Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholders meeting, which draws tens of thousands of investors to Omaha, Nebraska, every year, is four days away.
We should get plenty of investment advice on a simpler form of capitalism that has been his genius for over 50 years. We should also expect Buffett to drop a few sensible life lessons, as he always does, to boot.
But why wait? In a rare interview with the Financial Times published a few days ago, Buffett shared what drives him to keep going so strong at his age.
"Why do I get up every day and jump out of bed and I'm excited at 88? It's because I love what I do and love the people I do it with. I've got 25 people out here. We go to baseball games together. They try and make my life good, I try and make their life good."
Love your work and love the people you work with
We spend more awake hours at work than we do away from work, which begs the question: Do you love your job?
Buffett has gone on record to say that the people who are most successful are "those who are doing what they love." Other iconic figures of the business world would agree wholeheartedly with that assessment.
But loving the people you work with? This is a tall order and many of us aren't willing to cross over to that touchy-feely terrain.
But doing so, within a workplace context with the proper policies and social norms in place, may take your 8:00 to 5:00 existence to a whole new state of nirvana. What Buffett is alluding to is what makes up healthy, vibrant, and high-performing work cultures founded on trust.
What the literature has been affirming for several decades is that, in the healthiest of companies, the difference between high performing teams and just really good teams is the level of genuine care, respect, and concern the employees demonstrate towards each other.
5 Human Facets of Strong Work Communities
So what's the starting point? You have to foster a workplace of care that is founded on strong collaboration and community. Most organizations that I have studied and personally witnessed possess three features that separate it from mediocre, underperforming, or toxic work cultures.
A great team solicits diverse views and creative input from each other. They allow for healthy and vigorous debate on new ideas. The result is synergy. Work is done at a faster rate because people feel valued and engaged -- their voices are heard. But it's the leader who is responsible for setting the stage and promoting such a culture.
2. Open communication
A great leader also fosters an environment where people are allowed to talk openly and express ideas or concerns because it's a trusted culture. Feedback is a two-way street and highly encouraged. Information is available and flowing freely, and people are clear on goals and expectations.
3. Psychological safety.
Before collaboration and community happen to a high degree, the strongholds of fear and secrecy have to be torn down. That's when you begin to see ideas flourishing; people feel safe to freely put all their ideas on the table without fear of judgment. Now you have employees who are not afraid of taking risks. In fact, the community encourages it because it's safe to do so.
4. Personal relationships.
For work communities to stand strong and thrive, it has to be founded on strong personal relationships. This means leaders have to invest time with their most valued team members to learn who they really are and what makes them tick. In turn, this promotes great collaboration. It's a team effort, and nobody wins at the expense of the team.
You can't have strong communities if you don't celebrate accomplishments along the way--big and small. Celebrations can be personal or professional in nature; it can be individual or team celebrations. Close work communities never stop looking for ways to celebrate life together -- that's the essence of community. Think about it now: What have you, or what will you accomplish together, that's a cause for celebration?