What would Oprah do?
Written By: Lindiwe Davis
Culture- A culture is a way of life of a group of people — the behaviors, beliefs, values, and symbols that they accept, generally without thinking about them, and that are passed along by communication and imitation from one generation to the next….
Now that I have included the definition of the word culture, I wonder how CEO's, recruiters and hiring managers truly understand the meaning as it relates to a candidate and of course the company as a whole. Recently, I got an email from a company saying that I would not fit a company’s culture after applying for a role. The problem with the email I received was that the recruiter, hiring manager nor any representative of the company took time to speak with me. In other words, how would they know if I fit their culture if they’ve never met or spoken with me? And the only information they had was my resume, LinkedIn profile, and picture and cover letter. So how exactly could they have come to such a conclusion without the necessities to share this opinion and thru email at that?
Naturally, I ask, “ What would Oprah do” since she is one of the compasses I choose to use when deciding if giving feedback will help or hurt a situation. Mind you, I have no control over anyone's thinking, but it’s nice to feel like you can absorb such shenanigans with grace. So this incident got me thinking about how I would fit into the fabric of a company I desire and how I want to build a team as an aspiring mogul. Company culture is a great thought and an even better way of engaging employees if, in fact, the company is interested in bringing together a diverse group of people, hence motivating employees with the promise of unification. Earlier this year Entrepreneur published an article, " To Change Your Company Culture, Change Your Conversation" which was enlightening and tried to dig into the crux of the current climate and need for discussing this issue.
The point I found most distinctive and obvious is the need for the leader of a company to remember to speak to all of the employees-- C-suite, human resources, and staff alike. The company culture initiative is so important to all of us, whether you are a mogul in the making or employee getting ready to launch your business. While building a brand/company-- it's the people helping build the company that is our life lines and so the action plan supporting team building, for example, must be as strategic as the efforts to grow the product, service or just company overall. I also agree that a company that has an exhaustive amount of perks should have as much money and effort thrown towards the actual employees and their needs.
Additionally, while building out your vision, there is space to create an action plan, which would require you as the leader to be open to different types of people and their talents. I'm sure most of you have been in situations at a company you've worked for, and you asked the question -- "Why would we spend money to outsource a project when we have multi -talented people at our fingertips?" And I am confident that company had a culture of always outsourcing, for example. If we learn nothing else, we at least want to build a work environment that invites everyone to share their ideas and feel acknowledged for their efforts. I can promise you that " cookie Tuesday" is not more important than feeling valued.
And so the lessons for all of us, while we are grinding and building our brands, is that we should always keep our team (small or big) as first thought. Afterall, a company can not thrive over time without the support of your team and the company culture they ultimately create.