Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Creating a Better Working Climate

Republicans talk about creating a better business climate in the state. Well, here is how to create a better working climate.

Talent, Tolerance, Technology, Territorial Assets, and Tension

These are the workplace characteristics to seek if you’re wanting a job that will offer exciting challenges and have the best chance to survive the economic downturn and thrive in the next upswing - at least that’s my theory. Challenge it if you like.

Richard Florida has demonstrated how talent, tolerance, and technology can help a city prosper, attracting creative people and the businesses that want to hire them. He has recently added “territorial assets” to the mix (locational amenities) and I’ve long promoted Tension as another T - people need a reason, a challenge - to form community and generate new ideas.

It stands to reason (and Florida may have said this somewhere) that the ideal workplace would also offer:

  • A chance to work with talented, experienced, and wise co-workers.
  • Leadership that is tolerant or open to new ideas, alternative approaches to problem solving, or working generally.
  • Top technology that increases efficiency (which doesn’t necessarily mean every latest gadget or program).
  • A great location near amenities of interest to me (whether transit, roads, parks, restaurants, cafes, pedestrian malls).
  • The types of challenges or tensions in which bright creative people can make a difference.

Status quo is boring; a company just raking in the money without much effort can be a dull place to work after a while (creative people often seek more than a good paycheck).

By contrast, threats, tensions, and new challenges can force all the talented people in an organization to elevate their performance - and the current once-in-a-lifetime economic event is creating many new challenges.

And, I would argue that those companies most open or tolerant to trying new things in the current downturn, to introducing new technologies (such as social media in the workplace), ensuring their location both appeals to workers and helps them be productive - these are the organizations most likely to survive and thrive.

Iowa can reverse the brain drain by creating a better working climate and thrive in the new creative economy.

No comments: