How do you create corporate culture? It’s in the fabric of the business and if you’re an entrepreneur who let loose a great idea and poured in some great talent, chances are the corporate culture is an after-thought.

But the secret to great growth is thoughtfully developing corporate culture and finding the right people who fit within it.

That’s something I’m working on right now with my business, Your People LLC, a public relations agency in metro Detroit. Until recently, I’ve done a mediocre job of hiring because I wasn’t really sure what the personality and tenor of my company was – I only knew that I needed help to get all the great work done.

So now, I’m in the lucky position of putting some thought and sweat into this idea of corporate culture. It feels funny to say it comes from me, but hey, if I started the company and I own the company and it’s my heart on the line, then that makes perfect sense.

And herein lies the first obstacle: how do we fit my vision and passion and purpose into a larger box, one that all people can access? Says my wise friend, Tim Ruggles, it comes down to whether I’m managing or leading.

Leading allows others to step in and shine, to run with their talents and instincts, to create something beautiful. Managing is telling others what to do, when. And I can honestly say, I’d rather do the former than the latter.

Of course, all the great articles on this topic say you can’t do one or the other; you must do both. It’s that combination, knowing when, that determines outcomes.

The question is, when do we step in and manage, and when do we step back and lead?

Here’s a great definition by Erika Andersen in a Forbes article:

“Leading is more about who you are as a person; people want leaders who feel ‘followable.’  We’ve found that translates into six attributes: Far-sighted, Passionate, Courageous, Wise, Generous and Trustworthy.”

Management is more of a craft: it’s primarily skill-based, like cooking or carpentry.” Both, she says, need to be demonstrated on a daily basis.

It’s so funny how we think we can do a job that is divorced from who we are in our personal lives. Hooey. We live in an era when who we are and what we do must seamlessly intersect, must inform one another, must work together.

After all, entrepreneurs like me started our businesses because we had a passion we couldn’t help but share with the world, a hunch that there was a different – better – way of doing things, and so we just dove in. If I park myself at the door to my office, I’ll never succeed to the level I really want to.

So today, I’m focusing on knowing myself better, because out of that will come the necessary knowledge of when to lead, when to manage, and when to sit back and enjoy the fruits of all of our labors.

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