Recognise This! – Relationships are the sustaining strength after a crisis that can shake your foundation.

I’m often asked where I come up with the ideas for my blog posts or how I find so many things to write about. There’s no lack of interesting research and news reports in the employee recognition, rewards and incentives world, not to mention in employee compensation and benefits, talent management, employee engagement, performance management, and so on.

In short, there’s never a lack of good blog fodder. Typically I write my posts, then choose an image to help illustrate a key point. Today, however, the image itself is the inspiration for my post. A team member sent me this image a few years ago. It’s so striking, I’ve been holding on to it, intending to use it to illustrate a post. But my posts dealing with company culture and the importance of a solid cultural foundation caused me to look again at this image as deserving of a post for its own sake.

If I remember correctly, a large brush fire roared through Eastern Europe (I’m fuzzy on the details or exact location). The fire burned everything in its path (you can see the scorch marks on the ground), even the base of this telephone poll. The top remains suspended, however, due solely to the tension of the wires connected to the other poles.

Look at this image and ask yourself: What if you’ve successfully built a powerful and strong cultural foundation for your company. Now imagine a catastrophe shattering that foundation. Would your business crumble, or would there be enough surrounding support to survive and, indeed, carry on the business at hand?

Yes, a strong company cultural foundation is critical to success. But once that foundation is in place, smart leaders begin using the expectations of that culture to build connections and relationships – strong ties, if you will – between people (employees, customers, suppliers, shareholders, even casual observers) that can hold up and sustain the business should the foundation take a hit. These relationships are no small matter. In fact, Gallup includes “I have a close friend at work” as one of it’s Q12 measures.

The most powerful, positive way to build that relationship is through frequent appreciation and recognition of those around us who – day-in and day-out – do the right thing. Those who consistently demonstrate the behaviours and actions needed to achieve desired goals.

Has your organisation encouraged the development of the strong interpersonal ties and relationships that can sustain your organisation after a crisis?

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