Recently Money Magazine’s “Best Places to Live” article was published. Coming in at number eight was Middleton, WI which is very close to where I live. Middleton, and Madison for that matter, are no strangers to being on the list of top places to live. Both cities have continually received high marks for their quality of life. But why here? In case you haven’t noticed, we spend the better part of the year in cold and snow followed by a few months that are comfortable. In the summer, it’s not the heat, but the humidity that gets you. At least that is what I am told. Regardless of the weather, we are still a top pick and I think there are a few things about great places to live that relate to business as well.
- Great experiences – We are all about seeking pleasure and comfort. Great communities find ways to provide that. Each community on the list has plenty of events and attractions that provide these experiences. Like in business, communities have the responsibility of keeping a wide variety of people happy. How are the experiences you create keeping your employees and customers happy?
- Security – Safety is important to many. Great communities are safe communities. People want to know they can do things without feeling threatened. Can your people perform their job functions without feeling this way? If you said yes, do the behaviors of your people exhibit that?
- Education – Communities thrive on the availability of offering a great education. Parents actively seek good schools that will provide their children with a future. Is your company a great source of education? Does your staff feel like they have a future with you? Can they grow and develop to reach the desired level of success?
- Opportunity – In difficult economic times, people will search out areas that provide opportunities. Communities with a foundation of strong companies with secure jobs are a huge bonus. Those jobs also have to provide opportunities for advancement and personal growth. What steps are you taking to stimulate opportunities for your people?
- Energy – By energy, I mean an engaging environment that stimulates the body and mind. Both Middleton and Madison have plenty to do here. There are a number of institutions for higher learning as well as access to bike trails, parks, music and live entertainment. How is your business building the energy of its people?
These may be difficult questions for you to answer. Given the economic state some businesses are in, these questions may be difficult to hear. To some, the answers necessary may seem impossible. After all, it is hard to invest when there are limited resources to make that investment. What is important is as a business leader you need to find a way to address each of these challenges. Failure to stimulate the mind and soul will leave your talent feeling empty and looking elsewhere to be fulfilled.