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We don't talk about our clients

Often I get asked, 'who are your clients?'  While there are lots of reasons for asking this question, including wanting to know who is working on their culture, I suspect some ask because they expect to hear names of organisation's that have been in the media for all the wrong reasons.  While we have a policy to not share who our clients are, the majority of them would probably be happy if we shared who they are.

The reason is that most already have good cultures.  Some have great cultures.  What makes them stand out is that they want to know what is really going on (not just the leadership view) and they want to be better.  This desire to be better and not rest on their laurels is what gives me heart.  To all of you out there who have just left a difficult workplace, don't worry, there are many good places out there.  You just need to hold off saying yes until you are absolutely sure you have found a goodie.

How do you find out if you have found the right place to work?  A very good friend of mine told me about an interview she had last week.  It was a panel interview and the woman questioning her didn't make her feel good.  Her questions were 'off' and she had a tone that indicated she didn't really want to put any effort into making my friend feel comfortable during the interview.  All these are important clues.  Her more senior colleague didn't step in and address the behaviour which made it all the more uncomfortable.  Take note of the situation you are in, are you feeling comfortable?  Do you feel seen and heard?  Can you work with these people? 

Asking questions helps.  Try some of these:

  • why did the last person leave? while not an absolute deal breaker, notice if they hesitate in responding to you.  It could indicate deeper issues.  Ask another question to clarify their response
  • do you conduct any engagement or culture surveys?  Can you share the results with me?  ask what they do about the results - does something active happen after all this great information is collected?  Only workplaces that want to be better, keep working on their culture
  • what opportunities are there to work in other teams?  organisation's that encourage cross team working understand the power of upskilling, sharing skills and strengthening relationships - there are usually fewer silos in teams like these
  • how will I know if I am doing a good job?  You need to know what great looks like.  If they don't know, then you won't ever receive any recognition you deserve
  • why should I work for you?  being able to articulate what is great about a workplace is vital and also why you should work for this particular manager.  Their level of self awareness is important - any leader worth their salt is self-aware
  • what are your organisation's strengths and what does this look like on a daily basis?  (I know that's two questions) you're asking how is their culture displayed - how does it come to life in everyday actions.....

Plus there are a whole lot more.  So when you ask me next time 'who are our clients?', I'll usually say, 'a bunch of organisation's that value their people and want to be a whole lot better.  They are out there - there's a lot of them.  Keep looking, you will find one.