Branding * Culture Fit * and CFOs

My faithful readers know I am an evangelist for authentic branding. I always know the moment when the branding concept resonates with my CFO clients. And it’s a beautiful thing!

I also get very jazzed when I actually see or read about a person or company that “gets” the value of branding within the context of culture fit. So it was when I read the interview of Steve Stoute, Chief Executive of Translation LLC, in the NY Times.

If your organization hires for culture fit – or – if you as a future Chief Financial Officer want to land in an organization that has a culture built for your unique wiring, strengths, and interests, read the entire interview. Stoute makes some excellent points and he has some great ideas around ensuring the team is a good fit within the culture he has built.

Two salient points jumped out at me.

If you have people in your organization who touch culture, you have to reward them for bringing that into the workplace. Most companies mute their employees’ “off the court” activities. I want what you do off the court to be a part of our growing organization. It builds camaraderie inside of a company.

This is part of the value of authentic branding. You aren’t an executive when you’re in the office and someone else when you’re out of the office. The core of who you are is always a part of you, regardless of which role you might be playing (employee, boss, father, husband, friend). What you enjoy doing outside the office is a reflection of who you are in the office … at least it should be, because you are a WHOLE person all the time.

In a conversation around branding yesterday, I was reminded of my friend Jack McCullough. He may be one of the top 5 most authentically-branded people I’ve ever met. His gift of “helping others” is core to who he is, and he would give the shirt off his back to help anyone, any time.

He doesn’t turn that unique giftedness / hardwiring off when he walks in the door of his office in the morning and then turn it back on when he leaves. Jack is ready, willing, able, and enthusiastic about helping others wherever he is. He lives and breathes his personal brand. That is a hugely valuable asset to his company … just ask anyone who knows him.

When Stoute was asked how he hires … if he were interviewing [the interviewer], what questions would he ask. Stoute replied,

I would ask you a lot of questions that have nothing to do with your job. For example, what are your values? If you could do it all over again, what’s the one thing that you would do differently? Is what you’re doing the thing that you’re most passionate about? Why aren’t you doing what you’re most passionate about?

Stoute gets it. Who you are, how you’re wired, what your value system is, what you’re most passionate about … all speak to the whole of who you are, how you will fit with the corporate culture, and how you will benefit the organization.

Authentic branding is powerful stuff.

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