Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Your Company's Culture is Built Upon Its Lore

I've learned that a company's culture is based upon its lore. It's lore is the retelling of the times when the rules were bent to do the right thing.

Here's an example. I once inherited a small group of associates, one of whom was a "temp" who had been there for several years. Temporary personel don't receive health benefits, they don't get paid for holidays and they aren't accumulating a pension. Therefore, both parties should expect it to be a short term assignment. If the assignment lasts for years, then a situation is created where a group of people, "the temps", are compensated less equitably than their peers.

Soon after taking the assignment, I told my "temp" that I expected to gain some efficiencies by making several process improvements, and that within 3-6 months I would no longer need her services. When the time came to let her go, I did something unheard of. I gave her two weeks of severence pay. Not only that, I let the other associates know that I was trying to do the right thing by compensating a multi-year associate with a reasonable severance package.

By bending the rules in that manner, I created a story that was told for many years. I had added to the company's lore, which fed the culture that this is a company that cares about their people.

The moral of the story is that a company's culture is based upon the lore that is created when the rules are bent or broken. If a company's culture is to change, it must break some established rules.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Okay, What Shall We Do Next?

I've learned from Nido Qubein that ”Your present circumstances don't determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.

I believe that is true in all aspects of my life. As I try to live in the moment, I try not to languish in the moment. I'm aware of all of the good in my life, and I'm planning for what's next. It's not a matter of wanting more. It's knowing what I want, then pursuing it.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Optimism, Perseverance and Pursuing One's Dreams

I've learned that Teddy Roosevelt had a way with words when speaking of optimism, perseverance and pursuing one's dreams.

"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows achievement and who at the worst if he fails at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat." -- Theodore Roosevelt

That's a quote that I need to memorize!