The Culture of Cheap Flight, Cheap Hotels, and Operational Waste.
Throughout my career I have had the pleasure of working for a few companies all with very different cultures. I have seen flat managed companies, vertically stacked managed, and everything in between. Most of the time I do not really focus on the culture outside what I can control. The truth is, if I enter a company and the culture is not one that I thrive in, I don’t blame the company. I blame myself for not doing the diligence I should have. I don’t spend time complaining because complaining gets you nothing and only serves to worsen an already failing culture. Out of all the company cultures I have been a part of there is one culture that stands out to me (in a bad way). The culture of suffering at the top to show solidarity. When I speak to a company and I ask, “What is your on travel?”.
Often I hear that the company in question only believes in economy travel, cheap hotels, and $10 meals.
This is normally said with such pride. “Even the CEO fly’s coach”.
1. The company is frugal and is all about the bottom line.
2. The CEO and executive team are the same as everyone else and we all suffer together.
In my early days I bought into this idea. Partly because it seemed magnanimous and partly because I was confused on how leader inspire people to follow. The older I have gotten the more I have come to see this is not really a positive culture and can be very disheartening to staff looking to progress.
I most always find that these companies are bleeding cash at the bottom line or at least are suffering from operational waste.
I propose looking at it like this, If you are a manager and looking to rise in the company, what is the motivation? Money is certainly one, perks are another, status is increased, position is a motivator.
When a manager who is working to get to the top and they see at the top the only pay off is a little more money and a lot more work it tends to make one pause and ask, “why would I want to rise to the top if at the top there is nothing to distinguish me from others. In short “equal is unfair”. I have never viewed the perks my CEO gets as negative. I look the corner office, the car and drive, the first-class flight and any other perk as incentives to rise. To rise I need to manage my brand by doing the best work I can.
If I work hard and dedicate myself to be the best I can in order to rise to the top, I want the position, the pay, and the perks. Anyone who has had to fly international for 20 hours cramped in coach understands the value of flying business class. Only a person who has had to commute 1 hour on the subway to and from work every day knows the value of having a car driving you rather than being cramped like sardines on a subway.
Now I want to be clear because this could all be taken as elitism. I believe people should earn their way to the top. Perks are not favors given out without substantial sacrifice. Perks do not mean you are better than any other person conversely, a CEO that fly’s coach does not mean they are one of the people.
“it only stands to reason that where there is sacrifice, there is someone collecting the sacrificial offerings. Where there is service there is someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice is speaking of slaves and masters and intends to be the master.” Any Rand.