Place is about belonging

Having influence. Permission. I think of having a place at the table, where you’re invited, you’re welcome. But even more so, you’re expected. It’s like belonging to a family. You have a place in your family. There’s a set of expectations that come along with your place. There’s a set of responsibilities, but there’s also a set of privileges. There are things that you enjoy as a result of being a part of that family. 

An individual inside of an organization has a set of expectations and a sense of responsibility. But they also have a degree of privilege that goes along with that. There are certainly rewards to being a part of that team. What it comes down to is knowing that you’re invited. That you’re welcome. That you’re permitted to be here. 

You and only you

No one would invite you to participate in something if they didn’t really think you were also capable. I suppose there are some instances where people get invited to be a part of something because there’s some sort of sympathy or pity situation going on, but that’s not really happening to highly effective people in highly effective organizations. 

When you are asked to “sit at the table,” there is just an assumption that you’re highly capable and that you have a unique contribution that you and only you are able to make. When you make that contribution, something happens. If you withhold or you “play small” in the contribution that you can make, it doesn’t.

Of course, as an organization, we obviously want to make the greatest impact possible. We’re not flippantly asking people to be a part of our team. We aren’t just hiring people at random: “Oh, hey! Well, we got an empty seat, you better come on board and help make sure we don’t sink.” That’s not the situation that we find ourselves in. Our clients aren’t doing that either. Neither are our most effective colleagues. 

When we ask someone to be a part of the team, it’s because we have a deep belief in the power of that individual to make a contribution. They can help us make the overall impact we’re going for. 

Why does this matter? 

You’ve been invited to join a powerful team. You’ve been welcomed to participate. You can choose to see yourself this way inside of an organization. There’s a commensurate set of expectations, responsibility, and privileges that come along with that. You can either say “I’m that kind of person,” or you can’t. 

What does it look like if you don’t think you’re welcome? Are you here because you’re you or because somebody just has to be here. That’s part of how we, as individuals, choose to see ourselves in our circumstances. It’s also the message our organization is sending. Are saying, “Yes, you’re invited. We’re looking for your active participation, not just your presence?” 

You have a place

This isn’t about just being present. Being present in the moment and being focused on what you’re doing certainly matters. It makes a big difference. But this isn’t just about being in a place. This is about understanding that you have a place. A place carved out for you, specifically. A role that you get to choose how to play. 

It begins with the foundational belief that this place exists and that you belong in this place. I believe that if you personally show up that way, you are going to be a top performer in your role. Your organization is going to benefit. You’re going to make contributions to your team that are going to make a difference. That team is going to make a bigger difference. That is where the real reward is: seeing the work done in a way that changes you, changes your team, changes the people that you’re working for. 

You need to believe that there is a unique place for you. That you are uniquely equipped to sit in that seat. But first, your organization needs to have it in their story. They need to say it out loud. It’s not enough just to know it. You have to talk about it. You have to communicate it. 

Purpose, promise, and place are all about mindset 

They’re about the attitude of the individual. How that attitude is going to feed into their effectiveness as an individual in an organization. Ultimately, they’re about the effectiveness of that organization. 

You need to have purpose in what you’re doing. It’s easy to get so busy doing the work that you overlook or forget why you’re doing it to begin with. The same is true for the promise that you make as an individual and part of a team. It’s certainly true of your place. 

It’s one of those things that seems a little esoteric, or a little “heady.” Why are we even talking about it? I believe it’s important to talk about. It’s critical to talk about and to demonstrate this truth for yourself and for your team. And for those of us that have customers and clients, we need to be able to demonstrate to them what your place is in their life so that they know who you are, the work you’re committed to, and the impact and difference that you want to make for them. 

So in the end, it’s about unity: unifying your organization and unifying with your clients. The individuals in the organization understand this concept of place. Place is tied in with the greater purpose of your organization and the individual in it. Then you as an organization and every individual within can uphold the promise they make.