Too often I have seen executives come out of specific corporations noted for their strong cultures and not do well in adjusting to a radical career move into a much different culture. I read in Deal and Kennedy's book, Corporate Cultures, that the founders of an organization set the tone and the style of the culture.
I suppose this is obvious when you look at companies with notable CEO's such as Apple's Steve Jobs, Berkshire or Hathaway's Warren Buffet. It is less obvious to connect the style of IBM to Thomas Watson the primary CEO who grew the company from selling typewriters to a computer manufacturer. Can we see the imprint of Henry Ford anymore on Ford Motor Company, or of Christian Dior on the House of Dior?
It seems the farther was the organization is from its early roots and founder in terms of time and even geography the more imperceptible the origin of the culture becomes. I mean where is Erle P. Halliburton's ghost now that the company moved to a new HQ in Dubai?
Nevertheless, the imprint of custom, tradition, and personality remains in how the employees conduct business, interact with each other and the world. A former hedge fund and derivatives operative from a prominent, infamous investment banking firm inquired about my services. The dynamics of the process with him was interesting. Once he determined that he wanted to engage my services he started to negotiate the deal. To him it was just a normal business transaction and his way of doing it.
He started on price, even though I offer multiple packages at different flat rates that are substantially lower than my hourly rate, he tried to haggle over my fees. When that didn't work he turned to terms and conditions by trying to combine multiple packages and extend the time spent by breaking down sessions into 30 minutes each...all, of course at the lowest rate. I decided not to work with him as our styles just did not match as he comes from a culture that is deal driven and so he is and I am so not.
The moral of the story is that we all come from multiple unique cultures, not just your family of origin, but your professional field, and the organizations where you have been employed. Developing your awareness to your personality and behaviors traits enable you to make better "fit" decisions when evaluating your career options.
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