Don’t Fight Your Own Culture War

Executives and managers going into a new company often believe that because they are being brought into a leadership role, possibly even strongly pursued, that the company culture will bend to fit them.  However, nothing could be further from the truth.

If you don’t find a way to fit in, the existing culture will reject you.  Fitting in means being willing to learn things like company lingo and acronyms; product names and roadmaps; company history; what the appropriate balance is between work and play; whether the culture is competitive or collaborative; and what kind of relationships and behavior are acceptable.

If everyone else is putting in 12-hour days but you’re not, that’s as bad as pulling all-nighters when the company softball team is playing for their league championship.

Fitting in is not rocket science, but it is crucial, because the same type of behavior that helped you succeed in one culture can get you fired or ostracized in another.  You can learn a lot about a company’s culture from reading the website, by talking to people who work there, or reading what’s been written about them in the media.

Once you’re onboard if the culture is such a far cry from where you are and you can’t seem to achieve a comfortable fit, it’s probably a good time to re-evaluate your decision.  Prolonging the wrong fit is never the answer and it can make you miserable.