Much has been said about "lean" and "agile" approaches to work. Reflecting over more than ten years of personal experience, I have come to this conclusion: Respect for people is the most fundamental principle. When respect is the lens and filter through which decisions are made, there is a much higher chance for success.
Having respect for people:
- requires listening, empathy, and deeper understanding
- prioritizes health, family, and well-being
- promotes connections and relationships
- fosters community, commitment, and loyalty
- empowers employees to make positive changes
When respect is modeled top-down, leadership is motivated to maximize focus and alignment, minimize wasteful activities, and reduce friction. Leadership is obligated to make better decisions for the sustainability of the company because its people deserve stability, work-life balance, and personal/professional development.
Employees are motivated to do their best work. Mutual respect helps individuals come together as a team, investing in one another, and fighting for each other's success.
When conflicts arise, respect allows people to focus on solving the issue rather than attacking individuals.
People are people. They are not your best "assets." They are not fungible resources.
The "Golden Rule" is still the golden rule.