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Why Entrepreneurs Need to Worry about Corporate Culture
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Look at how their vision played itself out in their daily routines. The two mega-moguls refused fancy offices that communicated their importance while simultaneously cutting them off from their colleagues at work. They settled for modest digs that were similar to all of the professional staff. They insisted that people meet twice daily over a fruit and juices where people would talk about what they were doing to coworkers. They wanted to kill silos. They were equally adamant about people not cleaning their desk at the end of each day. They wanted work product out in the open so people could see what their colleagues were doing and offer ideas or even solutions. They valued collaboration over neatness and integrated this and other beliefs into part of how everyone worked.

So, what are the implications to you? Obviously, you donít have to share the same vision. You just need to have a vision about your companyís culture. As your ideas blossom into products which further burgeon into companies, if you donít think about your corporate culture (with particular emphasis on how people treat one another), your chances of success are severely reduced. If you bring people together with little thought about your vision of daily corporate life, youíll be at the mercy of the assumptions that people bring with them. Theyíll bring two parts of company A along with three parts of company B and four parts of graduate school C youíll end up with a confusing goulash that will make for a poor launching pad for you lifeís dream.

So dare to dream twice. As your ideas transforms into products, envision the corporate culture that will give your ideas the best change for success. Think about what you want and donít want from your leaders. Imagine how people treat one another in the ideal corporate world. Imagine, study, and worry about corporate culture.

Kerry Patterson is the chief development officer and cofounder of VitalSmarts. A prolific writer, Kerry has coauthored numerous articles and training programs on interpersonal skills, culture change, teamwork, and dialogue. He has coauthored The Balancing Act: Mastering the Competing Demands of Leadership and two New York Times bestsellers, Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High and Crucial Confrontations: Tools for Resolving Broken Promises, Violated Expectations, and Bad Behavior. Kerry has designed and implemented major corporate change initiatives for the past 25 years. For article feedback, contact Kerry at kerry@vitalsmarts.com.


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