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Professional Cultures 4/4 👔 Corporate Culture

Try Catch Essentials
Professional Cultures 4/4 👔 Corporate Culture
By Kerry from Try Catch • Issue #26 • View online
Morning, Friday, sorry we were a bit late today, I wanted to make sure this issue was as up to date as I could.
It’s Kerry from Try Catch and this issue is the finale of Try Catch Essentials.
It’s the last edition of the Professional Cultures series and thus the last issue we’ll be joined by Paul Musters, Founder of Amsterdam-based Fortify.
One last time: the March topic of Try Catch Essentials is Professional Cultures.
Try Catch Essentials are:
  • For HR leaders, recruiters, founders and hiring managers
  • Handpicked essential reading on important topics in HR and Tech
  • Sent to you in 4 easily-digestible issues per month
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To begin,
Because of what’s happening in the world around us: now is the most important, the most impactful, the most difficult, and the most meaningful time to establish what the core culture of a company is.
Let’s refresh our memory on how we defined Corporate Culture in the first issue of this series.
Corporate Culture:
A set of shared values, goals, attitudes and practices that characterize the organization of an organization. This includes generalized beliefs and behaviors, company-wide value systems, strategies, communication, policies, work environment, and attitude. Corporate culture involves the origin of myths, symbols, phrases, logos, slogans, products, design. If we have villages and kingdoms, the corporate culture is the interpretation of the holy book that guides it all. This is our ‘macro’ level.
While a list of industries have been monkey wrenched, others are able to trudge onwards, and a very few have been able to continue or even soar because of stay-at-home conditions.
In America, where businesses have been given pandemic distinctions of “essential” and “non-essential” - and a significant number of workers have been laid off due to lockdown measures - retailers like GameStop have been in the news with reports of corporate greed to maximize profits from the crisis.
Such disappointing displays corporate culture can and will stick around for decades to come, warns billionaire Mark Cuban, in response to Trump’s push to open America back up for business in April, he offered:
“How companies respond to that very question is going to define their brand for decades. If you rushed in and somebody got sick, you were that company. If you didn’t take care of your employees or stakeholders and put them first, you were that company.”
These are just a few examples among dozens of how a corporate culture is undergoing scathing critique under a magnifying lens, during these trying times - and this works to illuminate what a business’s purpose in the economy and what policies are in place to navigate these pandemic challenges.
Brewdog, the UK based brewery, has followed suit of dozens of others doing good during the pandemic in producing hand sanitizer to donate to those in need amidst the shortages, however the brand has faced online critique that the heavily branded sanitizer serves more as a marketing function damping the goodwill optics of the brand.
Beer giant Heineken, for example, has been eerily silent, perhaps taking measures to decide what is the best application for their corporate culture knowing what’s at stake or perhaps working in silence to avoid calling attention to themselves just yet.
The reason that this is THE time to be considering corporate culture, is because this is arguably THE time all of us alive are going to remember.
Keeping with the times: there’s an online database documenting which companies and celebrities have aided in the crisis.
We’re going to remember what we did, we’re going to remember what we didn’t do, and we’re going to remember who we worked for, and who worked for us - and these memories are going to shape our future.

Read on to discover Pauls’s advice of important questions all businesses should ask themselves during this formative period.

Coronavirus & Corporate Culture
Not unlike 1961 when John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address, now is a time of decisions - but unlike Kennedy’s case to ask what the people can do for their country, Paul and I consider the questions now are more akin to asking both what can your culture do for your company and what your company culture can do for your people.
Now can be an incredibly useful moment of introspection and existential discovery for companies:
  • What makes these cultural traits fundamental to our company?
  • What does the ‘holy book’ of our company culture actually say
  • How does our culture empower us during these uncertain times?
  • Why are we trying to grow and why do we have our goals?
  • What is the greater good that our company serves?
  • Are our business and cultural practices sustainable?
  • Why does the company exist?
  • Why do we need money and what do we use it for?
  • What drove us before and what continues to drive us now?
  • Why are there people in your company?
  • Why do we work and what do we work for? (spoiler: ‘bonuses’ might not be the right answer…)
  • What does the company culture look like in the new economy?
  • What is the company most afraid of?
We believe that now is THE time for a cultural audit (Paul and Fortify can help) and your company should be capable of tackling these basic questions. 
Your fire of the phoenix
With many industries in a suspended state, and many others on the very brink of survival, the work that could be done now in isolation could be the phoenixfire that ignites your people with renewed fervor, a sense of purpose, and a sense of belonging to a company they trust and believe in, that supported them through the crisis and one that they feel proud to support.
Now is the time to trust
Just as we mentioned in the second issue of TCE, working from home/remotely requires leadership to have trust in their employees and with this new sense of trust that has been earned over the course of lockdown, now would be a great time to express appreciation and reflect on how the team has shown up for the company in lockdown.
Are you more than a company?
The advent of culture arguably has allowed human beings to exponentially overtake the other beasts in the animal kingdom, allowing us to punch over our weight with our tender flesh and tiny teeth: a strong corporate culture will catapult a company to be more than just a company.

Read on to learn about how different cultures, corporate and otherwise, have been responding to the challenges of the coronavirus, work, and health.
The Essential Read
Coronavirus: Maintaining company culture in remote teams | HDR Connect
The Additional Reads
How to Tell If Your Corporate Culture Is Healthy | Investopedia
How Chinese Companies Have Responded to Coronavirus | Harvard Business Review
Stay Connected
We’ll won’t be in your inbox again next Friday at 9:10, this is the last issue of this version of Try Catch Essentials you’ll be getting in your inbox.
I want to heartily thank Paul Musters for his adaptability and commend him for how easy it was to work with him during these rapidly changing times, having to change each issue on the fly was hectic and exciting and he handled the entire editorial process with grace. Thanks Paul.
I want to thank our readers for tuning in each Friday, a special thanks to those that offered feedback - I hope you enjoyed the series and hopefully learned a thing or two along the way - I learned a lot.
We started Try Catch Essentials when I joined Try Catch in October and while it’s been a journey of finding itself, I feel that the newsletter really came a long way with the help of our collaborators and the support of our readers.
I want to thank Brendan Jansen op de Haar and the rest of the TC team for offering their support and advice over the course of my time with the company - today is my last day with Try Catch.
You can find me on LinkedIn if you have any questions or feedback about newsletters or anything else.
Have a great weekend!
~ Paul & Kerry
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Kerry from Try Catch

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