Plato, Aristotle, and Me?

Philosophy Isn’t My Thing

How do you find out who you are when you have no idea what you are all about? How do you find your company personality?

The self-actualists in the audience will resonate with that question as they constantly strive to find out just all of who they are. But to ‘feet-on-the-ground’ people like me, this question feels more like a tumbleweed floating aimlessly across a wide-open field. It seems to go forward with no real destination in sight, as it chases the clouds.

Smartie-Pants had helped me realize that my company existed for a purpose greater than making money. But what was it?

Curious, I was open and ready to learn.

Smartie-Pants led me and a small group of other vested Crystal D employees through a series of exercises that allowed us to take on a new vision for our crystal award company.

Our first quest: figure out what type of organization we were. Turns out companies are sort of like people – they have a personality. Just as there are personality profiles for individuals, so are there also profiles for organizations. Smartie-Pants helped us uncover the truth about ourselves – turns out, our company personality is “Task-Role.”.

In our case, “Task” means that our first priority is to get the job done. Answer the phone. Enter the order in the system. Get the artwork done. Get the product into the etching process. Make the awards look their best. Pack them up. And get them out of the door. As soon as f’ing possible. Then repeat the process all over again.

We rocked this. My employees had the tools, the computers, and the latest production processes in order to help them do their jobs better and faster each and every day.  Getting the awards out the door gave our group great joy.

Next was “Role.” This eludes to the fact that every person and every position has an expertise area.

Each employee “owned” a certain set of tasks, they were responsible for those tasks, and they were able to be masters in their specific area. So for example, our receptionist was outstanding at answering the phone by the third ring and transferring customers to the right people. People who had skills that they specialized in whether it be prepping, etching, or packaging made up my production team.

Amidst the daily life of our organization, we thought first of the task at hand, and next, we delegated the task to the person who knew best how to do what needed to be done. As fast as possible. To the best of our ability. We strove to get the f’ing awards out the door.

So now I knew. I knew who we were. “We are a Task-Role culture,” I said with pride. I stood a little taller knowing a bit more of who and what my company personality was. I felt like a first-time Dad who had just discovered that his son likes toy cars, and beaming tells everyone he sees “My son loves cars.”

Looking back, I’Philosophy Isnt't My Thing d say, I was gushing a bit as I announced, “We are a task-role company.” I was so proud of who Crystal D was and how the company was actually something even though I hadn’t planned it.

I started to relax.

That is until Smartie-Pants asked his next question, “What does Crystal D exist to do or be?”

“Excuse me?” I stuttered.

“Oh shit,” I thought to myself, “I was hoping these moments of self-analysis had ended. Philosophy isn’t my thing.”

Smartie-Pants persisted, “Chuck, finish this sentence: Crystal D exists to….’”

I had no words.

Silence, again, filled the air.

“Keep reading Good to Great,” advised Smartie-Pants.

I went home and read.

What happened next has literally carved the path that my company has been traveling for more than a decade.


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