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Company Culture and the CEO’s Philosophy Can Make All the Difference

A company’s culture can make all the difference in how a person progresses in his or her career and even in how that person perceives success.

A woman with whom I worked when I was young and impressionable once told me that I would never be successful because I was too nice. She said I wasn’t nearly aggressive enough and needed to learn to play political games. She told me that I needed to learn to use my coworkers as steps on a ladder to help me climb to the top. She explained that the upper management only noticed those employees who showed great ambition. I still honestly don’t know if she was trying to be helpful or just snotty.

I’ve worked with many people who excel at such games. That woman so long ago was right about one thing. Those who rub elbows and schmooze important people usually do enjoy more monetary success than someone like me who normally isn’t even noticed by the big dogs. I think that says more about the big dog than it does about me, though.

I worked for a company for five years. I met the CEO, who lived in another state, one time. Upon our one and only face to face encounter, he stood in front of my desk and barked orders at me. He didn’t acknowledge the introduction provided by my boss. He didn’t shake my hand. He didn’t even look at me. Instead, he sneered at my office as he told me that the photos on the wall were hung at the wrong height and ordered me to move them. The blinds needed to be replaced; he didn’t like the furniture; and the building was too warm that day. All of those things were somehow my fault. He continued his tour, telling my boss how our facility was not good enough the entire time. I didn’t hear him say one positive thing to a single person the entire time he was there.

I don’t work for that company anymore. I left when that same CEO decided that my full-time position could be easily replaced by two part-time people. The theory was that the company would save money by not paying my benefits.

I hardly made enough money to support myself after they had reduced all of the employees’ wages by 20% the previous fall. I’m not sure how much money they saved by not paying holiday and vacation time for that one position. They didn’t save anything in health insurance premiums because I was on my husband’s policy at the time.

I found another job, and have worked there for the past nine years. I haven’t been made to feel inferior yet. My current CEO always makes it a point to say hello to me and exchange some pleasantries when he visits my office. He not only acknowledges me, but stops to talk to me and ask about my family when I see him in the grocery store. If I have a problem, I can march right up to his office and talk to him about it. I know this is fact because I’ve done it.

Could the difference be because one CEO is local and the other wasn’t? Is it because I am more ambitious and therefore more noticeable now? I don’t think so. I think the difference lies in the company cultures. My previous job was about the all mighty dollar while my current one is about empowering people. The difference could also be that my current CEO is just less of an egomaniac that my previous one.

I’m a simple country girl. I try to tell the truth and be straight with people. I won’t pretend to be anything else. I’m thankful to work with people who don’t expect me to change anything in order to succeed. Thank you for reading Ozarks Maven! If you’ve enjoyed my little seeds of wisdom and joy, please subscribe to Ozarks Maven, Like Ozarks Maven on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter @OzarksMaven.

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