Topic of the Week Culture Vulture: Discovering Your Company's Culture
· Risk & mistakes.
Doing a good job matters, but other things matter too. Like fitting into the culture of your company. Most people overlook this, often to the detriment of their career. Which reminds me of my first job. I was so excited, when given an assignment I would run back to my desk. Then one day a coworker offered to buy me a cup of coffee. I assumed it was to congratulate me on a job well done. You can imagine my surprise when he chided me for making everyone else on the team look bad.
I'm a big believer in shaking thing up, reading the riot act to the status quo. That said, you do need to also be aware when you are burning bridges with the very people you often need to finish the job you get started. I'll give you four things to pay attention to at work so you can get the job done and create the kind of relationships that you need to be effective at work. For more, check out Rosner & Halcrow's book, "The Boss's Survival Guide" (McGraw Hill, 2010).
Decisions. How do decisions get made in the company? Really get made. I can hear what you're thinking my boss makes the decisions. That may be true, but are they based on results, financial metrics, customer satisfaction, competitors moves or, and I'm sorry if this is how they're made where you work, the bosses ego? Each of these approaches changes the way that you need to go about doing your job. I'd look back to a few recent and important decisions that your company has made, for example, the launch of a new product, the introduction of a new health care plan, or a layoff. Do some digging to find out what really went down.
Risk & mistakes. Today most companies talk a good game when it comes to risk-taking and making mistakes. But look past the talk to find out what really happens to risk-takers. Are they rewarded with plum assignments, or are they punished for the very behavior traits that the company talks up?
Ethics. Some workplace cultures are all about results, no matter what it takes to get the job done. Wall Street, I'm talking to you. This is a tough one, because I've actually received letters from people in jail who did what they were told, but were then punished for their actions. Sure, people lose their jobs all the time for saying "No" to an unethical or illegal request from a supervisor. But just following orders doesn't exempt you either. That's why it's important here to both know what's expected of you at work, but to also not lose touch with your own ethical compass either.
Formality. Some companies have a rigid chain of command. While others practice a much more loosy-goosy approach to work. (Pardon me, but I've always wanted to use loosy-goosy in a column.)
Follow these tips and you'll learn how to be part of a winning culture where you work.
About The Author: Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning workplace911.com. Check the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best seller, "The Boss's Survival Guide." If you have a question for Bob, contact him via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thought of the Week
"Unemployment insurance is a pre-paid vacation for freeloaders.
–President Ronald Reagan
Blog of the Week
Top Five News Headlines
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from No Excuse…Real Excuses for Being Absent
• Employee said a chicken attacked his mom.
• Employee's finger was stuck in a bowling ball.
• Employee had a hair transplant gone bad.
• Employee fell asleep at his desk while working and hit his head, causing a neck injury.
• Employee said a cow broke into her house and she had to wait for the insurance man.