A Tale of 2 Cultures

Creating a corporate culture that encourages employees to do the right thing and also primes them to grow and lead is no easy task.

I would not be a happy camper if my publisher pulled a “Marissa Mayer” and called me to say I could no longer work from home after three blissful years of doing so and would have to resume my four-hour-a-day commute to an office in New York City. And I shudder at the very thought of coming home to two lonely, enraged dachshunds with too much time on their…um…paws. I certainly would think about looking for another job. In the meantime, I would drag my sorry self to the office and be unhappy, unengaged, and resentful (and probably pretty unproductive).

I can only imagine the vibe at Yahoo offices after CEO Mayer issued her unexpected no-more-working-from-home edict. While I understand the business reasons for her decision, from a personal standpoint, it must have been a bitter pill for many telecommuting employees to swallow.

Now contrast that with the culture at Keller Williams Partner Realty in Florida: In March, a new hire opted not to kick in $20 when her office mates pooled their money for Powerball tickets, but they decided to share a portion of the $1 million prize they won with her anyway. “As a team we put together a fat pile of money,” Laurie Finkelstein Reader, a realtor and head of the team in that office, told USA Today. “If we do the right thing and always care about other people, the right thing will happen to us.”

Creating a corporate culture that encourages employees to do the right thing and also primes them to grow and lead is no easy task. Our feature story, “Cultivating Culture,” explores how several 2013 Training Top 125 winners lead by example and utilize constant communication to underscore the importance of a values-driven culture that emphasizes employee engagement and development.

That means today’s leaders must possess the ability to foster such a culture by acting as a mentor/coach, empowering employees, providing regular feedback and recognition, inspiring trust, and setting an ethical example. The 25 winners of our 2013 Emerging Training Leaders awards program do just that. See the Emerging Training Leaders box below to download the PDF of profiles of the winners and their stellar accomplishments. Expect to see them leading the Training or Learning & Development function at an organization in the near future.

Our focus on leadership continues with results from our annual Global Leadership Development survey. It shows organizations are broadening their definition of a leader and looking to create a culture of innovation. Plus, we look at how to create a leadership incubator, how to build a better boss, and how to develop leaders in emerging growth markets. And Part 2 of our Skills Gap series looks at how corporate partnerships with colleges and universities can help employees develop the skills—including leadership abilities—that employers need.

One of those skills just might be “positive deviance” (getting it done where others can’t)—we’ll talk more about that at our Online Learning Conference in Chicago September 17-19. To learn more, visit: http://www.onlinelearningconference.com. I hope to see you there!

Lorri Freifeld is the editor/publisher of Training magazine. She writes on a number of topics, including talent management, training technology, and leadership development. She spearheads two awards programs: the Training Top 100 and Emerging Training Leaders.