Creating a Corporate Culture
When you’ve worked at one of “those” organizations it sticks with you. It creates an expectation for every other employer or even client that you work with. By one of “those”, I refer to an organization that understands that each individual contributor is essential to its success. Upper management strives to create an environment that nurtures creativity, excellence, problem solving and collaboration. And, rewards it. I worked in an organization that exemplified this type of culture but as the company grew they outgrew the groovy vibe that allowed me and others to thrive. In the June 2011 issue of Inc. Magazine, Leigh Buchanan and a team of researchers at Winning Workplaces, created a list and provided an overview of “50 top companies and 50 ways to establish a superior company culture”.
Some unique rituals and cultures were unveiled from companies like Menlo Innovations, a software company in Ann Arbor, MI, where everyone works in pairs to Namaste’ Solar, a solar panel designer and installer in Boulder, CO, that has established a democracy within the organization where every employee is worth 1 share/1 vote (including the founders). I especially enjoyed the profile on TRX, a physical-fitness manufacturer in San Francisco, CA, that makes personal fitness one of their business objectives. Working for myself, I frequently take off for a run in the middle of the day to get away from the phone and computer. Wouldn’t it be great if you could send a wave to your boss as you jogged out of the office at 2pm? If you think so, you should look into TRX. Now, as much as I like to collaborate I think sharing a computer with a rotating group of colleagues might just push me over the edge but it works for Menlo Innovations. In fact, part of their interviewing process puts candidates into this “sharing” environment to see how they communicate, collaborate and grow. Another ritual at Menlo Innovations is the weekly pair reports in which each partner holds a horn of the viking helmet when giving their update (by the way, their website is really cool).
I’m proud that seven of the 50 companies were in California but interesting to note that five of the top companies were from Michigan. Perhaps the lagging economy has served as an inspiration for good corporate stewardship. On Winning Workplaces website they stated a few interesting statistics about these highly cultured companies:
- • 80% of them have increased revenues over the past three years, and
- • 88% of them have increased their workforces over the past three years
For the full article: Core Values of 2011 Top Small Company Workplaces.