January 25, 2008

Swimming Against the Tide

Which way are you headed?
How to Make it Happen in 2008
It’s hard and in most cases detrimental for you.

Companies big and small have a culture. And culture translates into a work environment that is unique to that company. This work environment defines work practices like what time people show up for work, how are meetings conducted, how they communicate, how they socialize and how they treat work.

The question is – do you fit in this culture? Do you relish the work environment? If you are eager and enthusiastic while the culture is laid back and lethargic – there will be challenges. This situation will impact both parties but weigh more heavily on you because it’s you against many. There are always exceptions but in most cases your energy and motivation will be sapped before you can change the enterprise. You can always affect some change within your sphere of influence but being able to influence an enterprise requires – position, empowerment, courage and persistence.

Here is a list of attributes to mull over when thinking culture fit
  • Size: What do you prefer - small fish in a small pond or small fish in a large pond. Similarly how big a fish you are makes a difference.
  • Speed: What kind of decision-making and change mentality makes you tick? Done, next, move … does your head spin or do you get a rush?
  • Tempo: Are you a high pressure, high stress, make or break – adrenaline junkie?
  • Footprint: Are you local or global? Love to travel and see the world or are you happier not knowing where the airport is?
  • People: Who do you like to hang with - Baby Boomers, Gen x, Gen y, Millennia …
  • Hierarchy: What is your preference for a one-on-one with your manager? At the corner bar or would you rather have it scheduled by the administrative assistant 2 months in advance in the main conference room.
  • Flexibility: Are you looking for 6 months of paternity leave? Or maybe flextime and remote work location?

It is always a good idea to consider what makes you tick and what makes your company tick. Standing out in a crowd is good in some instances – not this one!

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