Building Your Corporate Culture: More Like a Culinary Art Than a Science?
The Green Apple Podcast does weekly “Green Apple Slices”, where John Garrett and Rachel Fisch discuss a recent business article related to the Green Apple Message. These shorter segments are released each Monday, so don’t miss an episode by subscribing on iTunes or an Android app.
This week, John and Rachel discuss a CIO article “Building your corporate culture: more like a culinary art than a science?” by Randy Pennington.
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Good morning and welcome to another episode of Green Apple Slices. This is John Garrett and on the other line is the — Rachel Fisch, Accountants Group Leader for Sage Canada.
Rachel: It’s like when you know you’re about to mess up my title, you just say my name. That’s fine.
John: You’re like The Oprah, The Prince, The Madonna.
Rachel: Sure, yeah.
John: But yeah. You’re off traveling again, today.
Rachel: I am, yes. I will be between Cleveland and Nashville. I’m going from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame to the Country Music Hall of Fame like literally.
John: That’s awesome.
Rachel: What about you?
John: Actually, I’m home this week which is really nice.
John: I know. It’s pretty unbelievable, after Dubuque, Iowa two weeks ago which was super fun with HKFS and all the firms that were there, yeah. It’s just nice to just chill out and actually just today, submit my manuscript to the publisher for my book.
Rachel: Awesome. Congratulations.
John: Thanks. That’ll be out in print the end of September. The working title, and I think what we’re going to go with is, “What’s Your And? Unlock the Person Within the Professional.”
Rachel: Oh, I like it. Good. Looking forward to it.
John: Yeah. It’s this message but I got a book now so it’ll be cool. So yeah, but every Monday, we always get together and talk through something culture-wise or engagement-wise or authenticity-wise, things like that and making people better professionals in better workplaces that they’re in.
This is what I thought was really interesting at the cio.com website. It’s an article by Randy Pennington, Building your corporate culture: more like a culinary art than a science? I didn’t know how to say that properly but I’m sounding like a valley girl.
But I thought it was really, really interesting especially the example where he talks about how he was doing some consulting with a company and he’s like, I don’t know why this is so hard. This is rocket science. And then they came up and they were like, actually, we are rocket scientists. Actually, rocket science is easier because if there’s math, and one plus one is always two.
Rachel: Definitely, some interesting things about this. First of all, I thought that the approach — so this is in cio.com. I thought it was interesting to take kind of the angle of corporate culture more like a culinary art than a science? Is that what you were trying to — anyway, and then is it culinary or is it culinary like ugh.
John: I don’t know. I know it’s a niche. Culinary is a niche. I think it’s culinary but I’m sure it’s something better.
Rachel: Okay. I’m trying to get — where’s my point? It kind of takes like an artistic approach to this and kind of a data-driven magazine format. I thought that that was really driven but it works well because that’s basically his entire time. Like look at it, guys. We want to be able to solve corporate culture as if it’s an equation. If I checked this boxes, if I do these three things, I will then have amazing corporate culture and he’s like, it’s not at all like that.
When we’re talking about professional firms especially accounting firms, accounting firms are very accounting-y. Not sure if you noticed that but they want formulas, right? This is how the majority of accountants work and so especially when you’re looking at accounting firms where the corporate culture can actually be probably the worst of some places because our driven billing and all of that stuff that they need that okay, step 1, step 2, step 3 thing going on and he’s like yeah, no, it’s not like that at all.
John: Yeah. That’s why he equates it to chefs because there’s chemical reactions that are going to happen good or bad in certain scenarios but there’s always a creativity side to it and a plus or a minus, if you will, within that. Looking at what one organization does versus your organization, it might not work exactly the same because it’s totally different people, totally different industry, totally different everything. You can start with that as a seed of your idea but then make it yours and make it your own.
Rachel: Yeah, absolutely. He does have six —
John: Basic ingredients.
Rachel: Yes. He doesn’t call them steps. He calls them basic ingredients. These are the six things that you need to do which are bold and numbered so thank you very much and they all start with C so sure, okay. We’ll add that in for a bonus point.
Rachel: But he kind of goes through these six basic things that are required and you know what? Honestly, John, the first one stuck out to me. Clarity. When people have a tagline or a mission statement or a value proposition whatever that is, it is usually filled with a bunch of buzz words. You just want to ask like okay, but what does that mean?
Rachel: What does that mean to a new employee or what does that mean to you? It could actually mean even though it’s using the same words, could mean very different things to very different people so being extra clear on that is really important. Did any stick out to you?
John: Clarity. That’s where it starts. I mean it’s totally that. I mean I can’t wait to meet someone who has on their business card that they’re a future ready trusted advisor.
Rachel: Those are your favorite words.
John: None of those mean anything to anybody. What are you talking about? Am I supposed to trust if a comet hits this office and we’re not ready for that? That’s in the future and I’m not ready. Yeah, so use words that people use and then people know what they mean and their universal meanings. Don’t use fancy words that are hashtags on social media that people don’t use in everyday vernacular.
Rachel: I did not mean to trigger you.
John: What are you doing? It drives me nuts. It’s so crazy. Just use normal words everybody. What the heck? But clarity. I mean it’s huge and it’s clarity of you’re doing what you’re doing and its clarity of communicating to your people and communicating to your clients and your customers. What you do and why you do it. That’s so huge. The other five, we’re not even going to tell you.
Rachel: You have to go to the article.
John: There you go at greenapplepodcast.com. You can click the link there and yeah, read the article and knock yourself out. It’s really good stuff actually. Have a good flight, Rachel.
John: And hopefully, you don’t pick up a new accent while you’re down there in Nashville.
Rachel: I’ll try not to.
John: We’ll talk to you next Monday.
Rachel: Okay, sounds good. Talk to you later.