Got Culture? Company Culture that is.

By Kathleen E. Murphy

I have had the fortune of working at two of the best companies in the US when it comes to outstanding company culture, and I credit Lou Shipley, CEO at Black Duck, and Gail Goodman (former CEO) of Constant Contact for their support of allowing their company cultures to be genuine and not contrived. This is not easy to accomplish, and it’s not by chance their corporate cultures are impressive, as they work on developing their culture every day, with the help of many others. At Black Duck, Tim Kenny has the title of Vice President of Culture, and he embodies how to practice and make a company culture that even Google would be jealous of. Here’s a link to a YouTube video of one of Tim’s famous office antics, accomplished while the person was out of the office. This should give you a good sense of Black Duck’s culture.

Are technology companies the only companies who understand and embrace the importance of having an amazing company culture? I hope not, but there are also industries who are well known for their lack of a healthy corporate culture, and they know who they are. Is this a badge of honor for them? I certainly do not think so, as the benefits of having a strong and positive corporate culture cannot be underrated, as outlined in an article and infographic by Eric Siu, Contributing Editor at Entrepreneur.  Sure there is a cost to creating and maintaining a corporate culture, but I would argue there is more evidence to support why you should invest in “upgrading” your corporate culture, than not investing in this area.

There are varying degrees of what effort it takes to create a corporate culture, and if you think of creating corporate culture from an analogy perspective, and as a way to remain fit and visiting the gym regularly, you are on the right track….pun intended. Some examples of creating a corporate culture would be to start slowly, and by forming a small group of people in the company who are genuinely interested in making it a better and more fun place to work. Next, this group can brainstorm on ideas they can apply to help develop their corporate culture on a monthly basis (e.g., Black Duck employees make waffles every Wednesday, and call the event “Waffle Wednesday”). The company invested in some commercial grade waffle irons, assign people to procure the ingredients, cook and clean up each week. It is a really fun activity, and most of the employees in the company participate in the activity at some point during the year. Another idea would be to capitalize on inviting some food trucks to your parking lot, especially if you are in a large building complex. Or, perhaps you could have a monthly themed activity which everyone can rally around (e.g., Cinco de Mayo), or Pizza Friday’s or Potluck lunches once per month. You could also have sports themed days, where people wear their favorite professional or college team’s shirts or hats to work.

The bottom line is, corporate culture does not have cost tens of thousands of dollars to support, and it can make a significant contribution to helping your company retain employees because they are happy working at your company. Reach out to me if you would like additional “free” ideas on what type of low-cost corporate culture ideas I can recommend for your company, or if you have ideas to share with me. It delights me to see other companies working on improving their company culture, knowing how much fun it can be to work at a company with an amazing corporate culture. As I shared earlier, I’ve been at them, so I know this for a fact. Don’t delay and start today on making your corporate culture the one everyone wants to work at.

This blog is dedicated to Tim Kenny, who I admire for his amazing creativity and talent to create a corporate culture which both Disney and Google would be impressed with.

Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.

Become More Confident

 

By Kathleen E. Murphy

Where does confidence come from? Are some people born with more than others, or is it a skill or strength you develop over time? I am sure you have encountered people who seem to have a level of confidence way beyond their chronological age. Still there are others who are at a point in their life and career where they should have a high degree of confidence, yet are severely lacking it, and for no apparent reason. If desired, can you build confidence and maintain it? Where does one begin to do this?

There are numerous ways to increase your self-confidence, and here’s a link I found which lists (25) actions to boost your self-confidence – and ways to do so, all of which are completely easy to achieve, as I read through all of them and mentally ticked off the box to determine if they were achievable. They are, and I know you will feel the same. In case you think only non-celebrities suffer from lack of self-confidence, I did some research and found there have been numerous people documented in history who seemingly have reached the pinnacle of their careers or talent, and who yet are what I will call plagued with lack of confidence.

Examples of well-known people who suffer from lack of confidence are singer/songwriter Mariah Carey, singer/songwriter/actor David Bowie (1/8/47-1/10/16), tennis superstar Serena Williams and Academy, Golden Globe and Grammy Award winning actress Kate Winslet. Each of these celebrities have documented histories of battling with low self-esteem, or what I would classify as low self-confidence. How is it possible for these well-known “super stars” in their respective fields to not have over the top levels of confidence? Part of the reason has to do with the negative narrative they have running in their minds, and which has them perceive themselves far differently than the outside world does. Another contributing factor to low or lack of self-confidence is not believing in yourself, even though there is vast evidence to the contrary that you should be able to do so.

Building self-confidence is not something you can do overnight, but is in fact something you can work on every day. The methods to building self-confidence need to be practiced daily, and yes, you will have days when your confidence is lower or higher. The goal is to try to maintain a balance in your level of self-confidence, and this can be done with some of the items listed on the 25 actions to boosting your self-confidence. Another quick way to increase your self-confidence is to stand up and in front of a mirror if one if available, and put your hands on your hips and pose like superman or superwoman. Now, saying out loud, tell yourself “I’ve got this” (5-6) times until you feel a positive change in your demeanor.  You will be amazed at how such a simple action can make you feel more confident than simply a few minutes prior to doing so. I know this for a fact, because I have leveraged this technique numerous times in my life. Give it a try.

This blog is dedicated to our daughter, Bronwyn Shinnick, as she is one of the most confident people I know. She also inspires me with her drive to succeed and her magnificent level of focus and confidence every day.

 

Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.

 

Are You Curious Enough?

By Kathleen E. Murphy

Last week a friend of mine told me about a young man who passed away on March 28, 2017. He had been battling addiction for many years. When I attended his wake yesterday, his entire family told me they were happy he was finally at peace. Anyone who has ever suffered from an illness, or been witness to someone else who has, understands the concept of “peace” better than most. Thinking more about this concept lead me to explore the topic of “curiosity”, as I wanted to better understand the true meaning of peace. There are a number of interpretations of the word peace. As a noun, the definition states it means “freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility”. I believe this is the meaning this young man’s family embraced to express how their feeling about an extraordinary sad occasion in their life. I also imagine this word and concept helped them to come to terms with the situation based on this meaning.

On a lighter note, thank goodness for the internet and the ease of being able to research information, especially since I have always been curious about many topics. Pre-internet, the challenge to do research took far more effort, and the results of my research did not always satisfy my quest to go layers deep into exploring a topic. Given the fact I am by nature a curious person, I have often wondered if most people are as well? To set the stage on the meaning of Curiosity, according to Wikipedia’s definition “Curiosity is a quality related to inquisitive thinking such as exploration, investigation, and learning, evident by observation in humans and other animals.”

Others would likely agree there are varying degrees of curiosity, and times in our lives when we have the opportunity to be more curious. The American proverb “curiosity killed the cat” is a negative connotation of curiosity, and since my last blog article was on “Positivity”, you know where I stand in terms of whether I support this proverb. Of course, upon researching if there was a follow-up to this statement, I found out via Wikipedia that “A less frequently-seen rejoiner to ‘Curiosity killed the cat’, is “but satisfaction brought it back”. This must be why I pursue my curiosity quest on a daily basis, as finding out more information about a topic is highly satisfying.

Regardless of who you are, being a curious person has amazing advantages, particularly from a learning perspective, and I love to learn new things all the time. The challenge of researching topics I am curious about is always a fascinating process, and I am thoroughly amazed each time about what I learn. Is it possible to be too curious? I do not think it is, and my belief is when I stop being curious, my life will not be as rich in the diversity from what I learn as a result of being curious. There are numerous other advantages to being curious, as is it does not matter what gender you are, your age, your educational background, where you live, or what access you have to information.

As a business person, doing research is an integral and on-going process, as it is critical to learn as much about the industry I am in, the target markets I am pursuing, the competition and global or local events which might have an impact on my business, or the products and services I am marketing. Thankfully doing research, fueled by my curiosity makes it a pleasurable aspect to my daily activities. However, I cannot imagine if I did not have the drive to be curious every day. Are you curious enough, or does it matter whether or not you are?

This blog is in memory of Torin Michael Lekan of Chelmsford, Massachusetts who passed away at the age of 32. To honor his memory, his family asked people to please help a friend in need.

Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.

How Positive Thinking Impacts Your Life.

By Kathleen E. Murphy

My Mom Emily Murphy had a long career in nursing, and when I was growing up, she would always tell me stories about the power of positive thinking, especially as it related to healing and the patients she was taking care of. For about a decade, my Mom’s profession as a nurse was focused on Oncology. She told me she was gifted in her ability to help people deal with their cancer, and for many years I did not fully understand or appreciate what this meant. As you would imagine, most of her cancer patients were extremely sick, and some were at the early stages of dealing with this awful disease. According to my Mom, the difference between patients and how they handled this dreadful disease was their attitude. The second thing which differentiated her patients from one another was how much they were able to apply positive thinking on a daily basis to help them make their situation better in even the smallest of ways (e.g., they were able to see beautiful trees outside of their hospital window emblazoned with all of the fall colors New England is known for).

The power of positive thinking has been written about for years, and there are many well known experts on this topic such as Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale who authored the book The Power of Positive Thinking which was published in 1952, and The Dalai Lama. Ironically when I was researching lists of well known optimists, there was not a definitive list of such people, but we all know they exist, and I happen to be one of them, but I am not yet known globally for this ability. How do I know I have optimism or positivity as a strength? I know this because my top strength according to the book Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath is Positivity.  Does it matter if you do or do not have an optimistic or positive outlook on life? I firmly believe it does.

Personally for me, there have been more numerous instances when if I thought about the outcome of a situation turning out well, in over 95% of the time the situation turned out to be positive. Is this because I viewed the outcome as being positive, or was it sincerely this way? Am I simply a lucky person? Or, did my positive thinking influence the outcome, and my optimistic nature have me only see the outcome as being positive, or the “glass being half full”?

My perspective and reality has been the situations I wanted to have positive outcomes generally turned out that way. If I thought about the instances the outcome did not turn out positively, there was usually some reason why the outcome was not positive (e.g., based on timing, based on location, based on other factors I had almost no control over). In the instances when the situation did not turn out positively, I think the manner in which I looked at the outcome had a great deal to do with my perception of the situation, and ultimately was less negative than I thought it would be.

Based on what my Mom witnessed as a nurse time and time again, and which would in many instances be called a “miracle”, she would tell you the power of positive thinking or being optimistic in even the most dire situations can bring you results you did not think were possible. I challenge you to pick a day to think about having everything in your day turn out well or positively, and see what the outcome of your day is like. If you are not a positive person by nature, you might need to start more slowly and take this challenge on by the hour. Being positive may take practice, but the long-term benefits and the outcomes you will see will be worth it. Take my word, as those who truly know me, will tell you I am living proof of this concept working well.

Thanks to Greg DeGuglielmo and Holden Laquerre for inspiring me to write, and by picking this topic from my list of topics to write about.

Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.