When we take a second to really look at how much time we spend working, the numbers are a little staggering. Statistics show that the average person works well over 90,000 hours in his or her lifetime. In other words, we basically spend 1/3 of our lives at the office, behind a desk, or in whatever manner, doing our jobs.
What those numbers highlight for me is that finding meaning and fulfillment in your work is vitally important. As a business owner I see this from both sides: one, I am blessed to truly and passionately love what I do, and two, I am motivated to create a workplace culture for my team in which they feel the same way.
For me it is a simple philosophy and my definition of leadership: I want to create a work environment where my team can grow and learn, where they feel the support and encouragement needed to push the boundaries of their skills and experience, and where they know that fear of failure is never something that should stop them.
At Avocet, we have a multi-generational team. We have Baby Boomers, Millennials, and even a few Gen Xs and Ys. On the Integrate & Ignite podcast, I have interviewed many other business owners and CEOs about how to manage and benefit from such a diverse workforce. My interview with Drew McLellan of the Agency Management Institute is one that stands out for me. In our conversation, Drew talks about his own approach to leadership and about how he has created a workplace environment with this very straightforward goal: to be a place where if an employee were offered a new job they would say, “‘Why would I ever leave here?”
There are many ways of doing this, and, of course, every leader, every business, and every team is different. At Avocet, I focus on our culture in a number of different ways. We have team outings, we look for learning and growth opportunities wherever we can, we set personal and professional goals, and we celebrate wins and each other. I have one-on-one monthly meetings with each person on my team that allow for that personal connection that I believe makes a world of difference in not only performance and how we serve our clients but also in how the team feels about working here.
At Avocet, we celebrate what we call “Generous Leadership.” It is a philosophy that is internally focused (how our leadership team mentors and inspires each other and the support staff), as well as something we apply to the job we do for our clients. Every day, we show empathy, trust, and respect for each other and for our clients and vendors. We celebrate the unique talents and personalities of each team member, and because we work in an agency where we laugh and enjoy each other as friends, we want to come to work every day.