The Secret to Getting (and Keeping) That “New York Energy”

Even if you don’t live in New York City, chances are that you have an understanding of what it is that separates it from every other city in the world. Its reputation precedes it, as both a cultural and business hub. As one of the most influential cities in the world, New York has established itself as a global city, with much influence and many networking opportunities.

People from all over the world travel to New York City to experience its culture. Fast-paced, busy, diverse, and culturally exciting are just a few ways to describe “the city that never sleeps.” Its citizens are known for their work ethics — and their speed-walking — and with over 8 million people living in the city, it makes sense that there exists such fierce competition.

The “concrete jungle” is home to a multitude of business leaders and individuals trying to build their companies and their brands, bit by bit. It takes a certain drive to succeed in the city, something that successful CEOs understand — the motivating urge to make a name for oneself within a large crowd, or to make one’s mark on a respective industry. This drive is crucial if you want your business to succeed and your employees to stay motivated. Suffice to say, the type of energy found in New York City is something many business leaders strive for, even those outside of New York.

But how do you get that “New York energy” going with your employees? And, equally as important, how do you keep it?

Through my work with Vistage NYC, and my experience with hundreds of CEOs, I know exactly what it is that you and your employees are missing — the secret to getting and keeping that “New York energy.”

First, it is important to recognize what can happen to your business without that “New York energy.” According to Gallup, 57% of employees are not engaged, or are “checked out.” These employees complete the bare minimum required during their workday, and while they put in the time, there is no energy or passion in their work. This can be disastrous for both profits and morale, and can have terrible consequences for a business.

However, when employees do possess the energy necessary, the benefits are numerous. Dave Logan, John King, and Halee Fischer-Wright, authors of the book “Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization,” conducted a study over a period of 10 years. Within this study, they found that the top 24% of companies operated with different principles than the rest, leading to more productivity. This demonstrates the impact positive energy can have on a business.

The “New York energy” is that extra “wow” factor, the component of a workplace environment that motivates employees and ensures they’re on the right track. It’s similar to the idea of a great and worthy purpose.  A great and worthy purpose, also known as a noble cause, is what your company is working toward, and what motivates your employees to keep going.

To achieve that “New York energy” with your employees, and in order to avoid burnout and the possibility of employees “checking out,” CEOs must think of and implement the notion of their company’s great and worthy purpose. To do this, business leaders need to think long and hard about what it is they want their company to represent. In other words, what do you feel best expresses your company’s role in the world? What do you want to be known for, and what kind of impact do you want your company to have?

A great and worthy purpose isn’t for the purposes of marketing, but is instead what the CEO and company as a whole genuinely believe. A great and worthy purpose is ingrained in the minds of the workers of a company, and it drives people to accomplish their goals. This is why the next step for a CEO to get that “New York energy” going with their employees is to share what they believe their company’s purpose to be, and to explain its importance.

A great and worthy purpose is not a slogan or a motto, but instead a way to navigate business, and a lens through which to view the world. A great and worthy purpose is crucial to that “New York energy,” and is, above all, both authentic and persuasive.

Part of that “New York energy” is knowing what your company’s great and worthy purpose is, and how this will affect the rest of your business. Understanding your purpose not only in the corporate world but also in the industry as a whole is an important aspect of that “New York energy,” as it demonstrates that you have a broader understanding of the extent of your role as a business leader. 

Once your employees have understood the great and worthy purpose, they need to feel supported, as though they are working toward a common goal with every other employee by their side. This is key to keeping that “New York energy” within your employees — ensuring that, despite whatever obstacles your workplace may face, your employees continue to possess a sense of community and mutual respect. Your workplace needs to mimic the community of New York City, of millions of people working together despite their differences. To truly maintain that energy, managers and employees alike must utilize their belief in a common goal for the purpose of advancing the company. In this way, the idea of a great and worthy purpose is invaluable.

Bottom Line:

People who live and work in New York City understand the obstacles they’ll face as one person in a city of millions. However, this doesn’t stop them from trying to achieve their goals or pursue their dreams, whether in business or otherwise. Though the city is busy, fast-paced, and business focused, there is also an overwhelming sense of community — something that a lot of companies could benefit from.

Though that “New York energy” is not easy to achieve, there are a few ways to get and keep that energy going with your employees. As a result of my work within Mark Taylor’s Vistage groups, I know that by concentrating on a great and worthy purpose, communicating it to your employees, and ensuring that workers on all levels and in all departments believe in the same goal, it is possible for you to implement and maintain this energy within your own workplace.