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Guest

Three Values to Hold High in 2012

By: Guest | January 16, 2012 | 
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Today’s guest post is written by Shelley Pringle

Once upon a time in a land far, far away—actually it was in Canada so maybe not that far away for some of you—I worked for an integrated marketing communication company called Promanad.

Promanad had one of the most interesting corporate cultures I’ve ever experienced. For example, new business presentations were always concluded with the declaration, “We’re not normal.”

And indeed we weren’t.

Now, corporate culture can be a pretty nebulous thing. Many factors affect it, including how people are compensated and rewarded, formal and informal policies, rituals, routines, and, perhaps most importantly, the behavior of the organization’s leaders.

The leaders at Promanad understood the importance of organizational culture. They hired Dr. Lance Secretan, a provocative leadership teacher, to help them build a successful company and a great place to work.

A corporate mission was articulated, along with a vision and three core values: Mastery, chemistry and delivery. The latter were reinforced in many ways with employees, including an awards presentation at the end of each year recognizing those who best exemplified the company’s values.

Three Values to Hold High in 2012

  1. Mastery: Undertake whatever you do in both your personal and professional lives, to the highest standards of which you are capable.Organizations can best exemplify mastery by investing time and money into coaching and professional development. I can’t think of a time in the history of business when continuous learning has been more important. Social media platforms are constantly changing and new tools are introduced almost every day.At the individual level, mastery means staying up-to-date on social media best practices, curating engaging content, and having the right plug-ins on your blog to make it successful—however you define that.
  2. Chemistry: Relate so well with others on a personal and social level that they actively seek to associate themselves with you.Clear communication, respecting other people, and leading by example are all ways companies and individuals commit to chemistry.Did you read Gini Dietrich’s post back in November about how to be charming? My favorite suggestion was: “This is about them, not you.”Don’t use a Twitter feed to broadcast information about you, don’t overtly promote your company in blog posts and please, please, please, don’t automatically link your Twitter feed with LinkedIn.
  3. Delivery: Find customers, identify their needs, and meet them.Delivery is about effective communication, listening, keeping your promises, meeting deadlines, and doing more than is expected.If you’re going to offer an opinion on Twitter, hear both sides of the situation before you click ‘tweet.’ Blog with gusto and enthusiasm. And whether you commit to weekly or daily posting on your Facebook wall or blog, follow through on your promise.

Unfortunately, all good things come to an end. Promanad was eventually merged with another organization and its culture was adapted, and eventually lost, in the transition.

But I’ll never forget the leadership lessons I learned there and the creative approach taken to defining the organization’s culture.

How about you? Have you ever experienced a really unusual corporate culture? What made it unique? Are there lessons you learned there you can use in social media?

Shelley Pringle is the founder of Toronto agency Polaris Public Relations Inc., a collective of experienced PR professionals who are passionate about achieving results for their clients. You can follow her @ShelleyPringle.

21 comments
TracyPanko
TracyPanko

Another asset of having such a dynamic corporate culture that is communicated and admired by its people is the ability to use it to hire the right candidates when expanding your company. While skills and experience are important baselines, the ability to fit into and believe in the culture are as critical for long-term success. Thank you for sharing, it reminds us that being unique is a positive.

Nikki Little
Nikki Little

Love these...especially chemistry! I've been fortunate in that both PR agencies I've worked for have had amazing cultures that translated through to client services, so you can bet I'll never work at a place that doesn't embrace a unique culture.

Maybe this isn't that unusual, but two important culture lessons I've learned at my current agency revolve around selflessness and humility. You can definitely apply those values to social media (actually, I wish more people would!). It's never all about you, and embrace humility. You'll shine in so many ways (personal and professional) if you do.

ryancox
ryancox

@Shelley Pringle chemistry. You could of negated the rest and just talked about that one, and I'd of been all over it! I really enjoyed this post. Your 'angle' on all three values was refreshing. +5 for ending with more than one question!

1- There are two examples/times that jump out in my memory immediately.

2/3- Yes, I had an on-site three-month contract with a company that started everyday with communication circles. The company culture was also an open door policy with the bosses about ideas and suggestions of change.

4- Think before you tweet/status. Deleting something doesn't mean its gone forever. You don't know who saw it, who saved it and who remembers it.

wmwebdes
wmwebdes

Short and sweet Shelley.

I think that you've reduced the whole of the blogging process to 3 words.

Mastery, Chemistry, Delivery.

Can't think what else is needed.

This one is worth a tweet.

KDillabough
KDillabough

A wonderful reminder that a company's culture is only as great as the people who live and breathe it. Lance Secretan is one of my favourite authors, and one of his earliest books, "Living the Moment" includes a quote I live by: "Live the moment nobly, passionately and with love." I've been lucky enough to work with forward-thinking leaders of organizations who have embraced and embodied a culture that respects and supports the individual but, unfortunately, when leadership changes, that culture does sometimes disappear. As they say "speed of the leader is speed of the game." And when leadership walks their talk and encourages others to join them in the journey, it's a good thing. Cheers! Kaarina

Shelley Pringle
Shelley Pringle

@TracyPanko You are so right. And Promanad did use their culture as a way to attract good people. When I interviewed there I was absolutely adamant that I was the right person for the job and they had to hire me (fortunately, they did). Who wouldn't want to work for a company that admits it's not normal.

Shelley Pringle
Shelley Pringle

@Nikki Little I actually think it is a bit unusual for an agency to embrace selflessness and humility. By doing so it sounds like they're wisely encouraging the exact behaviour employees need to practice to do their jobs effectively, especially in the social media space. Those two values definitely fall into the Chemistry camp. After all, who wants to hang out with someone who can only talk about themselves?

Shelley Pringle
Shelley Pringle

@TheJackB You're right--sometimes chemistry is most important but at other times mastery or delivery win the day. All three are key for an organization to be successful. It's important that a company recognizes employees who exhibit each of the three values. If a company puts too much emphasis on chemistry, for example, they might not reward the person who's a bit nerdy but actually contributes a skill that's hard to replace. I've seen it happen where someone is side-lined who actually makes a very substantial and unique contribution.

Latest blog post: Copyright

Shelley Pringle
Shelley Pringle

@ryancox Great idea and thanks for helping me out with my blog editorial calendar. Seriously though, all three values are equally important. That's what made Promanad a bit unique since organizations need to emphasize each one in order to be successful. Think about an engineering company, just as an example. The sales guys will typically be pretty good at building relationships (chemistry), the engineers will be good at designing buildings that don't crash (mastery) and the project managers make sure the projects are built on time and on budget. In this example, if the company didn't have all three it wouldn't be able to exist and flourish.

Latest blog post: Copyright

DavidZandueta
DavidZandueta

@wmwebdes - can't help but agree, especially when "quantifying" it into three simple words!

Shelley Pringle
Shelley Pringle

@wmwebdes You know, it never ceases to amaze me how many situations those 3 values actually apply to. Glad you enjoyed it.

Latest blog post: Copyright

Shelley Pringle
Shelley Pringle

@KDillabough You are lucky, Kaarina! While there are many leaders who recognize the importance of culture (and how to instill a meaningful one into their companies), there are still organizations who just don't get it. And then they wonder why employee satisfaction is low and turnover is high.

Latest blog post: Copyright

Nikki Little
Nikki Little

@Shelley Pringle Exactly! I think all PR pros should make it a priority to teach clients the importance of selflessness and humility, otherwise they come across the wrong way to media and the public.

Shelley Pringle
Shelley Pringle

@Nikki Little It might be a tough job to teach some clients those values. But more power to you if you can--it will definitely benefit them.

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