Part four of the series of ten blogs focusing on the feelings you’d want employees to have in a high performance organisational culture. Hope you agree with the film I’ve chosen today – let me know if there’s a better one!

Number 4 – Responsible
We sometimes talk about having responsibility for something. And often it’s expressed negatively, as though the ‘something’ is onerous. I’m placing a different interpretation on it, feeling responsible as something that’s positive because it’s something we care about, something we feel we have the power to influence and steer, something we’re responsible for. And in this context it’s surely something every organisation would want its people to feel. Because feeling responsible for the organisation implies being informed about it and the market in which it operates, being proactive, taking ownership, seeing beyond personal interests and instead seeking to do what’s best for the business as a whole, striving to find better and more efficient ways of doing things and perhaps most importantly of all, each person being responsible for their own behaviour. Because enough of the right behaviours from people mean success, in whatever way it’s defined. If behaviour is aligned with the desired outcomes results will follow.

The film I’ve chosen to illustrate feeling responsible is ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ and with due recognition to Stan Williams who blogged about the film way back in 2006, I think there’s a number of points worth making about it. Incidentally, the film is based on the true story of Chris Gardner (played by Will Smith), a bright and talented salesman who has unfortunately invested his money in a product that he’s unable to sell. Struggling to make ends meet, Gardner’s wife leaves him and he finds himself and his five-year-old son evicted from their apartment. When he lands an internship at a prestigious stock brokerage firm, he and his son have to endure many hardships in pursuit of his dream of a better life for the two of them.

Back to the key points about it….
Under huge pressure and despite all the difficulties he encounters Chris is totally dedicated to and responsible for his young son. On face value the film could be interpreted as being about the pursuit of money, but it’s much more than that, the reason he wants the money is to provide for his son. He could perhaps have done that by seeking a lower paid but more reliable job but he also recognises the responsibility he has to nurture and achieve his dream of becoming a stock broker. He ensures that the two things co-exist and delivers against both.

There are three specific things that reasonate with me:
1. As the title suggests, pursuit is important. Chris had to pursue the role as a stock broker in order to provide for his son as he wanted to, and to be happy himself. As the saying goes "if it’s worth having it’s worth fighting for". Chris fought to pursue it.
2. It initially grated with me that ‘happyness’ was spelt wrong. But isn’t that the point? The miss-spelling makes us look again at the word and wonder what’s wrong with it. It makes us realise what the real word – ‘happiness’ truly means. But think deeper and there’s another connotation, that just as good spelling has to be pursued and corrected, so does fatherhood. And to extend it still further in the context of my blog, so does organisational culture and employee engagement. These things don’t just happen, but they are worth pursuing.
3. Probably the most well known quote from the film is "Don’t ever let somebody tell you you can’t do something ….You gotta dream, you gotta protect it ….If you want something, go get it. Period." I love that quote!

See the trailer for the film here:

Part 5 tomorrow!

By the way, the blog I refer to by Stan Williams is here is you want to read it:

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