Culture of One” – is that a cool brand or what? Sounds so Highlander-ish (if you don’t get the reference, ask an old person like me). Brings to mind the donning of a cloak, sacred chanting, and the possible inclusion of a scepter.

I’m still defining the breadth of the term, but to me “Culture of One” is the professional version of personal accountability and sphere of influence. There is so little we can actually control, agreed? We may, at times, be sucked into an illusion of control, but these moments are brief and usually transactional.

Your employer, to some degree, has the same tenuous grasp on control. Corporate missions, value statements, vision statements, and culture initiatives all serve to construct the parameters of acceptable and/or desired behavior. We invariably adapt as individuals, but the expectation is that we will align with the corporate structure. So what happens when the company is turned on its respective ear? As an example, what happens when the company you know becomes the “acquisition” piece of “M&A?”

Where does the list end? But for the purposes of “CO1” [now branding the brand, I’m on fire] it becomes a true litmus test of your make-up. Who are you? As a new company emerges from an acquisition, it’s critical that you come to clear & immediate terms with these facts:

  • Things are not the same. The company and culture you knew is gone.
  • Despite appearances, you just assumed more control of your career.

Could be a reach, but let me explain. When a merger occurs, you see one of three responses:

  1. Run silent, run deep ~ These are the people who do their best to become invisible, hoping to be spared.
  2. Play the game ~ You know these folks, right? They work harder at knowing who to connect with than they do at any job-related skill.
  3. Have fun with it ~ Ridiculous, right? Not necessarily, but the impact of your attitude is a proven commodity. Being positive, charging forward, and embracing the opportunity gives you the best chance to succeed.

This is your moment ~ my Pop had a saying, “You don’t know what’s in a tube until you squeeze it.” So think of the awakening you’ll have as you not only discover more about yourself, but of your colleagues as well. Who’s politicking? Who’s plotting? Who’s sucking up?  You’ll soon find out, and you’ll be able to see the stuff inside your own “tube” as well.

"Come on out, I know you're in there."

“Come on out, I know you’re in there.”

“Culture of One” ~ Yeah! Branding, brand-ING, brand-ING! This is the fun part – this is when you find out what your culture is made of – after all, you do have a choice in this matter. It’s not a novel or even particularly clever concept, but it’s a reminder for any of us who are shaken by a change or even the threat of change. What are your values? What is your mission statement? Vision statement?

So, my cover is blown…”Culture of One” isn’t Marcus Buckingham‘s new revelation, it’s a common-sense mindset you can adopt to make change a manageable (not controllable) event.

John “Whit” Whitaker is Founder and OH (Original Hardballer); HR Hardball™ is a blunt, self-aware, and sometimes snarky perspective of Human Resources.