we don’t pay them. We do!
It’s just that I sincerely believe that the quality of people I am honored to have work for my company is by and large of such high caliber that most of them could easily find jobs elsewhere.
I hope that they would not find those jobs as interesting, or as much fun, or the company culture as congenial, or as learning-oriented, or management as interested in their personal and professional growth. But yes, a job, a paycheck, easily.
And so I find it instructive to think of them, not as in past paradigms of industrial management as paid minions, but in the shared teamwork vision of the 21st century as:
– volunteers in pursuit of fulfilling a shared mission
– fellow students in an ongoing learning process
– team members in striving toward an inspirational BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal, from Jim Collins’ “Good to Great”)
– associates in creating and harvesting valuepartners in caring for our customers at always another level higher (because as good as we are, our competition is benchmarking on us and will overtake us if we stand still)
Trying on these mindsets, these paradigms, these different ways of looking at the world and the people around me, help me grow as a leader and as a human being.