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Alice in Wonderland?

I have fallen down the internet rabbit hole and feel like Alice in Wonderland. No matter what I google, I can’t find anything on a particular topic that makes complete sense to me.

As an attorney, I know that a corporation is just a piece of paper with a file stamp and a charter number that is a result of someone filing an application at the Secretary of State’s Office. Yet somehow, we always talk about corporations with reverence - “The corporate policies are …”, “The corporation doesn’t allow me to …” or “It came down from corporate.”

But, as I tell my clients, corporations have no life, no raison d’etre, without people. Corporate doesn’t make decisions, the people that have gathered together there for a common purpose (generally to make money to take care of their personal needs) do.

When we are unhappy with our corporate culture, we are generally unhappy with the actions of the people that work with us or, those that preceded us who set policies and procedures into motion. The larger the pool of people involved, the smaller our personal impact is felt and the less our voice is heard. And, the harder it is to turn the rudder without strong leadership or some sort of catastrophe or public fallout such as the “Me Too” Movement, shareholder fraud, oil spills or human injury.

And thinking about turning the tide is what sent me tumbling. We know for a fact that the bottom line is no longer the primary indicator of success for companies in today’s new world of work. Transparency, value exchange with stakeholders such as employees, vendors, customers, our communities and our planet, is. The one-way attitude of “I make and I give you money” no matter what the cost, is a thing of the past.

Like the word “corporate”, the word “trends” can be a mystery to me as well. Trends are a result of people also, but we tend to detach and think of these trends impersonally, somewhat unrelatable. Once again, how do we reverse the situation if we don’t like the trend? I would suggest by making it very, very personal! Get to know the people that make up the trend. Get to know the people who make up the company. What are their motivations, their values, their inspirations?

And here is where I began my search. I believe that part of the recruiting process should be finding talent that has the same values and vision as the company. I believe that working with others is far more than about a financial exchange or hiring those that excel at the sale of product and services. I know that many of you have been disappointed at the actions and attitudes of your “corporations.” It’s much easier to be disappointed with this mythical entity than the people who actually let you down.

But, what if this culture began to shift in the very recruiting process rather than slapping on bandages to an already broken system? What if we made it a point to determine whether candidates had the same core values as we aspire to before they are hired – rather than telling them about them in the handbook afterwards?

I can find nothing on my google search about companies that make social accountability part of the recruiting process or employees’ performance metrics. I see plenty about it being part of the new metrics that we measure the entity by. It shows up in sustainability reporting, financial and shareholder reporting. But, I am hard pressed to find anything about social impact being part of the individual’s job requirement, with requisite goals and measurements.

Getting real and walking the talk starts before Day One and it continues each day and every day. It starts with the entrance of Solutionaries – leaders who support a culture of innovation, critical thinkers who treat the root causes not just the symptoms, disruptive innovators who create transformational impact and visionaries who challenge wisdom. These may seem like big words, but these are big times demanding big actions that lead to a reset, a do over, a more intentional way of doing business. You don’t ask … you don’t get.

Copyright © 2019

Linda Lattimore - all rights reserved

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