Corporate culture is the sum of an organization’s goals, behaviors and values. Fortunate individuals who find themselves in the right culture feel both energized and highly valued by their boss, peers and subordinates. Others, in the wrong setting, will be stifled and frustrated by practices and processes that run counter to their natural style. Finding the right culture for your personality is a key component to job success and overall quality of life. Please note that neither of the two types described below is better or smarter. Each has its success stories and failures. They key is knowing yourself and finding the right fit.
Cultural fit is closely related to the Structured and Adaptable components.
Check Your True Preference Below:
__meet deadlines early OR __meet deadlines at the last minute
__make detailed plans before you start OR __handle problems as they arise
__are punctual and sometimes early OR __tend to be leisurely
__like to be scheduled OR __prefer to be spontaneous
__have a tidy workplace OR __have a workplace with many piles
MORE ITEMS ON THE LEFT? Your inborn style is “Structured” with more left-brain activity. You thrive in a stable work environment with well-defined job responsibilities. You prefer working with tried and true products and processes that have been tested in the past. You are seen as responsible, punctual and accountable and like to be rewarded for getting the job done in an efficient and organized manner. You typically do not like change, too many surprises or having to work with co-workers who are too flexible and/or easy going. You have a neat desk, closet, files and car. You balance your checkbook on a regular basis and keep firm control over your assets. Even relaxation is organized – play comes after the work is done. Life is tidy and predictable and you like it that way!
Your special strengths include:
- Setting and pursuing long term goals
- Organizing projects and developing efficient systems
- Meeting and enforcing deadlines
- Properly using and conserving resources
- Completing all parts of work with precision and accuracy
MORE CHOICES ON THE RIGHT? You are an “Adaptable” with more right-brain activity. Chances are you prefer to work in a flat hierarchy, with the opportunity redefine your job every day. You excel at creating new products and processes and thrive on dealing with the unexpected. Variety, change, and a flexible environment without undue rules or bureaucracy is best for you. You need to be rewarded for your willingness to take risks and to get things done, often without the assistance of others. You are seen as spontaneous and adaptable. Typically casual in your clothing and irreverent in manner, you also tend not to balance your checkbook too frequently. And if work is not fun, it is not worth doing!
Your special strengths are:
- Responding easily to unexpected changes and crises
- Multi-tasking and keeping several balls in the air at the same time
- Being flexible, accommodating and easy to work with
- Applying skills and interests to new fields
- Solving problems in original ways
There are many conflicts between the two groups – both in the workplace and in families (we tend to marry our opposite). Structured types drive their opposites crazy with their need for schedules, plans, and closure. Meanwhile Adaptables may be perceived as messy and irresponsible by their Structured counterparts. Understanding these inborn differences and the contributions of each increases workplace satisfaction and productivity. It will also make for a happier marriage and better parenting.
DO COMPANIES HAVE ONLY ONE CULTURE?
Despite an overall “culture: environments have different work niches for the other personality type. For instance companies like IBM will have a few departments designed to explore new markets and products. These groups may be heavily populated by Adaptables who create a unique culture within their units. Similarly a large bank, normally a bastion of structured behavior, will have overseas posts filled with employees always ready get on a plane on a moment’s notice to pursue a new client. Likewise companies like Google need operating units with more Structured components. Accounting, project management and operations are just a few that will typically draw and be run by individuals with the laser beam focus needed to carry out the responsibilities of the group. Recognizing that you are good fit with your unit, but at odds with the company’s culture at a large, reduces stress. It is easier to point out your value to the company if you understand the larger framework in which you operate.
CLUES TO RECOGNIZING THE ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE
Can you determine the corporate culture during the interviewing process? The degree of noise, conditions of desks and dress code may provide clues. The Structured environments tend to be more subdued. Employees have desks with limited and neatly organized piles. The clothing usually is more formal. Deadlines and punctuality are high priorities. In an Adaptable environment there is “restrained chaos.” Deadlines, clothing and schedules are more casual and desks have many piles.
IN SUMMARY. The world divides fairly equally between the two groups. There are no gender differences and the percentages hold up across cultures worldwide, even though some cultures seem to express values that favor one group over the other. Differences are inborn and hold up from cradle to grave. Finding the right corporate culture will allow you to define your unique strengths and brand yourself so others appreciate your contributions. This is one of the most important steps to career success. It will also reduce stress, free up your creativity and improve your relationship with your co-workers, clients, families and friends.