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Don't Lie To Your Wife - Setting Your Company Culture

by Beth Deison Smith

posted in Business

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I was recently flying back from Kansas City and was seated behind three gentlemen on a business trip. One of the men was the boss and the other 2 worked for him. I always like to listen in on conversations between employers and employees as I learn a tremendous amount through their interactions with one another, particularly when it comes to company culture. Here is a recounting of the conversation I overheard:
Boss on the phone: "I'll call you when I get there. Bye honey!"
Employee #1: "You didn't tell your wife what we were doing, did you?"
Boss: "Of course! I don't lie to my wife."
Employee #2 (laughing): "You just color the truth, right?"
Boss: "Nah. She sees through that crap. One of the things that I like about her. Now, about those reports..."
After that, the 3 men continued to laugh, joke around and talk about business, but the tone of the conversation had shifted. The boss had declared the values of his interaction with his wife and set the tone for the interaction with his employees. This short, simple conversation with the man's wife had shifted the company culture. There is no longer the expectation that you lie to your wife (or to your employer for that matter). The boss declared that lying was unacceptable, and the employees paid attention.
I have lots of people ask me how to interview more effectively because they want a different company culture. My answer to them is always the same: shifting the culture is a simple conversation about values. Once you know your company values and can articulate them quickly, you have changed your company culture.
Defining your core values and sharing them with your employees ensures that everyone in the organization knows the "rules" for engaging with each other and clients. Where that culture really plays out is when a mistake is made. By referencing back to your core values, you will most surely see that even the smallest things (like a "white lie") can have an impact.
Once your core values are define, publish them everywhere that your employees can see them and reference them often. When it relates to hiring, use these core values as a benchmark for choosing people for your team that share these values. My best advice for those seeking a culture change is to set the tone and your people will follow.
About the Author: Looking to hire better in the new year? Consider A-list Interviews training and consulting programs on Response Analysis System™ to interview more effectively. Visit for more information.
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