Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Be the Culture

I had a wonderful visit with a potential client recently and spent some time reflecting on what made it so good. The client, the COO of a mid-sized agency,  has a great personality and we engaged easily.  And he showed genuine interest in my client evaluation services. Yet, there was something more.

As he gave me a tour around the office it dawned on me why I was feeling so good about the the client and his business: there was a complete alignment between his style and the culture of the organization. I could tell this was a creative place not only by the interior design and what adorned the walls, but also by the way the client thought and spoke. He was very open and expressive.

What makes alignment between individual style and culture so powerful? How does that work? There are two models out there, both founded on psychological and organizational research over the past 50 years that explain this. One model focuses on social styles and the other explains cultural dimensions. And guess what, they're essentially the same. Here they are together.
Obviously there is a lot more behind these quadrants but it suffices to say when organizational cultural and individual style align, are truly in sync,  it's a beautiful thing. Not only that, it means that  an organization's effectiveness skyrockets.  


Now, you might say,  of course the COO represents the culture, he had better. And you'd be right,  but this was at another level. When I left the client's building, I looked back and saw the client's personality and the organizational culture as one. This doesn't happen every day.

Do you know your own style  and your firm's culture? Do you know your client's culture?  How you fit with the client's culture? Important stuff to learn because they impact your ability to deliver the right solutions, build productive  relationships  and retain clients for the long-term.




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