Javier García
CEO & Co-Founder
IOS Offices
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Expert Contributor

Culture of Accountability and Innovation

By Javier García Iza | Tue, 07/06/2021 - 13:14

What would you do if suddenly the world, on account of a virus, shut down your business, profession, or work?

It all happened unexpectedly, we had to act fast. Without knowing where we were going (not only us but the entire planet), we started living a new reality where everything was uncertain and the only thing we could do about it was to survive, as a company, industry, individuals, family and even as a species. We found ourselves individually and collectively searching for one thing: resilience.  

At the time, we didn’t know what to do but we knew that acting was better than doing nothing. Some people chose to react, using the “freeze, fight or flight” survival mechanism, while some of us decided to respond with full attention to the information available but, above all, with motivation. This is how we started inspiring and motivating each other to cleverly face this uncertain and catastrophic landscape. 

Looking back, I can summarize our actions with the following three principles:

  1. Face the brutal facts.
  2. United we stand, divided we fall.
  3. Growth mindset.

In his book Good to Great, Jim Collins devotes a chapter to the concept “face the brutal facts,” making reference to the Stockdale Paradox: too much optimism can kill you. He talks about how James Stockdale, the highest-ranking American prisoner during the Vietnam War, survived because of his sense of pessimism while most of the POWs hoped to be rescued. Their optimism ended up killing them.

In March 2020, governments around the world were closing cities with the purpose of containing the virus, even when there were only one, dozens, or hundreds of cases. At that time, our government was not being consistent enough about the information related to COVID-19: duration of the lockdown, cautionary measures, and temporary closure of many industries, borders and activities. There was a lot of uncertainty and misinformation. However, we were aware of the brutal facts based on science and academia – institutions such as Harvard, Stanford, McKinsey, WHO, and many other organizations. They had one statement in common: the virus would reach millions of people. At that moment, we knew something unexpected was coming and that it would be a long-term situation, not a month or two, as many said or optimistically thought. We were facing something massive. We knew that this was not a 5K or a 10K race, this was a marathon and we had not even reached the first mile.

On the other hand, as they say: “If we want to help others, we should help ourselves first.” When I was a child, I grew up learning that in order to give, you must have first. Just like the airlines’ protocol: Secure your own oxygen mask first, and then assist the person next to you.

Once the basic safety procedures were applied for our staff, we were able to focus on our community to ensure everyone’s security and continue providing our services for those who had to keep coming to the office, paying special attention that all the sanitary measures were applied to our visitors, spaces and furniture.

We were navigating a ship that was sailing downwind, and suddenly, we saw a storm coming. We couldn’t let panic take root in us, so the best way to cross the storm and to survive was and will always be to stay together. We didn’t know what was going to happen to the economy or the world but at least we stood together, motivating each other constantly.

This is how we got to our third point. Once we had the data, and worked as a team, we decided to navigate with a positive state of mind: a growth mindset. Carol Dweck, author of the book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, affirms that we must motivate our employees to develop a growth mindset, which is generated when people believe that their basic qualities, talents, skills and intelligence can be developed over time through experience.

With a powerful growth mindset, people will be able to focus on the process with the purpose of achieving success, learning from failures and doing it better next time. Many successful people state that they have learned more from their failures than from their accomplishments.

Companies have been managed for decades using fear as their main engine: “If I do not do my work, I lose the right to pay my mortgage.” Smarter companies, not only use incentives to drive their teams but also create an inspiring environment.

At IOS OFFICES, we have identified key aspects to lead a high performing team, even through tough times.

Working with incentives will provide stability to your staff. They will not necessarily ever love what they do, but they at least they will not hate it. But working with motivators will contribute to your team’s growth, inspiring them to feel fulfilled, giving the best of themselves every day because they enjoy doing so, not because they have to. 

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Many of our company’s successes are the result of combining efforts and a variety of skills, based on a culture of innovation and constant improvement. 

According to this, we’ve developed different activities in order to inspire our members and spread the magic through our community, such as promoting local consumption through entrepreneurial bazaars, generating new business connections through networking events, developing the IOSFERA app, conducting the IOS OFFICES Networking Summit, uplifting our clients’ days with the Biz Bar Coffee Station, sharing high-valued articles in the Lifestyle Magazine, broadcasting the greatest success stories in the Inspira podcast, promoting family unity and a healthy lifestyle through the IOS 5K and 10K race, helping our environment with our Adopta un Pino Campaign, encouraging entrepreneurs by creating strategic partnerships and alliances with business incubators and universities, and countless initiatives and projects.

After a year of constant challenges and reinventions, we are sure that our culture is what has kept us afloat in this ship that has transformed the traditional office space into Espacios que Inspiran (#SpacesThatInspireToWork).

It hasn’t been easy. It has been a road of reinvention and constant changes. All of this has been accomplished thanks to a culture of accountability and innovation, which helped us to build trust as a company, as a team and as a family. Facing the brutal facts by confronting the raw data and not manipulating it to look good, inspiring a united team and creating a growth mindset where development depends on every member of the team has been our success formula to keep us afloat and keep us going on this road full of challenges.

Photo by:   Javier Garcia

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