According to Bruce Tulgan, Founder and Chairman of Rainmaker Thinking, companies that prioritize specific soft skills behaviors tend to have a stronger and more positive corporate culture.
Take Disney or the Marine Corps: They prioritize outreach to young people and value qualities like loyalty and dedication. A profitable rental car chain has high profits and fast growth—according to Tulgan, it’s because they emphasize self-presentation, quality, initiative, and problem-solving. These results aren’t accidents; they’re what happens when an organization focuses on its priorities and emphasizes them throughout the company.
Company branding should be consistent and accessible; slogans, images, messages that support the brand’s shared meaning- all should also be backed up by the prevailing company culture.
Anyone who’s ever worked an office job has probably gone to a corporate retreat or summit session or company wide love fest, listened to keynote speakers, participated (more or less willingly) in breakout sessions, brainstormed, presented, and watched company leaders “synthesize takeaways” or revamp the mission statement. It’s inspiring and impressive and there’s no way it’s all just bluster, right?
Except then… nothing happens. It was a waste of everyone’s time and the company obviously has a lot more mouth than money to put with it. Don’t try to change corporate culture overnight, and definitely don’t come up with buzzwords that sound great but remain utterly detached from what you actually do and how your employees behave.
Even if you oversee the most Millennial crop of interns to ever sigh, check their phones, and make coffee at the rate it would take a burro to climb out of the Andes, it’s foolish to blame the “generation gap” entirely on them. Your company had a culture before they came along, and now that they’re here, your company culture has to adapt. They may surprise you with innovation or rapid adaptations to change if you accept and value them as contributors to the team instead of the whippersnappers snapchatting in the break room.
That said, it’s fine if your company culture involves no personal media at work—just make sure you’re not also insisting they maintain vibrant social media company profiles, because that contrast just makes you look petty.
What do you value? How is that reflected in the work you prioritize, the people you support, and the work you produce? Would a newcomer to your company agree that there’s a positive culture? Is there cohesion? Retention? Is morale high or resigned? From your earliest stages of hiring interviews to your highest levels of company goal-setting, make sure you’re reinforcing the culture that you want to represent you and your brand.
How to Unlock the Power of Soft Skills
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