Thursday, June 6, 2013

Company Culture Matters

Guest post from Jim Leighton:

I’ll never forget my first big job interview after college. I flew down to Houston for an onsite interview with a large Texas oil refinery.  I was still wet behind the years with a business and labor relations degree in hand and with soaring intentions to conquer any obstacle before me.  The refinery was in search of one lucky individual to navigate the troubled waters between management, the union, and the hourly associates.  This was a job that meant walking a tightrope of already tense relationships.
The air of superiority I sensed behind the secure walls of the refinery’s nice office wasn’t helping. The union and the hourly associates would surely frame me as their newfound enemy. To put it mildly, there wouldn’t be a welcome committee to greet me on my first day.

A job offer came on the heels of that visit which I ultimately declined, going with my gut reaction. I sensed the disintegrated teamwork at the oil company and knew my efforts would be futile in that perfect storm of animosity.
 It is discouraging to note how many people suffer from an unFIT dynamic at work that pollutes company culture with negativity, resentment, and backbiting. This was the first of many leadership lessons to come, proving that company culture is among the most important environments for a leader to evaluate and create.
A Fully Integrated Team leader engages others and elevates them to achieve success through their unique gifts and talents. This is only possible with the backing of an organization that cares for its people. It was a financial risk to reject my first big job offer and yet I found something much more fulfilling through the process. I found my Fully Integrated Team.
With increased emotional intelligence through 35 years of leadership experience, I’ve created a FIT foundation from which I operate and make decisions. It’s led me to memorable partnerships where my needs, skills, and passions are aligned to serve people in a nutrient-rich environment. I use one filter and primary principle to approach any leadership decision I face:

Always be willing to do the harder right thing before the easier wrong thing.

It’s simple, but powerful. In all my decision-making, this has never steered me wrong. I’ve left the money on the table before with companies that no longer shared my dynamic vision to serve others. I have yet to regret a decision I made using this approach.
I moved on, not without obstacles, but with the right people to create new opportunities for my future. The CEO at the current company I am privileged to help lead describes himself as a “head cheerleader” of the organization. Company culture matters to everyone and is felt from the CEO to the employee on the frontlines.
 Are you ready to Get FIT and create a culture of success in your work setting? Do you desire to lead a culture of positivity and growth? Join an organization that measures its value in people before dollars signs and leverage your positive leadership influence by Getting FIT. In all my years as a leader and teammate, helping others succeed at their passions and gifts is the greatest privilege of all.

Jim Leighton is an author, leader, and speaker with over 35 years of experience in the consumer packaged goods food and beverage industry. He is an enthusiastic supporter of organizations and the people who drive them. Jim’s practical team-building strategies are presented in his book Getting FIT: Unleash the Power of Fully Integrated Teams and are featured on his blog and website.

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