Fast Company

Does a Company Have to Live the Value Proposition It's Trying to Sell You On?

I was reading an article today by Kris Dunn, a fellow Blogger and close friend of mine, and I wanted to pass on for your thoughts and opinions.  Put simply, his article was about a company named Success Factors, a firm that claims to sell "Employee Performance Management" software.  While they sell technology aimed at increasing employee performance, current employees have numerous postings at GlassDoor.com that suggest the current CEO (and subsequently, most managers) are truly Bob Sutton certified a**holes.  Here's what I think:

In this case, the question becomes, "Does a company have to exhibit the corporate culture, or better, the very value proposition that it claims it can help you implement?"

If our focus was solely short-term, I'd say no. Who cares, right? But the issue is this: Corporate culture is an ongoing, highly-fluid notion. Yes, there are ebbs and flows (for example, depending on the overall economic condition [i.e. negative chatter will increase during a layoff period, etc.]). However, there is much to be said about the overall buoyancy of the employment brand. If it's consistently below water, something is wrong - it's time to employ some floaties. But let's shoot straight - if the CEO is a Bob Sutton certified a**hole, his managers will take the same cue . . . and to a certified a**hole, it's not he (or she) who is wrong. Nope, it's everyone else.

In that sense, how could any organization, in good faith, buy into a value proposition from a firm that can't even get it right in their own house. If I were to attend family counseling of any sort, I wouldn't want my sales rep or instructor to have 10 domestic abuse charges as part of their resume package. Likewise, I also don't use workout programs from people who are clinically obese. In our personal lives, these decisions are easy to make . . . but when it's the organization's (or our shareholder's) capital, it's like common sense often goes right out the window.

You know, I sound like a broken record here . . . and frankly, I'm sick of saying this, yet it continues to fall on deaf ears: It's NOT all about the technology. In the HR World, the marketing noise and worthless sales-centric chatter is deafening . . . yet my voice is resisted in my very own space because I don't walk lock-step in line with the formation of toy soldiers.  And if you want the truth, the sheep want to follow the other sheep.  If everyone is doing it, it must be good, right?  Wrong.

So much of corporate culture is about nothing more than the time-tested 'Golden Rule', yet the sales reps, vendors, and marketing magicians don't want us to believe that. Hell, they probably don't even believe it themselves . . . so they're not lying; they're simply disillusioned and desperate to earn a buck.  Don't be a sucker.

 

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