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Is culture your secret weapon?

February 7, 2011 Blog 1 min read

An experienced hire at Plante Moran recently said that one of the things he appreciated most about our firm was the culture.  He said it was a welcome change from his former job where, although he and his company were successful, the culture was best characterized by fear and intimidation.  His boss demanded performance and threatened retribution if goals were not met.  This particular staff person was able to survive in that environment, but let’s just say it wasn’t a pleasant experience. (And he has the high blood pressure to prove it.)

Admittedly, some of us could thrive in that type of culture, but I’m not sure I’d do very well, especially after more than 30 years at Plante Moran.

How do you define culture?  It’s both tangible and intangible. At Plante Moran we have a wealth of internal stories, icons, principles, core values statements, processes, and practices that combine to create the Plante Moran culture. These cultural elements are deeply embedded: ask any staff person to describe Frank Moran’s Mayo Clinic model or how work-life balance is like being “on the tightrope.”  (More on those ideas in a future post). But culture is also the small things — making sure that we say “hello” to one another in the morning or smiling in the hallway. There are numerous stories of our culture in action, such as the partner who wasn’t too busy to stop and help a staff person dig her car out during one of our Michigan snowstorms.

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