And That’s Why The Guys (And Gals) That Work Make Cultures That Rock

“Now that ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it
Lemme tell ya them guys ain’t dumb
Maybe get a blister on your little finger
Maybe get a blister on your thumb…”

—Dire Straits, “Money for Nothing”

The Guys That WorkFor nearly 40 years we’ve been the guys that work. Childhood friends who in adulthood continue making an annual trek to “hangout.” Men of a certain age who continue to invest in a friendship that’s seen many ups and downs, ins and outs, and others who have come and gone over the years. Men who have had varying careers, varying relationships, some with children and some without, who have experienced hardship and loss as well as success and enduring love. Men who have created an inclusive culture from a shared collective of unique behaviors and experiences that extend well beyond the bounds of their own inner drum circle, affecting many others in their lives – family, friends, colleagues and today even passerby on social networks.

The guys that work. But it’s not all unconditional bromance love-fest because there’s a valuable return for us all – the catch phrases, the sounding boards, the support networks, the referrals and all the memories that keep us motivated, working hard to keep working together and reinvesting in our personal culture.

Just like the “guys at work” reference that Geddy Lee makes about his bandmates and long-time friends in Rush, a progressive rock band that’s been playing together for over 40 years. But the “guys at work” include everyone who works for, in and around Rush, and their extended families and friends. It’s been their inclusive culture for decades (and that includes guys and gals).

Because for those cultures that rock, we’ll not only salute you, men and women alike, we’ll work for you and evangelize for you. Of course that’s a reference to a classic rock song by AC/DC called “For those about to rock,” but it’s a mantra that continues to ring true when it comes to workplace culture today. Great “bands” and brands focus on culture first and foremost so it will drive engagement, business outcomes and ultimately success.

Jim Knight, a leading training and development expert who wrote Culture That Rocks and worked with Hard Rock International for 20 years where he led the renowned School Of Hard Rocks, put it this way on the TalentCulture #TChat Show: Culture is only as strong or weak as the employees that collectively make up the heart and soul of the organization. Company culture should be hard to copy, but not hard to understand.

Right on. Both Jim and I have our culture brand-crushes – one of his is Southwest Airlines and one of mine is Apple (outside of my own mothership PeopleFluent, and TalentCulture, of course). But we both agree that culture is unique in lesser known brands and entities much closer to home as referenced above. What’s interesting is that although company culture is “personal” and we’re familiar with the phrase “home is where the heart is,” but we never hear “work is where the heart is” for cultures that do rock.

And it’s both. Company culture again is that collective set of shared experiences – good and bad and all in between – where we love what we do first. Then we’re loyal to those that we do it within and around and for, and then ultimately the company itself. It has to go from the inside out no matter the inspirational and motivational leadership up top.

Marcus Buckingham concurs. The renowned speaker, author, 20-year veteran of Gallup, and founder and chairman of The Marcus Buckingham Company told me that his research data actually clarifies my above points. But how long people stay and how productive they are while they’re there depends massively on what they end up doing within the job, the actual work that you’re doing actually fits the best of who they are.

The reality is that no matter much the culture rocks and the work loved, the players still come and go due to continuous economic fluctuations and job transience. But there will be more coming and even returning than going when the culture works and keeps us motivated and invested in the high-performance and rewarding shared experience.

And that’s why the guys (and gals) that work make cultures that rock.