Dog Days are here! Defined by Webster’s as “the hot, sultry period between mid-July and September; a time of stagnation or lessened activity aptly named because the Dog Star (Sirius) rises and sets with the sun during this time.”
This is no time of stagnation or lessened activity for business, though many lean on that excuse. Last month I wrote about the importance of taking a personal/professional break, GO (away). As Dog Days arrive, I am cautioning companies and employees to move full steam ahead through the heat and sweat that create an unnecessary pregnant pause for the more faint of heart.
Suppose there are two identical but competing ice cream shops across the street from each other. Both stores are equal in selling a quality product, open for the same hours, have the same accounting and IT systems, pricing and marketing plan, the same equipment and organizational structure. All factors being equal, which ice cream store will you endorse with your business and be the most successful?
You will return to the ice cream shop that is clean, has the fastest service and the friendliest, most helpful employees. Not coincidentally, the more successful shop will be the quickest to respond to marketplace changes and have moderate to heavy involvement with the people in its community. The community is turn will support the ice cream shop as customers and potential employees establish ownership on both sides.
Customers and employees want to be associated with companies having happy, enthusiastic, motivated employees who work hard as a team, have fun, are supportive of management, and put customers first. The ice cream shop with this culture will become the most successful, hands down, scoops up, every time. Sugar cone, one scoop. Dutch chocolate, please!
“Corporate culture is the pattern of shared beliefs, values, and actions that gives human beings as integral parts of an organization meaning, purpose, and guidance,” according to Joseph L. Mancusi, owner of the Center for Organization Excellence, Inc. Who fosters and forms these common company goals and visions? Effective management. Employees are important to the equation too. Mancusi maintains that “culture is the mechanism whereby not only management, but employees shape each others’ behavior. In a strong corporate culture it is not only the bosses who do not tolerate poor quality or slacking off, but the employees as well.”
“Ducks flock together, follow the crowd and quack a lot when things go wrong. Eagles soar above the crowd and aren’t afraid to take risks. Think about this: Have you ever been hit with eagle poop? Of course not. They fly too high and too fast. We need more eagles in our lives.”
The same can be said for companies, especially companies that employee a lot of eagles. Years ago while conducting a leadership workshop, an attendee pointed out that eagles have spent a good deal of time on the endangered species list. Ducks, on the other hand, can be quite prolific. No doubt corporate downsizing has caused much of the quacking and flocking about. It has also placed the eagle in higher demand. The bald eagle is America’s national bird. The duck has made big bucks for many a cartoonist.
When you’re breaking more than a sweat to survive Dog Days, consider whether you work for an eagle or a duck and which bird you are most like. The perspective can help you maintain your pace to persevere through perspiration as you soar over the competition.
Here’s to the eagle’s eye view from the top!
~ From the desk of Becky Morlok ~
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