Firm Culture: A Seduction
In a previous post, I mentioned why it is important to talk about and do things in your career and with school that you enjoy to be happy in life and thus maximize productivity and success. I came across an article at Youtern.com (originally posted at comerecommended.com, with more info at companyculture.com) about company culture and thought it related nicely to being happy and productive in your career. While reading these articles, I found so much cool and relevant information – as a student, intern, and former corporate employee – that I might end up writing about company culture often.
Company Culture: A General Overview: Companyculture.com says that company culture is essentially the organization’s personality. Just like people have individual personalities, so do organizations. Company culture can effect pretty much everything in a firm, from productivity to the firm image to motivation to how employees work together to solve problems. These effects can be positive or negative, depending on the culture, and they start at the top and trickle down the chain of command.
Since firms have personality, too, think about what kind of firm you would “be” and how, as a leader, you would embody your culture, and how you would share it. Find people and organizations that resonate with you and have a similar personality as yours.
My Story: The Repulsion: When I worked at Apple, my first full time manager was encouraging, positive, approachable, open minded, and wanted his people to succeed; he promoted from within. He was a leader. He really represented what Apple is about at its core (pun intended). Most people worked well under him. Then there was a change in management and the new guy managed not by leading, but with scare tactics and manipulation. He was not approachable, nor did he really care about any success but his own. This reflected in the store, and he was soon transferred out. I was long gone by then, actually. It was under him that I put in my resignation because, after several meetings where I was thrown under the bus and set up to fail, I decided that that store had become a culture I wanted no part of…that was not who I was.
My fav manager and I at my Apple resignation/back to school party.
The Seduction: Fast forward about three years…now I am at a firm where the culture completely fits mine (so far at least!) I knew this before I even met them. How? Just by the way their internship ad was written – both the style (friendly, fun yet serious, high expectations but encouraging with a focus on success, innovative) and specific content (time requirements, methods of communication) spoke to my personality and my interests….this is why I stalked them! After my interview, I knew it was a place I would want to be and left excited and eager. After my first official meeting, I definitely felt like I fit in. The feeling about this firm’s culture that I got from the web was confirmed in person.
Why this is important: I am happy to work and actually look forward to it! Of course, like anything worth doing in life, there will be rough and demanding times where I may not be riding rainbows and jumping on pink, fluffy clouds. I know this – I expect it. But the key here is, like any relationship, the firm complements me, and (I believe) I complement them. Ideally, this leads to long term success for everyone involved.