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Culture: It's Not Always Sunshine, Rainbows, and Sprinkled Donuts

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Updated By: Alison Schroeder on Fri, Jul 24, 2015

In my first interview, Dan mentioned something along the lines of, employees need to have their shit together if they are at all expected to have it together at the office and in their careers. That can only happen if employees feel safe, important, heard, and validated. That’s an oversimplified definition of culture. We’re big on culture here, and we believe it’s what sets us apart from the rest. If you recall from the first blog I published here, it’s what drew me to this company. And this week, it’s what’s keeping me sane and grounded.

Through Thick & Thin

My dog, Jasper, died last week. He was nine. As the cycle of life goes, this was pretty textbook. You open your heart up and love the crap out of someone until it’s time to say goodbye. He’d been sick since the beginning of summer, and rallied a bit before we knew it was time. My husband and I were completely transparent with our daughter, Ihlee, who is seven. She’s never known a home without her dog, yet she handled the entire situation with such grace, and dignity. Hell, she even helped dig the hole when we buried him in his favorite place in the world. She knew he was here, and he was real, and she loved him. Now he’s gone, and she misses him, and that’s okay. If we could all possess such clarity when it's time to get up off our knees.

JasperTheWonderBeagle-1

The whole point of this blog, however, is to talk about the importance of culture. When my husband delivered the news of the dog’s diagnosis all those weeks ago, I was at the other end of the phone, at work. Obviously upset, I tried to muster a brave face, and rushed to quickly tell people oh, no! I’m fine. It’s just the dog! by means of explaining the tears. Rule number one of culture - if it matters to you, it matters. My Tribe quickly gathered to bolster me and comfort me. Chocolate and cards showed up. I couldn’t believe people cared so much … yet at the same time, I completely understood why they did. Of course they did. Within these walls, either you’re in, like all the way, or you’re not. 

A Big Commitment 

Culture is the undying commitment that internally we have for ourselves and each other. Just as in a marriage, it’s for better or for worse. You stay and fight when it gets nasty. You bring in sprinkled donuts to celebrate when it’s sweet. And you do it all knowing how safe you are. It’s been quite the evolution here for me in that regard, getting used to how much people care. What a nice problem to have.

So when it came time a week ago to say our goodbyes to Jasper the Wonder Beagle, I did it knowing I had a legion of supporters back here, with open arms, gifted coffees, more chocolate, tokens, beautiful words, and most importantly, zero judgment. They went the extra mile even, taking a donation to the Tri-County Humane Society in Jasper’s memory. Rule number one of culture - if it matters to you, it matters

As Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Is It the Right Fit?

Culture centralizes your team and everything you do. It drives your growth, supports your momentum, and sustains you when it feels like nothing will go your way.

Culture guides, directs, motivates, inspires, nurtures, and stabilizes.

At Leighton Interactive, we make decisions based on culture. We hire new team members, engage in sponsorships, partner with businesses, and more, based on whether or not it is a good fit for our culture. Culture-driven actions and decisions ALWAYS work out well – and if we slip up and ignore that feeling in our gut, we almost always hit a roadblock or a parting-of-the-ways.

When it's right, you just feel it. It's not like the goosebumps you get when you first hold hands with someone. It's ... deeper than that. It's safe. It has depth. It's comforting. Hugging your favorite people. Your sacred places. Comfort food. The unconditional love of a dog. That's what a true culture fit looks and feels like.

Leighton Interactive’s culture has been more important to me than I ever could have anticipated when I started here just after New Year's. I just didn't know how badly I needed it. It might be for you, too, and you just don’t know it yet either. 

If you think you would be a good culture fit with us – employees, clients, partners, friends, etc. – we want to hear from you.

 

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Alison Schroeder

About The Author

Alison Schroeder

My fire is fueled by the relationships I make, build, and cherish. I love hearing people’s stories, what makes them who they are, and where I fit into their lives. As the Content Services Manager at Leighton Interactive, I'm a storyteller. I’m lucky that I can use my natural ability to help people find their voices, tell their stories, and reach their goals so their businesses can get results. Outside the office I get excited to find sunshine, consume iced coffee, work out, or add unique pieces of jewelry to my ever-growing collection. I also tell stories on behalf of AAF and serve as District 8's Second Lt. Governor & NSAC chair.

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