Company culture: What’s your icon?


Every company has a logo.  But how many organizations have an icon that represents what it stands for?  In my work helping companies articulate their culture, we often “personify” the company, using its personality and values to create a snapshot of who the company would be if it were a person.  It is given a name and introduced to every employee (new and existing) as a guide to make decisions.  “What Would (NAME) Do?” is the answer to “what should I do in this situation?”  Because everyone in the organization has been exposed to the personification, it becomes a framework for consistent decision making.

Corporate Icon

I had the opportunity to talk with Cameron Mitchell about his culture, and he told me about the Milkshake icon.  Every associate in the company knows the Milkshake story.  It drives their behavior with each and every customer by reminding them, “The answer is YES.  What’s the question?”  Cameron chose this icon because he was once told at a restaurant (not his) that they didn’t have milkshakes on the menu.  Cameron’s son really wanted one.  The waiter’s answer was “No, we don’t have milkshakes.”  Cameron asked if they had milk.  “Yes” was the reply.  Did they have ice cream? “Yes.”  Chocolate?  “Yes.”  Then they had milkshakes.

company personality

Another company I have worked with, Elford Construction, has personified “Pop,” the founder of the 101-year old company.  While every employee knows Pop and the mission, vision, and values of the company, the icon that brings it to life is a worn work boot.  It signifies the way they do business — with their customers every step of the way, in the trenches working hard to get it done right, as dependable as the sunrise and sunset, as honest as the day is long.  A worn work boot is on display in Elford’s lobby in a museum-like kiosk along with the original ledger sheet and a few other artifacts.

Both of these companies began their icon by articulating their mission, vision and core values.  Both  have enjoyed success because every team member LIVES those values.  – It’s mandatory.

We’d like to hear about your company’s icon.  And, we’d like to share an Up Close and Personal form with you that can help you bring your company to life.  For more details on articulating your company’s culture and developing its icon, contact Sandy Fekete.

 

 


Sandy Fekete • April 11, 2012

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