Three Ways to be Counter (Corporate) Culture

By Jay Shifley

I was watching an old episode of the television show Law and Order yesterday.  This particular plot centered around a ruthless female CEO of a company who had fired several employees at bad times—while pregnant, during Christmas, on their birthdays etc.  She’d not done it on purpose, but had just made cold, business decisions at really bad times.  After all—it’s not personal, it’s business, right?

I’m glad I have the freedom (enlightenment) to be different than this common stereotype.  When those of us who are interested in changing other’s lives for the better hear the word “business,” we can often consider it a dirty word.  We can equate it to exploitation.  Here are three ways to buck that stereotype!

  1. Involve others in your decisions.  It’s lonely at the top, right?  Well, it doesn’t have to be.  Jim Collins in his book Good to Great advocates for getting the right people on board with your company before taking any significant business direction.  Hiring people with a similar view of business can help you stay on track and not default to the stereotypical business owner who is only looking at the financial bottom line.
  2. Spell out your vision.  On my wall in my office I had the Bible verse “Don’t grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap if we don’t give up.”  I wanted to give up on my vision for my company several times, and when I did I would look to my wall.  Many times I pointed it out to my employees as well.
  3. Be willing to lose in order to engage.  I bought the vast majority of my materials from traders right in the area where my business was located.  It was a ghetto—so most everything I bought, from desks to books, was of a low quality.  Even equipment like air conditioners and computers were more poorly made than if I had bought them from another area of the city.  However, in doing this I engaged my community, met the people in it, and had great relationships— because of my willingness to lose.  Keep the most important thing, relationships, as your top priority, and remember number two above when those relationships become frustrating and/or cost you financially.

Keeping these three ways in the front of your mind will help you avoid being labeled as a “cold hearted” CEO!

Originally written: February 28, 2017

 

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