True Grit as Company Culture
grit /ɡrit/ noun
1. small loose particles of stone or sand.
“she had a bit of grit in her eye”
2. courage and resolve; strength of character.
“he displayed the true grit of the navy pilot“
Culture matters. It shapes the attitudes and effectiveness of any group. There are many factors that come into play for a company’s culture. Many can be changed or influenced, but one has an early impact and is something to leverage if you are fortunate enough to recognize it.
When I joined Compuware in December of 2010 they flew me out to Detroit to take part in a several day on-boarding event. I still remember the large group of us newbies in a large theater. Someone very high up in HR started off the presentation telling us about what it took to live in Detroit. One of the terms she used was “grit” as she described what it took to deal with the harsh winters there. Piling sand bags in your trunk for traction, always having a lighter handy to heat your keys – just so you could get the door unlocked and try to start the car. Not to mention the time warming it up before you hit the icy, slippery, roads.
The culture that the leadership comes from has a large impact on their values and priorities. I got to see it firsthand at Compuware. I worked with quite a few people that had true grit. They’d work hard, push hard, and not give up. And they weren’t from Detroit. They were from Seattle, San Francisco, Portland and parts of Texas – but the grit of Detroit rubbed off on them.
Have you worked somewhere where the culture was strongly influenced by the environment of the company headquarters?