Workplace Culture – Breaking It Down

1 11 2011

Wikipedia defines culture as “the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution, organization, or group.”  Culture is important.  Alignment with that culture can ensure effectiveness in the workplace.  But what does culture really mean?  Every employer has a slightly different version.  It all seems to revolve around integrity, collaboration, communication, etc.

Today’s generation of workers are looking for more than “just a job.”  They’re looking for culture fit – a place where their visions align and core values coincide.  Workplace satisfaction is very important for Generation Y.  Why?  We want to be part of the bigger picture.  We want to affect that picture positively.  We’re not going to sit idly by, not offering our insight and perspective.

To break down culture for you a little more (and relate it to the job search or your current career), I thought I’d share with you my company’s culture statement line by line.  My values and beliefs align closely with my company’s – that’s one of the reasons I love my job!  The overall SIFE Culture is as follows:

  • We Work With Passion
  • We Are Performance Driven
  • We Accept Personal Accountability
  • We Are Entrepreneurial In Our Approach
  • We Contribute To A Learning Environment
  • We Collaborate Towards One Vision
  • We Lead By Serving Those Around Us

Now, none of this information is top secret or confidential.  Individuals that identify with this culture make us a very effective organization.  We can do better – we all can.  As an employee, we have the opportunity to help influence this.  As an employer, we have the opportunity to learn from those that are closest to the real issues.  If we just listen to each other and learn from our failures as well as our successes, we’ll all be a little better off in the end.

So, back to the culture statement….let’s start with the first bullet and break down the subtext:

We Work With Passion

  • Highly motivated by a sense of purpose and conviction that what we do matters

Do you know how your work affects the overall organization?  The work you’re doing as you create that spreadsheet or weekly report should bring value to the company.  If you don’t know why you’re doing it, ask someone.  There’s probably a reason you never thought of, or you might find that you can improve the process!  Knowing why you do something can definitely help with motivating someone with a sense of purpose.

  • Approach our work with a spirited attitude and determination to make a difference

William James is quoted with saying, “It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which, more than anything else, will affect Its successful outcome.”  I couldn’t have said it better!  Approaching your work with a cheerful and determined attitude will help you get past those stumbling blocks to find solutions.  If you fit the first bullet above, you know that what you do matters.  It does make a difference!

  • Our commitment, enthusiasm, and hard work inspires others to join our efforts

Have you ever worked with someone who came in every day whistling a cheerful tune, had a smile on their face and were truly excited about the work they were doing?  I bet it affected you!  When someone has a positive and realistic attitude, it seems to rub off on others.  When you see someone doing something they’re passionate about, you can’t help but be inspired to join their efforts and to find your own passion.

You see, working with passion isn’t just about doing what you love.  It’s about your attitude and sense of purpose.  What you do matters.  If you don’t understand how, ask your supervisor or mentor.  They’ll help you see the benefit of that spreadsheet.  You might be surprised just how important your work really is!  When you’re happy and passionate about what you do, you’ll inspire others.  It’s a chain reaction and gets better and better.  How’s that for motivating?

Before you leave, I’d like to ask you to do something for me.  Pay it forward.  If you enjoy Campus to Career, please share it with your friends, colleagues, and classmates.  It’s easy to subscribe (by email or RSS) and there are new posts each Tuesday.  You can also follow @campustocareer on Twitter and find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/campustocareer.  Content is expanded on those platforms, sharing other relevant articles from the network.  It’s all about sharing!  Thanks in advance.  Have a wonderful week!

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2 responses

8 11 2011
Performance: What Drives Your Culture? « Campus To Career

[...] week, I introduced culture as a topic for discussion and promised to break it down for you.  Click here for a link to the original [...]

22 11 2011
Accountability: Getting Personal « Campus To Career

[...] We Work With Passion [...]

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