Years ago, I used to work for a company where the CEO would proudly say, “We don’t have a culture. We are cultureless.” From what I have noticed, leaders oftentimes come up with the most hairbrained ideas that they alone think are ingenious. It’s like the “Emperor is not wearing any clothes,” but no one is willing to die on the hill of questioning the absurdity of their ideas. So, what does it mean to not have a culture? In this case, the company had grown leaps and bounds, but did it inorganically so the CEO no longer felt a connection to what was the original culture or cause. In my mind, if you don’t have a culture, you are rudderless, because you don’t have an identity. Who are you as a company? What’s important to you? Where are you headed? All those questions are tied together in your identity. Without an identity, you have a shell of a company that likely will fail over time. In contrast, the companies that stand the test of time, know who they are, what they stand for, and where they are headed.
The cultureless CEO I mentioned was also recognized by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top 3 worst CEO’s in the country that year. He obviously did not understand the power of having an identity or inversely, the pitfalls of not having one. Whenever you see a company where the left and right hand aren’t in sync and their norm is one of reaction instead of proactivity, that is a sign of a company without a strong identifiable purpose. That’s the thing about identity, it cannot be compartmentalized, or marginalized. It is singular and boundaryless. As an organization, it’s your truth. It’s your reason for being, and everyone within the organization should know what it is and should be in the forefront of all your decisions. It’s what solidifies the foundation that allows you to excitedly forge ahead in the challenging times, and the glorious times.
We made a choice in the very beginning that Globalstar’s identity was going to one of putting our team members first. Over our 20+ year history, many things have evolved and changed, but that is not one of them. In fact, our commitment to our identity is the reason why we are still viably thriving today. There is nothing more important to an organization’s sustainability than having a strong sense of identity. If the organization you are affiliated with does not project a strong sense of identity, then take it upon yourself to ask simple questions like who are we and what’s most important? What is our cause? What is our crusade? If you can’t garner a quick answer to those questions, then what you have is not an identity. There are those who by nature like to complicate the issue. They like to make company’s identity sound more sophisticated than it needs to be. Simpler is better. Ideally, you want your identity to be something that can be stated in a sentence or even a word. To where everyone within the organization clearly knows what it is as well as those outside your company. At the basest level your messaging needs to lines up with your actions which leads to brand viability by way of a having a purposeful identity. At Globalstar, we put the welfare and satisfaction of our team members, partners, and clients first. That’s our identity.