Creating Corporate Culture

Corporate culture is an interesting phrase. It describes the overall way that employees present the company to the world, but it also means so much more. Some companies strive to ensure that their culture is fun for employees and customers alike. Most companies don’t really think about or plan their culture…it just happens. Sometimes this can be a good thing, and other times especially if things go south (so to speak) it could be bad. The Zappos founder created a culture of fun after starting his first company and he didn’t like what it had become. He specifically created that culture and then hired people to fit the culture itself.
Over the last week, I’ve been speaking to people I work with about how they see our company and the answers vary drastically. Some see it as positive, and others don’t.  A few people said there have been dramatic changes in the last year. Sometimes an event changes the way people see a company, and sometimes things just change because of outside influences.
It takes a great deal of effort and planning to change the corporate culture. It almost seems like an insurmountable issue to solve. I’ve noticed that some companies have hired employees who just deal with the company culture and all that entails. It does seem like a full-time job. Hiring the right people certainly helps, but how do you define who is right and who is not?
Deciding the type of culture you want to display to the world seems to be the best place to start. Then making sure everyone is on board is important, or for a start-up it means hiring people who fit or already live that cultural idea. Keeping that culture alive everyday is important so that employees present that same face to the customer on a daily basis.
It’s definitely takes a great deal of thought and planning to develop the right company culture and to ensure that it is the proper fit.
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I Need Another Project to Make Me More Productive

I need continuous projects to keep me busy. I came to this realization recently. I’ve been working on my doctoral project, but ever since my classes ended in April I have not been as busy. I have been in the process of starting a new business and have most of that done, but now I am waiting on others to finish a few tasks and that might take a few months because of the time of year.

Now I find myself with quite a bit of downtime again, and am in need of a new project that will last at least a few months. It’s amazing how much not being productive bothers me and leaves me with a sense of not accomplishing much. I have been searching for something to fill the time and make me more productive. When I first started college, I quickly realized that I was always more productive the more classes I took. It made me more efficient because I was forced to get more done in a short period of time. I need to find something like that now.

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How to Create the Perfect Day

I’m interested in the idea of creating the perfect day. I think it’s difficult to force something to happen, but if you can remember the best days you’ve had and can add the reasons why they were some of your best days….maybe it can be done.

My best days/moments were:

Sailing on a catamaran off the coast of Saint Martin (listening to Jimmy Buffett, watching the crystal blue waters under the boat, and drinking punch)

Shopping on a beautiful day in Sea Port Village in San Diego with Wayne. In a hat store, we tried on almost every hat in the store, took photos and then bought a couple and wore them for the rest of the day

On my 30th birthday, I flew to San Diego, ran a bunch of errands, saw friends and then ended up in Sea Port Village for dinner with friends

Swimming, being in the sun and near water, going to a carnival, getting the chance to be a kid again, talking to friends,

I think I can take away from this the fact that I like to be busy, but while doing things that relax me and being around friends. Being outside on a nice day is essential. And as a guidance counselor once told me after I took an assessment….I appreciate beautiful surroundings. Using each of these areas to create a perfect day is doable…I think.

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Simplifying Large Projects Like Graduation Takes Practice

Yesterday, we had graduation at the college I work for and I organize the event twice a year. Roughly, 1,000 people attend each graduation. It is a large project to manage with so many moving people and pieces. Programs, scripts, music, lights, awards, decorations, confirming the key note speaker, booking the singer, posting of the colors, photographer, food and drinks, helping to organize various pinning ceremonies before the main event….the list goes on and on. I have done this now seven times. In my opinion, this graduation ran more smoothly than the others. Everything just fell into place.

About a week before the big day, I sat down and really thought about what would make our lives easier this time around. I made a list. It wasn’t a long list and only took a few minutes to come up with it. But those few things simplified everything and helped to make sure things progressed more easily.

Once graduation was over, I had to get all of the supplies back to the college and then I came home. It takes all day for my mind to calm down after graduation. Every piece is timed to make sure it runs smoothly and once I’ve been in that mode for 6 hours, it’s difficult to get out of it. In addition, my mind naturally wants to analyze what we can do better next time.

I wish I could just leave graduation and go do something fun that would get my mind off it, but I’m usually exhausted and my brain is on overdrive. Maybe I will try meditation the next time and see if that helps. Suggestions are always welcome. 🙂

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Kate Spade’s Death Begs for Depression to be Overcome

Kate Spade committee suicide yesterday. She made designer purses and had a home product line for awhile before selling her business awhile back. Her products were simple an beautiful. Her creativeness will be missed. Her family said it wasn’t unexpected. It’s sad. Depression is one thing that many people seem to forget happens frequently.

I read How to Be Happy article over the weekend that said:

“50 percent of happiness is determined by genes (i.e., totally out of your control), roughly 10 percent is determined by circumstance (i.e., somewhat out of your control), and the final 40 percent is determined by your thoughts, actions, and attitudes (i.e., entirely within your control).”

That 50% is huge if your entire disposition is not happiness. It may consume your life. For some people, it may be a struggle just to get through the day. And even though the 40% is within our control, you’d still have that 50% of natural instinct to overcome.

Once, while getting my masters degree I read that drug companies that make anti-depressant drugs have to conduct their own study against a placebo. And not one study showed that any anti-depressant drug outperformed the placebo. I remember being overwhelmed by this thought. And if the drug comes with so many side effects….what’s the point?

We seem have an epidemic of depression in this country, and while I know there are scientists working things that may allow for progress…I can’t help but think something more needs to be done.

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Working From Home is Productive and Soul Feeding

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the way we work. Many companies are allowing their employees to work from home for a variety of reasons. No office space, they get more done without distractions, the employee doesn’t have to travel far, and can work in their PJs if they want.

It amazes me how productive it is working from home. You are concentrate completely on one thing until you are done. Companies have also determined what the best way is organize a team of people who are working from all over the city, but still in unison. There are hubs now where people can pay to work in an office for the day or in a group setting even though they all work for different companies. These people may get input from someone with an outside view on their project. It’s productive and can be creative.

Tim Ferris, the author of “The 4-hour Work Week” (one of my favorite books) provides ways to get more done in less time. He recommends checking email at targeted times throughout the day or just once a day and letting everyone know that. Many people are constantly connected to their email and reading or answering just one is a distraction from whatever project needs your focus. He also recommends giving more responsibility to employees and allowing them to make decisions that effect customer service (up to a $ limit). This one decision eliminated most of the issues that people came to him about.

Having an office is nice, but working from home on occasion or working out a balance between working from work and home allows for a better balance. I think that balance is both productive and emotional.

I get a sense of stability when I am at home. It relaxes me no matter what I am doing. It is almost a sense that feeds my soul. Getting this while working is a good for me and my employer. It makes me more productive and healthy.

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Starting a Business is Time Consuming, But Fun

I’m in the process of starting a business. It’s amazing everything that needs to be done. There are so many little things that can take hours to do. I’ve been on a roll lately getting quite a bit accomplished. Hoping to open in the next week or two, I hit a roadblock over the weekend that should delay things by at least a month.

It’s also amazing what conflicting information I’ve received from government employees. I’d liken it to getting information from Comcast (who has the worst customer service of any of the cable companies). You can literally hang up, call the same number back, get a different employee and a completely different answer. The answers aren’t even close to being similar. Now, I think I must start asking please tell me where I can find this rule or law on a government website. I’m certain I won’t get that answer, but what else can you do? If I didn’t understand my job in the same way, I’d be fired. O well.

I’m excited to get this business started. Waiting a little longer will give me time to perfect the little things and get everything straightened out. It’s also made me realize that I should’ve started months before I actually did. It would’ve been nice to start this business fully in May. But it is what it is.

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