Ever wondered what truly sets successful businesses apart? It’s not just about smart strategies or cutting-edge technology. The real game-changer is something far more fundamental: a people-centric culture.
In this article, Chris Wright, Founder, CEO & Chairman of Liberty Energy, discusses powerful steps to create a people-first culture. Chris highlights how focusing on your team’s happiness and growth can transform your business from the inside out.
“You author your life; it’s not circumstances, history, location, or your strengths and weaknesses. It’s not about the cards you’re dealt in life, it’s how you play them.”– Chris Wright
Finding Joy in Relationships
How do you define happiness? From a young sports and academic achiever, Chris’ story reveals to us that real happiness isn’t just about winning games or getting the best grades. It’s about the people in our lives and making a difference in the world. He learned that being happy means having good relationships with family, friends, and the people you work with. It’s about helping others and leaving the world better than we found it.
According to Chris, the best kind of success comes from caring about others and making a positive impact. It’s not just about what we achieve for ourselves, but how we connect with others and make things better for everyone. This is why Chris decided to do things differently in his job. He made a workplace where a people-first culture thrives, treating team members like family, not just workers. He believes that when people are happy and can balance their work with what they love, they do better at their jobs. This makes the whole company more successful.
How Vulnerability Creates Connections
Chris learned early the value of self-reliance and the power of positive thinking. His childhood challenges drove him to be financially independent, motivated by his love and a desire to care for his family. In high school, he found out how important it is to be vulnerable and share humor with friends, which helped him make stronger connections with people.
“There’s this notion of choice. Our circumstances don’t define us; what we do when facing that does. It’s the choices you make, not what the world gives you, that defines you.”– Ashish Kothari
We all author our own life stories. Our choices, especially when we face hard times, show who we really are more than our successes. He shows us that being open about our struggles and supporting each other is how we build real, meaningful relationships. This is what a people-first culture is all about. This way of living and working makes everyone feel safe to be who they are and brings us closer together. When we focus on people first, we can build a happier, more connected life.
A People-First Business Strategy
Chris started with a bold vision: to create a company where people aren’t just employees, but valued members of a family-like team. The real power of this people-first culture became clear when facing tough times in the oil and gas industry during the pandemic, when the industry was hit hard. Liberty didn’t just survive, they thrived.
During that time, Chris chose to prioritize his team’s stability over short-term gains. He avoided layoffs, treating his employees as the most valuable part of the company. By keeping his team together and focusing on providing excellent service, the company grew its market share significantly.
“When people feel like they’re part of a family, united in a common cause, they dig deeper. They offer more productivity, creativity, and innovation than any resource you could buy.”– Ashish Kothari
This people-first approach didn’t just create a strong, supportive work environment; it also turned out to be a smart business move. By consistently putting people first, they’ve topped industry surveys and shown that caring for your team leads to better business performance. This story teaches us that investing in people is the best strategy for any business looking to grow and succeed in the long run.
How to Lead a People-First Culture
How do you lead a business the people-first way, especially during turbulent times? Through his company’s experience, Chris teaches us profound lessons:
- Lead by example – In times of financial strain, Chris implemented executive pay cuts, demonstrating a commitment to shared sacrifice and setting a tone of unity, fairness, and responsibility.
- Transparent Communication – Chris consistently engaged in open dialogues with his team, ensuring that every employee felt informed and valued. This approach fostered a culture of trust and transparency.
- Create a Supportive Environment – Chris nurtured a workplace where mutual support, both professional and personal, was encouraged. This strengthened the team’s resilience and ability to tackle challenges collectively.
- Prioritize Job Security – Recognizing the importance of stability, he made layoffs a last resort, thereby building loyalty and a sense of security among employees, which in turn motivated them to perform their best.
- Maintain Integrity in Commitments – Upholding contracts and agreements, even when less profitable, Chris established his company’s reputation for reliability and integrity, crucial for long-term relationships and success.
- Collaborate with Stakeholders – He fostered strong relationships with lenders, suppliers, and customers, creating a supportive network essential for navigating difficult times through collaborative solutions.
- Adhere to Ethical Practices – Liberty’s unwavering commitment to ethical business conduct, even at the expense of short-term gains, solidified a lasting reputation for integrity and ethical business practices.
Chris Wright’s approach demonstrates that handling business challenges with integrity, clear communication, and a focus on a people-first culture leads to sustainable success and resilience in the face of adversity.
As we wrap up this blog about putting people first in business, it’s clear that real success is about more than just making money. It’s about how we treat and value the people we work with. The core message is clear: prioritizing the well-being and growth of your team is not just a moral imperative but a strategic advantage.
This leaves us with something important to think about: How can we make our own workplaces better places where everyone feels important and part of the team’s success? Let’s use what we’ve learned to change our idea of success, the people-first way. Remember, it should be about how well we connect with and support each other, not just about profits.
Chris Wright is a tech nerd turned entrepreneur. With a deep-rooted passion for energy in all its forms, he has journeyed through various sectors, from fusion, solar, and geothermal, to his current focus on oil and gas and next-generation geothermal.
His guiding principle is clear: the source of energy matters less than its ability to be secure, reliable, affordable, and, most importantly, its capacity to better human lives. Chris’ commitment is not just to energy itself, but to unlocking its potential to enrich communities worldwide.
Learn more about Chris at his LinkedIn.
Listen to the podcast with Ashish, Anil, and Chris below.
Access and subscribe to all of the episodes of the Happiness Squad Podcast here.
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