by David Tandet

A Hollywood Tale

There once was a Hollywood talent agency where all the top honchos drove the same make of luxury vehicle.

One time they hired this ten percenter from just down the road a piece (that would put the L.A. distance at about twenty billion dollars worth of L.A. real estate away).

The newbie’s first mistake? Monday morning he drives into the lot reserved for only the head honchos. Forgivable maybe. But what does he glide in on? Not their particular brand of wheels. A perfectly fine ride for the rest of glitzville, but not this place. And the color stood out something awful.

Now I’m not saying this was the ONLY reason — but a few weeks later? The guy was outta there.

Corporate Culture Defined

• Corporate culture has been defined as “the way things get done” around a place. But from the perspective of a business writer — especially if you’re being asked to put out an in house newsletter going to hundreds of employees? Then it’s something more ethereal. More like, “the way things feel around here.”

• When you’re sending a newsletter out it’s that indefinable something that will be obvious without having to explicitly announce it as the reason for your corporate existence. Corporate culture relates more to the fact that the hallway has two life-size photos of the CEO and COO playing 3rd base and outfield, respectively, on the company team. And have there been corporate picnics for the last 10 years? That could clue you in as to how well the families of employees know one another.

• How do the folks that work in a particular division relate to each other? If a few of them have been getting together twice a week since forever doing their musical thing with banjos and harmonicas, that provides a clue.

• Some of these things won’t be entirely obvious if you’re just coming in off the street. So ask.

It can start as simply as a few minutes talking to a veteran receptionist. Just be sure you don’t get in the way of anyone’s work routine. Keep your radar up, and pretty soon you’ll have a feel for where you are. And that’s something invaluable to the company you’re writing about.

We’ll assume you’re already an excellent writer who goes the extra mile when it comes to teaming with graphic designers and doing super interviews. But corporate culture? It’s the company’s fabric that’s as subtle as a single thread throughout an entire jacket. But it adds a uniquely tailored quality that puts the jacket miles above the rest.

Post filed under Writing Tips.