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Could Your Organization Grow Your Spirit?

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LEED-like certification for human-spirit-sustainable workplaces

LEED certification is a rating system that recognizes a building’s sustainability. LEED or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, rates a new building project using five different categories:

  1. Site location
  2. Water conservation
  3. Energy efficiency
  4. Materials
  5. Indoor air quality

Businesses and organizations with the highest ratings display them as a sort of badge of honor for the public to see.

What if there were some system to measure and rate the culture within a company or organization? Since we worry about bullying at school and we’re starting to recognize bullies in the office and toxic corporate cultures, does it make sense to start thinking about organizations that sustain people rather than beat them?

HalfAHead-2-08152014

For instance, what if any organization was judged by these four categories:

  1. Bias toward collaboration
  2. Employee engagement indicators
  3. Mix of top-down messaging with true conversation
  4. Ratio of CEO-pay to rank-and-file pay

Seem ridiculous?

It would be difficult to measure many of these, especially since most of the categories seem so subjective. And yet, would it be impossible to measure? Would it be worthwhile to measure? Are we already moving in that direction?

In Minneapolis/St. Paul—like any set of cities—insider talk has long identified those cut-throat corporate and institutional cultures that routinely toss human capital to the side. Insider talk also identifies those bosses, managers and C-suite people without empathy and/or ethical moorings. New employees are generally forewarned when they sign up.

Of course, business is still about earning a living for the people involved even as the organization serves some human need. So don’t think I’m championing some communistic collective. Profits will and must be made to help society move forward.

But as we move toward fuller employment, workers will become more choosy about where they spend their days. And those cultures that have a less sustainable ethos will not be the winners.

I’m not convinced I’ve identified the right categories to measure. What categories would you include?

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Image credit: Kirk Livingston

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3 Responses

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  1. Nailed it!

    100% of the reason I left my previous employer.

    To say it was a toxic environment would be an understatement.

    Roger Messner

    August 19, 2014 at 10:12 am

    • Roger–thanks for the comment. Seems like life is too short to spend in a toxic environment. So…your present employer…a better place?

      kirkistan

      August 19, 2014 at 10:35 am

  2. […] a huge difference to the motivation and energy with which we approach our work. I’ve argued for a LEED-like certification for workplaces that sustain the human spirit, and I think that is on the radar screen of job seekers […]


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