715.607.0478 tj@tjtisonpropels.com

I know, you saw the title and thought, “I already work for one.”  (cue comedic drum roll)

That’s not what I meant-sort of.

maggots bigger

I mean would you literally work for a place that served you maggots in your lunch?  Not on purpose, but because they were building something great and you wanted to be a part of it, even if your lunch was less than desirable?

Chamath Palihapitiya and a lot of other early Facebook employees did.  In a recent Vanity Fair article, Chamath admits that the early days weren’t all glam and fluff.  But this brilliant man who can do anything (and has) stayed with the stuff.  And so did many others.  And you know why?  Because they were raving fans of their own company.

Are you a raving fan of yours?

Would you stay with your company if you didn’t have high pay and all the benefits, gym memberships, and free snacks?  Would you stay there just because you believed in what they were building?

I have worked with, and for, many companies through the years.  Some had posh offices with all the bells and whistles, and lack-luster engagement.  Some were cramped and spare, and full of hardworking, fearless giants.

  • Guess which ones were more fun to work with?
  • Guess which ones had lower turnover?
  • Guess which ones were more successful financially?

You guessed right.

Chamath talks about this in his article.  It’s about being disciplined financially, and leading inspirationally.  Both are of the utmost importance if you are going to grow successfully.

Disciplined Financially:

Yes, comfortable chairs are important, but not always in the budget.  Free snacks are nice, but not necessary.

I help businesses analyze their financials and grow strategically from the story their numbers tell.  Sometimes, there is just a bunch of waste.

Here’s what Chamath has to say about waste:

“Don’t waste money on things that get away from your mission, which confuse employees about why they’re actually there. Meaning, the quality of the office and the quality of the food are all part and parcel of a lack of discipline, which speaks to the fact that the mission isn’t compelling enough.”

Food for thought.  (pun intended)

Is your lack of financial discipline the result of a weak mission?

I know what you’re thinking, how will you attract and keep great talent to help you grow is you don’t have all the perks?

By leading inspirationally.

Lead Inspirationally: (yes, I made that up)

If you don’t have a compelling mission, a great “why”, everyone will expect glam and fluff.  If the main reason for you employing people is to line your pockets, it’s not a good enough reason.  Everyone has a desire to be part of something bigger than themselves.  Are you giving them something bigger, or just glam and fluff?

As the leader goes, so goes the organization.  The leader sets the “why” and casts vision to follow it.  The leader sets the culture and tone of the organization.  The leader inspires others to follow.

Leadership is a mindset and behavior, not a position.  If you suck as a leader,  no one will follow you.  They may obey you, but they will need the perks in order to stay, at least until something or someone inspiring comes along and steals them away.

Here’s what Chamath said about his leader, Mark Zuckerberg:

“The most amazing thing about working with him is how even-keeled he is. He’s very happy to just be the last person to talk in a room.”

Chamath obviously has a lot of respect and admiration for his leader.  Does anyone have that kind of respect for you as a leader?

[Tweet “People can honor your position as the company owner, and still not respect you as a leader.”]

Respect is earned, honor is given.  Are you intentionally earning respect and leading inspirationally?  If not, you are doing your company, employees and customers a disservice.

If you are, you probably have employees who would work for maggots.

This article originally appeared on LinkedIn


Tenaya (T.J.) Tison is a business leader and entrepreneur who is passionate about propelling others in their work & faith potential, by strategically directing them in business + work; and in full-faith living. Find out what T.J. doeshere. Follow T.J. on Twitter. Invite TJ to speak.

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