Have you ever heard someone say “It’s all about people?” What was your reaction? Some people readily agree and go on to comment on the people who made a positive impact on their lives.

Others disagree and emphasize the importance of health or having sufficient financial resources. Personal freedoms and autonomy rights are mentioned by others. Faith in God is still another reference as well as doing what’s right.

It’s our contention that when our time upon this earth is over, what will matter most is who we loved and who loved us.

Not the degree or title we had, not which device we used, not the offices we worked out of, not what awards we won, or fame we achieved, not the amount of money we earned or saved, not the house we lived in, not the body or beauty we sought or had, not how far we got on our bucket list, not how many friends we had on Facebook.

None of this will matter.

Perhaps “it” really is all about people. If that’s the case, what then should be the nature of our time together? How should we behave? In good times and in the bad times? Everything else that matters flows from how we answer the question, “How do we want to be together?”

Before addressing the question in an organizational context, how we answer this question is also vitally important in our personal lives—with our families, our spouses, our children, and, just as importantly, with our friends and those people who are not yet our friends.

When we are talking about being together we are talking about our interpersonal relationships—truly realizing that other people matter.

In organizations, relationships are carried out between fellow employees, between employees and leaders and managers, between organizational members and their customers or those they serve. Our transformative goal in all instances should be to strengthen our relationships and bring greater joy and love to the workplace.

Thousands of books have been written that tell us how to get along better, what to emphasize, what not to do. Some are even worth reading.

The purpose of this thought piece is to highlight but a few of the important issues that organizational leaders might consider in seeking to improve organizational relationships and their company’s culture.

Have and practice core values. Values are the DNA of an organization. They need to be lived out by everyone, every day, everywhere. Utilize state of the art recruitment, onboarding, and retention practices.

Make the concern for others a daily habit. Desire to be a role model for respect and kindness.

Appreciate the value and contributions of each employee as well as recognizing them for their accomplishments.

Utilize a performance evaluation system that makes relationships better not worse. People are good, they can be trusted.

Invest in personal growth strategies, staff training, and employee development.
Emphasize the positive while enhancing optimism and the benefits of gratitude and hopefulness. As is perhaps obvious, this list could go on for some length.

In closing, we share some thoughts from Martin Seligman. They are from his book Flourish, published in 2011. Recognized as the father of positive psychology, Seligman emphasizes the importance of relationships and of having a positive connection with the people around you.

Seligman says: “Very little that is positive is solitary. When was the last time you laughed uproariously? The last time you felt indescribable joy? The last time you sensed profound meaning and purpose? The last time you felt enormously proud of an accomplishment? Even without knowing the particulars of these high points in your life, I know their form—all of them took place around other people.”

So the question is – How Do We Want to Be Together?