Eight years ago I called my Dad from my window view in the corner of the 32nd floor in the Bank tower. “I did an experiment, and now I know the secret to climbing the ladder,” I told him. “Get done what they they ask you to do as usual… but the real trick to success is to not mention any of the potential problems on the horizon. Just keep your mouth shut and be a Yes Woman.”
He laughed. “How did you discover that?” “Well,” I said, “Two weeks ago I decided to ONLY do what was asked of me. Nothing more. Nothing less. I didn’t point out any issues with what was being asked or look to the future to foresee what problems could potentially arise. I just said ‘OK’ and got it done. I saved a lot of time because I disengaged from the areas of business we were supporting. Since I was only focused on doing my job and not helping people, I didn’t need to call anyone in my line of business or further my relationships with them. It was such little effort. I just kept my mouth closed. And you know what? After two weeks of it, my boss came by and said, ‘Dana, you’ve been doing great lately. I’ve seen so much improvement. Keep up the good work.'”
My Dad, knowing me, said, “You kept your mouth shut? How did you like that?”
“It was awful! I hated it. I had all this free time, and I could leave everyday at 5. And I was miserable. So while I know the secret to becoming a CEO, if this is what it takes, I can’t do it.”
He laughed. I laughed. Then I hung up the phone and thought This is serious. Something is not right here. Shortly thereafter I left the bank.
And now I get it! I did stumble upon a secret. But it wasn’t the one I thought. I didn’t discover the secret to becoming a CEO. Not at all. Not even close. The secret I discovered was that it MATTERS if the organization we choose to work for is a fit for who we are personally. It matters if the culture of the corporation aligns with our value system. Because when an entire organization, top-down approaches the world of work from a similar place of integrity, this creates harmony, job happiness, and increases productivity.
As employees, it’s our right to choose the type of culture and value system we want to align ourselves with.
As employers, it’s our obligation to create a culture that furthers the value system and mission of the organization.
As CEOs, Presidents, Owners, and leaders of corporations, it’s our responsibility to change the world by leading and creating places of business that value humanity, integrity, and each other.