Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Winning at Culture Wars for Fun and Profit

As part of my travels this week, I've been doing several presentations for clients -- and I was struck in particular with one question asked today...."From what I've seen, your company culture and ours are completely different. How can you possibly merge them and work together?"

As I probed a bit deeper, two things became apparent -- one, this gentleman had not had much of an opportunity to view our company culture and was going off a few strong impressions, and two, he was concerned about what would happen to him and his career in the process of merging. This isn't too terribly unusual in my line of work, and over the years, we have developed a means of dealing with it based on these points:

-- If something is good, say so; if it's bad, same.

-- Change is change. How it affects you is all in how you interpret it.

-- The only stupid questions are those that aren't asked.

-- The road to obsolescence begins with defending positions and practices instead of ideals and principles.

-- Merging and assimilation will never succeed unless we learn as much from you as you do from us.

That went into play; after a half-hour of dialogue, we had an agreement, and the client left much happier and more satisfied, as did I.

However, this evening, when I was in the "epiphany position", as demonstrated by Christian Grantham, I had a thought -- how is merging our client's culture with ours any different than merging our "gay culture" with that of "moral values" America?

This has started my mind a-goin'......if anyone has comments they'd like to share, please do. I will think about this further during my presentation tomorrow and see what insight comes of a good night's sleep.

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