Keeping it Simple

Published: February 28, 2011

In the new economy, the Team Clock Institute is one of many organizations seeking to model the qualities of an "employer of choice."  With so many metrics for best places to work, how do we make it simple?  Why would the industry's best talent wish to engage with my team?

Let’s break it down into four areas: investment, trust, innovation and distancing.

Investment: Top workplaces are committed to providing their teams with the resources they need to excel. Moreover, employees are committed to a set of values that empowers respectful management of conflict and appreciation for the richness of diversity. The norms and rhythms of day-to-day interactions illuminate this investment.

Trust: Employers of choice hold themselves and each other accountable for agreed upon norms. Passing trust tests produces comfort by enabling teammates to anticipate each others’ moves. The result is collaboration and a unified approach to a common set of goals.

Innovation: Leaving comfort behind to take a risk requires a level of bravery that can only be earned through successful investment and trust. The reward of trust is the knowledge that the safety net still exists beneath you even when you can’t see it. Top teams stretch to create disruptive ideas that change the world. They are willing to endure the consequences of the change they create.

Distancing: When you gradually move away from the previous status quo, you are responding to the change you have crafted through your choice to take risks. Disruptive innovation changes the landscape. It forces nimble adaptation, poise and resilience in the face of stress. Letting go of the past allows energy to be re-devoted to an unknown future. With this, the cycle begins anew.

Employers of choice invite change with enthusiasm. Like the quadrant-based faces on the Team Clock, the bulk of the growth experience requires functional distress and discomfort. As a reward, we get to enjoy a brief celebration of attachment only to cash it in for more change. Employees of the Team Clock Institute have bought into this engagement with full disclosure. How about you?

Photo of Steve Ritter, the co-founder of The Center for Team Excellence

Steve Ritter

Steve Ritter is an internationally recognized expert on team dynamics whose clients include Fortune 500 companies, professional sports teams, and many educational organizations. He is on the faculty of the Center for Professional Excellence at Elmhurst University where he earned the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching. Steve is the former Senior Vice President, Director of Human Resources at Leaders Bank, named the #1 Best Place to Work in Illinois in 2006 and winner of the American Psychological Association's Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award in 2010. Steve provides ongoing workplace culture consultation to many thriving companies including Kraft Foods, Advocate Health Care, Kellogg's, the Chicago White Sox, AthletiCo, and Northwestern Mutual Financial Network.