Spot the difference at the dinner party or barbeque. So, what do you do Joe? [You must start with ‘so’ if you are in some kind of technology role yourself]
‘I am in IT, I work for Techno’ vs. ‘I work for Techno, I work in IT
‘I am a medical doctor, I work in PharmaTer’ vs. ‘I work for PharmaTer as a medical doctor’.
‘I am a hedge fund manager, I work for InvestSmart’ vs. ‘You know InvestSmart? I work there as a hedge fund manager’
‘I am an accountant, I work for GoodsMart’ vs ‘I am work for GoodsMart, in finance, I am an accountant by training’
‘I am a lawyer, I work for BankGlobal’ vs ‘I work for BankGlobal as a corporate lawyer’.
Imagine many other alternatives on any other function. The differences are not simple anecdotal ways of expressing the same. The expressions are not the same. In one type, the dominance is the professional tribe (IT, medic, hedge fund, accountant, lawyer). In the other type, the company (Techno, PharmaTer, InvestSmart, GoodsMart, BankGlobal) is the dominant source of belonging. Both are compatible, for sure. But, if I were the CEO of any of these companies, I’d rather have my people referring to the professional tribe after, not before referring to the company.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with the tribal-professional sense of belonging. But when projected upfront as my real persona, it means that its power, significance, and identity is stronger than those of the employer’s itself. Tribe 1, company brand nil.
I have found two types of clients. Those who don’t get this, (‘don’t see the problem’) and those who care about ‘the order of things’. The latter are the ones who also care about culture. Since senior leaders, and therefore CEOs, are curators of their culture, it’s clear which ones ‘see’ the differences and have a preference for the company brand.
‘Seeing’ is the first step to interpreting and then doing something. Do you know what Joe, from your company, says when asked? I wish the Employee Engagement people included this…