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The Trees – Mission Statements For The Jungle

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Apr 9, 2012 in Job Search

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The best and brightest greenery is sparse in your part of the jungle. What happened to all of the lush, tropical life that made your spot the best around? According to Erika Anderson, a blogger on Forbes, often the main reason that top talent leaves a company has a lot to do with the organization itself. If it is badly managed, confusing, or uninspiring, who would stay?

What can a company do to keep the best and the brightest resources, talent in which they have invested so much, from leaving? How about going back to the basics and taking a look at the mission statement? How long has it been since you have looked at that thing? Days? Months? Years? Does your company have one? Is it on your website? Do the employees know what it says? Most importantly: does the company follow it and believe in it? describes the mission statement as the vision and inspiration of a company. If it is weak or unclear, it is likely the company’s goals are equally unsustainable. A mission statement should be an exact understanding of what the company and the leadership is committed to and the values of the business. Like the best trees in the jungle, it needs to be broad enough to grow tall, and strong enough to hold itself up to provide an excellent shelter for the wildlife that would flock to its limbs.

Who likes ice cream? Who likes Ben & Jerry’s? Who likes Ben & Jerry’s mission statement? Ben & Jerry’s current mission statement actually has 3 parts. To really pin the tail on the cow, they have defined their mission to encompass social, product, and economic missions. Since 1988, these three one-sentence mission statements have guided Ben & Jerry’s. Their social mission focuses on improving quality of life through their business. The product mission describes Ben & Jerry’s commitment to all natural ingredients and respect for the environment. The economic mission states that the company is working towards profit and growth.

Ben & Jerry’s may not be the only company to have this style of statement, but it is very well liked by its employees. Ben & Jerry’s supports their mission by ensuring that they are working to reduce their waste and impact on the environment, and supporting suppliers that also share their ideals. Cost of living factors in to every employee’s wage and the community is supported through service projects and foundations. Every aspect of the company’s efforts is directly tied to the mission as a fundamental source. A reportedly rich and thriving corporate culture is thanks to Ben & Jerry’s commitment and their follow through with their clearly stated mission.

To retain the blooming and talented trees that make up the company and fuel its passion, they must be watered with a mission they agree with and trust. If you are on the hunt for the best spot in the forest, compare mission statements and research the corporate culture to ensure you are entering a good fit.

 By Lindsay Sellner and Carolyn Thompson

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The Alligator – Lying Low And Observing

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Nov 5, 2008 in Executive Coaching

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The most important thing you can do at the beginning of a new job is observe. Think of the Alligator as it floats on the lake with just its eyes and ears above the water. Alligators and their cousins, crocodiles, have been around for millions of years while other groups like the dinosaurs became extinct. What is the secret to their success? Perhaps, it’s because they know when to lay low and watch, and when to spring into action.

Lay low in the beginning. Recently, when a panel of HR professionals were polled, here were some of the areas that they suggested a new employee should pay attention to….

  • -Watch your coworkers. See how they do things. This will help you to assimilate into the corporate culture seamlessly.
  • -Be observant about what people wear to work and dress accordingly.
  • -See when people come and go. Try to plan your work schedule that way. You don’t want to be the only person with a different schedule. It will draw unnecessary attention to you.
  • -Watch who seems to be on top of things before deciding whom to associate with most closely at work. Usually the person who comes up to ask you about your life story the first day is the office gossip and should be avoided at all cost.
  • -See how others interact with your boss. Try to emulate the person or people who seem to communicate best with him or her.
  • -Watch to see how other people conduct personal business at work so that you can see how personal breaks, doctor’s appointments, e-mails and personal phone calls are handled.

Although many companies are the same, cultures vary dramatically from company to company. Maybe at your old job, friendly teasing was acceptable and even encouraged but that may not be the case at your new company. Developing a good understanding of your new company’s culture is essential. It will help you to make a solid contribution and rise within the organization while avoiding some of the common pitfalls associated with a new job at a new company.

Jake Hanson
Senior Associate, CMCS

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