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Perseverance pays off: the importance of adhering to core values

The dictionary defines perseverance as “steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. Steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, state, etc., especially in spite of obstacles and discouragement.” Synonyms for perseverance include: tenacity, determination, staying power, purposefulness.

The ability to stay the course and stick to one’s mission and vision is increasingly part of individual and organizational success. With so many seismic economic, social and political changes globally, reflecting on core values helps provide a perspective and framework for change, making it easier to digest and understand. In fact, so much time is spent at work, employees increasingly draw on these everyday experiences for reassurance in times of uncertainty.

The Great Place to Work Institute in San Francisco explored the impact of company pride, connections with colleagues and competent ethical leadership on a multigenerational workforce. It found that “if millennials are proud to tell others about their company, they are 18.4 times more likely to report that their workplace is great overall.”

It is these relationships and experiences that create a sense of pride. For executives focused on profitability, it is worth noting that a positive workplace directly affects the bottom line—higher levels of workplace trust predict that a company is 26 percent more likely to be achieving above average revenue growth according to the institute’s research. This same research found that among the top 10 drivers of revenue growth were specific features of a caring, collegial, environment including “people care about each other here; management hires people who fit in well here; you can count on people to cooperate; there is a ‘family’ or ‘team’ feeling here; (and) this is a fun place to work.”

While camaraderie and fun are important drivers of workplace success, the strength and happiness of the team weighs heavily in the success equation—without a strong, cohesive group, sustaining growth over time is a challenge. In their book “Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life,” educators Bill Burnett and Dave Evans detail the concept of “flow,” which was discovered by Professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, who has been researching the idea since the 1970s. Flow is intense engagement, “that state of being in which time stands still, you’re totally engaged in an activity, and the challenge of that particular activity matches up with your skill—so you’re neither bored because it’s too easy nor, anxious because it’s too hard.”

Combined with workplace connections, “flow” inspires innovation and creativity. Etsy, the online marketplace for handmade and vintage items, consistently embraces connections as part of its “ongoing culture of trust—one where employees assume the best intentions of each other and the company.” Etsy was founded in 2005 in a Brooklyn apartment—and has since grown to be ranked as one of the nation’s best companies to work for in America. Etsy’s workplace reflects the creativity of its founders and customers. Employees are encouraged to apply creativity and vulnerability to help them tie back to their community of creative entrepreneurs—using “simple ways to create and nurture an intentional workplace culture.” Etsy’s mission is to “reimagine commerce in ways that build a more fulfilling and lasting world.” The company’s leadership team and employees “share the vision and values of our community.” This commitment to its founding values is a significant factor in the appeal of shopping with Etsy.

One of the leadership lessons in team building is the willingness of key players to set aside their individual opinions, differences and challenges for the greater good. While Buffalo Bills fans have suffered greatly at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys, nonetheless the Cowboys’ record-setting rookie Dak Prescott has been exciting to watch. Filling in for injured quarterback Tony Romo, Prescott developed a quick and extraordinary rapport with the team, fueled by a winning record and dramatic plays. His success and the ease of the transition in part are due to the seamless transition from starter Romo—and the injured quarterback’s selfless behavior in coping with a difficult injury while he watched on the sidelines.

When he recovered and could be cleared to play, Romo instead chose to step aside and accept his new role as the backup to the sensational rookie Prescott. In a prepared statement read to the media in Dallas, Romo expressed the “pure ecstasy of competing and winning,” perhaps a sentiment like the “flow” described by authors Burnett and Evans. It was Romo’s comments about teamwork that truly resonated with media and fans alike.

You don’t have to be a scholar or NFL quarterback to recognize the importance of perseverance and teamwork. From the pre-K playground to a creative workplace, high-functioning teams win through a sense of shared values, positive behavior and selflessness.

Lauren Dixon is CEO of Dixon Schwabl Inc., a marketing communications firm, which has been honored as a best place to work.

11/25/2016 (c) 2016 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email rbj@rbj.net.

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