Hurricane Sandy provide Business PerspectiveAs I wrote this, there was a huge “Frankenstorm” churning winds and rain outside my house. My lights were still on but they were flickering…

Despite the seriousness of this storm, my kids are mostly concerned with whether Halloween is going to come off as planned.

As some of the globe watches my little corner of the world, a young family is grieving the loss of 2 beautiful little children. Last Monday, I met Kevin Krim just days before his family endured an unthinkable tragedy. As I told my boss the other day:  it’s hard to think of anything else as important after hearing about something like that. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Krim family.

Add Ann Coulter’s heinous comments and the crazy U.S. Presidential election to the mix and I have all these seemingly unrelated but similar thoughts going on inside my head. They mostly boil down to one thing:

We all need to get some perspective!

Ordering Perspective

In 2007, Disney / Pixar released a great children’s animated film called Ratatouille. One of the great scenes of the movie has the snobby Parisian food critic aptly named “Ego” asking the chef if he can serve him up some “perspective.”

The nervous chef, who epitomizes the belief that “anyone can cook” serves up some perspective in the form of the film’s title dish, ratatouille.

In a moment symbolic of Proust’s madeleine cookies in “Remembrances of Things Past,” (one of my favorite books) the peasant stew transports the critic back to his childhood. It delivers to him the fond and  innocent memories of his mother in the kitchen. He actually feels the warmth and love of her simple ratatouille.

The point:  anyone can cook! For businesses, this translates to “any business person can create great content.” As long as we have the right objective and the right perspective.

Zombies, Vampires and Your Business Culture

Eric C. Sinoway presented his views on when to fire a top performer for hurting your company culture. He proposed that there are 4 types of employees in every company culture:

  • Stars – the ones who do all the right things in all the right ways
  • High Potentials – those who the things the right way but still need work to get the right results
  • Zombies – those who do not do the right things not do anything in the right way. These “undead” simply try to kill everyone.
  • Vampires – these are the folks who have skills but use them to suck the life out of your culture. They do things that are counter-cultural to your company values.

My question to Eric: what if you don’t know which one of these roles you play?

Is the Vampire virus the fault of the employee or the company? What if your culture needs to change? What if your business hasn’t taken the right steps to become a social business?

Should we fire vampires in cultures that need to be changed?

What do awful tragedies, hurricanes and vampires have to do with us?

As the storm rolls in and the news gets worse, I can’t help but think of those who need real help. Kiss your spouses, family or pets one extra time tonight.

And if you work in a company with a great culture that values helping customers, that serves a higher purpose, then be very, very thankful.

To me, being a social business ultimately means valuing people. And when you put a value on people, it means you care about what they care about. When your company culture lines up with your employee values, you can create an engaged workforce. And that is how everyone can win.

Be safe!  

Let me know what you think in the comments below. And please follow along on TwitterLinkedInFacebook and Google+ or Subscribe to the B2B Marketing Insider Blog for regular updates.

About Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner is the Vice President of Global Marketing for SAP where he leads content strategy and serves as the managing editor of the company’s award-winning Business Innovation thought leadership blog site. He is also the author of B2B Marketing Insider, a contributor to Forbes and a frequent speaker at industry events covering topics such as marketing strategy, social business, content marketing, digital marketing, social media and personal branding.  Follow Michael on Twitter (@BrennerMichael)LinkedInFacebook and Google+ and Subscribe to B2B Marketing Insider by Email

3 Comments

  1. Jim Matorin said…

    Different type of post for you, a small departure. You might have missed a fifth type of employee, those that just show up for work. I am witnessing too many of these folks these days.

    • Michael Brenner said…

      Thanks Jim, I was overwhelmed by so many of the events going on this past few days. And great point about those who are just showing up. The paycheck collectors are whole different breed although maybe closely related to Zombies. Zombie cousins maybe ;-)

  2. Lenny Sheng said…

    In manufacturers, it is really hard to say these 4 types… Too ideal. However, I like your article. Thanks a lot.

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