Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Creating Meaningful Corporate Philosophy

Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Creating Meaningful Corporate Philosophy

Article excerpt

NEW YOU

Too many of today's companies develop fashionable philosophies that are a poor fit for their employees.

Often mission, vision and value statements are ambiguous. Imagine you are a new employee, and the organization you work for tells you to believe in certain philosophies (like your mother made you wear certain shoes). You look around and it's not clear how these polished philosophies relate to your job, yet you know they are important.

Pitfalls to Philosophizing

How much damage can corporate philosophies do? Ambiguous philosophies are often challenging to apply and created by a small group of employees to be forced on all. Plus, many employees resent being told what to believe. Some also might argue that since philosophy is theory it should not be applied to a day-to-- day, hands-on activity like property management.

However, in many cases the problem is not corporate philosophy but rather its application. Because employees are at the forefront of real estate activity, they need to understand a philosophy in order to apply it in different situations. Thus, employees must be engaged in the creation process in order for the philosophy to be meaningful.

Terms of Endearment

Most successful organizations have mission statements; most individuals do not. Like organizations, employees need a purpose for their work, a guiding mission that provides meaning to daily activities. So, before engaging employees in a corporate philosophy, first help them uncover and strengthen their own sense of purpose in their work. Employees must define themselves outside of the expectations of others. They must define what is purposeful about the work, what they enjoy and what success looks like to them to enhance their sense of individual purpose. Employees with a strong sense of purpose are more accountable and self-motivated.

From Individual Needs to Collective Purpose

As Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs suggests, employees need to satisfy lower-order needs like food and shelter (paycheck) and social needs (interaction) before higher-order needs (purposeful work) will prevail. …

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