Every company, corporation and start-up has a Culture Person, whether they’re aware of it or not. Let’s call this Person Bobby. Your customers and clients are meeting Bobby every time they interact with you or one of your employees.
In every person, there are two fundamental elements that make up who we are: our personhood and our personality. Personhood is derived from our valuesand personality expresses our vigor. Each of us is a fluid intermingling and interaction of both, and corporate culture works in a similar way. As with a person, it has personhood and personality, values and vigor. Both can be determined and developed.
Essentially, Personhood is formed by three things: belief, behavior and becoming.
What you believe determines how you behave which defines who you become. For example, if we believe that honesty is paramount, we’ll behave accordingly and in time will become honest as a company. Have you ever asked yourself what you believe as a company? Do you measure your behavior? Are you intentional about who you are becoming? All three are constantly happening with or without your conscious effort.
Our Personality – vigor – flows out of our Personhood. Personality doesn’t simply emerge out of a vacuum.
All personality is shaped so we should be highly intentional about the Vigor of our Corporate Culture. How do you develop a personality? Every person has four parts: a heart, mind, soul and strength. We all are products of the combination of our feelings, thoughts, senses and abilities.You can intentionally design and develop your corporate personality around these four pieces. You could ask, “How does your Bobby think, feel, and act?”
Let’s use raising children as a good example: when you have children, you are very intentional about their development and growth. It takes focus, hard work and trial and error to raise healthy, happy children who grow into mature adults. We develop them intellectually, emotionally, psychologically and physically. We spare no expense in order to ensure they become fruitful and unique individuals positively contributing to society at large. As with raising children, you can determine what kind of corporate culture you want your employees to grow in. You wouldn’t leave your child’s maturing to chance and you shouldn’t leave the development your corporate culture to chance either. If good Personhood attracts respect, good personality attracts affection.
Allow me to explain how this worked at P1 Industries, where I was employed as their Culturalist. Our essential personhood is honesty and our essential personality is friendliness. Our customers trust us and like us because we’re transparent and trustworthy but also a lot of fun to be around. There is constantly laughter in our offices. Essentially, our Bobby is a cool person. Our Values – Personhood – are: honor, friendship, learning, entrepreneurship and passion. We honor and serve one another, our customers and our community, and the natural overflow is constant growth, both personally and corporately. Our Vigor is caring (heart), creative (mind), friendly (soul), and fruitful (strength). We are honoring in our approach, respectful in our attitude, generous in practice and productive in work.
One of our employees struggled with substance abuse. Our CEO, David Dussault, instead of firing him, spoke with him caringly, enrolled him in a help program, gave him two weeks off, and kept him on full salary. Why? Because this man has a family, is a good employee and needs help. That’s how love, serve and grow works. Good culture enables deep choices.
Corporate Culture is a Person. Decide who you want you Bobby to be. Every time someone meets you they are meeting your Bobby as well. Be wise and determine who it is you want them to meet.
Let me leave you with a thought: if your culture was a living person, would you hire them?