tumultuous week that started in Chicago, saw me proceed to an intense two days in DC and then finish with a consulting gig on the Jersey Shore.
On Friday, my day with the Davanti Digital Media team was capped off with an evening spent at Pazzo in Red Bank, accompanied by 6 Italian Americans (3 men and 3 women), including me. The Cafe' Patron, Chianti and Tuaca flowed like the rain outside! Hence, my Saturday morning trek home instead of the usual Friday evening journey of exhaustion.
Within a six day period I was deeply immersed... (In one case swimming in the deep end), of three distinct pools of corporate culture. My Chicago business experience may best be characterized by working with an owner who had established an admirably professional culture among his team that was distinctly focused on a business plan and operating performance... People seemed to be considered a necessity, but interchangeable based on performance optimization.
Chicago definitely felt like a culture that emphasized business objectives much more than a focus on any individual person, other than their contributions to the revenue objectives of the owner... Nothing wrong with that type of culture, and certainly a great place to work for top performers who get compensated well and recognized for their business results. A culture I would sum up as:
Without Mixed Signals
On Wednesday morning I showed up in DC and was propelled into a very different Corporate Culture... While not quite what I would call a cult of personality, the DC business culture I was commando style dropped into could be described as two very dynamic leaders, their vision of greatness and a whole bunch of highly skilled people who had been hired to execute the strategies and tactics associated (rightly or wrongly) with the vision of these two rock star business leaders.
As I sit here flying over 2,000 miles Westward at 640 MPH on Southwest 2121, I am contemplating the differences between the three distinctly unique cultures I experienced...
One observation; the Chicago culture would function better in the absence of the owner(s) than the DC culture, if subjected to an extended owner absence. My attempt to sum up the DC culture would be to describe it as based upon:
Respect for the Individual
Pursuit of the Perfect Plan
On Thursday I boarded Amtrak 138 out of Union Station in downtown Washington DC at 6:05 PM headed Northbound to New York, with stops along the way throughout New Jersey. I love taking the train... Vastly more enjoyable than flying or driving. I got off at the Metro Park Station in North Jersey near various Jersey Shore cities.
Soon after arriving I spotted the owner of Davanti Digital Media pulling up in his 2011 Cadillac Escalade tricked out with 22" rims and more. This guy has a New York attitude combined with a level of charisma usually reserved for rock stars and leading actors.
On Friday morning he picks me up at 7:00 AM in his gorgeous BMW 650i convertible (less than 3 months old) and we head over to the offices of Davanti Digital Media in Tinton Falls, New Jersey.
The morning is consumed with a series of "Power Consulting" review and planning sessions capped with an 11:00 AM conference call with West Coast social media powerhouse executives. At 11:30 AM the SEO/Social Media programming and app building genius I have used for a few years shows up in sneakers, T-Shirt and a sideways Yankees baseball cap. By 12:30 PM we are toasting a new business relationship with a newly opened bottle of Johnny Walker Blue.
Soon after, Davanti's charismatic and explosive leader has me at a sushi restaurant for a pure protein power lunch of the finest Sashimi in the area... Then back to Davanti Digital Media for back to back and overlapping account review sessions. This is when I really start to grasp the corporate culture that Davanti's Mr. Charisma has created.
After the account review blitz sessions, the entire team of Davanti Community Managers, Writers, Sales Managers, etc. are brought into their conference room where we recap and do a question and answer session. Around 7:00 PM we leave their offices and most of the team heads over to the Pazzo MMX Italian Restaurant in Red Bank where Mr. Charisma takes over a section of the patio dining area after an almost embarrassing volume of hugs and kisses between him and one of the partners that own Pazzo.
Soon the apps, food, shots, wine, beer and more start flowing with numerous toasts and various restaurant staff coming over to hug, kiss, smack and laugh with the Davanti Crew. Yes, the Pazzo Restaurant is a Davanti Digital Media client... I have to admit getting caught up with the cultural aspects of the evening which brought me back in time to my Italian American cultural roots based in Boston, Buffalo and New York. To say I had a blast would be an understatement. I fell in love with these very special men and women from Davanti and am highly motivated to provide them with the best consulting and guidance I possibly can!
I would say that one of the highlights of the evening was when Davanti's lead content writer dropped to the floor and peeled of 16 fully extended push ups to show her worthiness for a social media expedition to California! What an incredibly motivated and dedicated team Davanti has... I have rarely been exposed to a group with more dedication to their mission.
Now they need to more clearly define what that mission is, in greater detail so their commitment and dedication can be profitably channeled.
So, how would I describe Davanti's corporate culture? Well... Let's see... Hmmm... OK, here it is:
Get It Done Now
Dedication to the Client
Whether I got it right or not, the Davanti crew are a very special group of men and women.
So, this brings me to the whole impetus for this forum post... In this month's issue of Southwest Airline's Spirit magazine the company's CEO describes the Southwest corporate "Culture" as the Southwest Way:
In my opinion, as a Southwest customer, I get to see that list of culture descriptives (as their CEO describes it) just about every week when I use the airline to get to my workplaces. My hats off to Southwest Airlines for recognizing that the best Business Plans will usually fail to produce a winning company without the right Corporate Culture.
What's your company's culture? How would you describe its three primary attributes?
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