This is a video excerpt from The Freethinking Leader Coalition, unpacking the first lie in Marcus and Ashley’s upcoming book, Nine Lies about Work. To view the full video, read book excerpts, and participate in a live event for each lie, join here by pre-ordering the book. To learn more about The Freethinking Leader Coalition, click here.
When you’re looking at a new company as a potential employer, one of the first questions you will probably ask is, “What is the culture like there?” We know you probably ask that because Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” issue is one of their highest-selling issues of the year. Companies also place extraordinary value on culture, because they think having the best welcome packages, foosball tables, on-site daycare or open-concept offices will lure in the best talent.
But what if that’s all wrong? What if “company culture” – something that prospective employees and organization leaders find equally significant – what if it doesn’t exist? If you were to rephrase your question, “What is the culture like there?” to be what you really want to find out, it would become “What is it like to work there?” And that question will vary, significantly, depending on who you ask at the organization. We know this, because we’ve researched it for the last 20 years, and we learned that experience varies more within a company than between two companies. How can we recognize company culture when it differs from employee to employee?
That’s why the first lie is that People care which company they work for. They certainly care which company they join, and that’s exactly what all those perks are meant to do – they lure you into the organization with their promise of long paternity leave and organic snacks. But the day-to-day experience of working at a company – what really determines how productive you are, how creative and resilient and focused you are, and how long you’ll stay at the company – is determined by something else entirely.
To learn the truth, join the Freethinking Leader Coalition.