I wrote a previous blog about words to use when managing corporate culture or when trying to turn around an unhealthy culture. One of my favorite authors, Tom Peters, turned me on to four new words that are outstanding additions to the “words to use when talking culture” list.
The first words come from the book written by Steven Levy about the 1984 creation of the Apple Macintosh.
The title of that book is an apt description of the type of culture every organization should develop. Not just great – there are numerous companies with great culture (and, sadly, many more with an unhealthy culture). But insanely great? Those companies are hard to find.
BMW provides our next two words. This iconic car company used these words to describe the experience of driving one of their cars.
Is radically thrilling better than insanely great? Maybe – I guess that argument simply comes down to opinion. Either one, though, would be a worthy goal of culture development.
Think about it. You’re at a party or some other gathering, you meet someone new, and enter into a pleasant conversation. You ask your new friend what they do for a living and you listen to a short description of their work and their company. It's not a bad description but certainly doesn't have any "Wow!" factor. Your partner then returns the favor and asks you the same thing, “So what do you do and where do you work?”
You respond by saying, “I am a such-and-such at This-and-That, Inc., and it’s an insanely great place to work!”
A little surprised, your new acquaintance responds with a chuckle, “Insanely great? That’s quite an endorsement. You really like working there?”
To which you say, “Absolutely! This-and-That is a radically thrilling company. I can’t wait to get to work each morning.” You then spend the next ten minutes explaining how insanely great your company is and how thrilled you are to go into work each and every day (at your new friend's request, you also spend a few minutes giving advice on how to connect with one of your company recruiters).
Throwing a company party or adding a pool table to the break room might make a good corporate culture. Adding a few training classes and an executive town hall might push your culture to great.
But insane? Radical? That only comes with deliberate, exhaustive, and never-ending effort.
Do you work in an insanely great, radically thrilling corporate culture? Tell us!
Darren K. Ford
I've enjoyed a great career. Worked in many different industries with great coworkers and customers. I talk to a lot of people while drinking a lot of coffee. I read constantly. From all of this, I have much to say.