Finding Your Unique Organizational Traits

It seems that everyone has a schtick, even organizations. Bear with us. Think back to high school. There were the class clowns, the “most likely to become president,” and so on. We had those labels because it made us recognizable. And while this comparison is somewhat archaic, it’s not that far off from thinking about how you want your organization to be viewed.

Let’s Review Some Examples

South by Southwest (SXSW) is known for its humor and quirkiness. People recognize that, respond to it, and identify them with it.

So how do you want your company to be identified?

A keynote speaker at a conference recently talked about a small locksmith in New York City who was known for his customer service. In fact, he had a perfect five-star review record on Yelp. This was no small feat as we all know that people can be brutal online, and no one is perfect. The reason he was known for his customer service was because for every apartment that he helped people get into (who had been locked out) he went around and checked all their locks and oiled them – completely for free, no strings attached. Now that is customer service, which explains why he’s known for it. That is his qualifier, his unique trait!

How do you find yours?

Ask Around

As a leader or manager, sometimes you are too close to the organization to see what sets it apart. Often, you need a bird’s-eye view. Try asking recent hires what attracted them to your organization in the first place. Then talk to your more senior employees to get their perspective.

Don’t just stop with your team members though! Ask friends in the industry. What do they see your organization? What do they experience?

Here is a set of questions that might be helpful to you:
  • What do they think of when they think about the organization?
  • What is an identifier to them?
  • If they were to give your organization three adjectives, what would they be?
  • What has changed in the organization?
  • What was it then?
  • What do they feel like it is now?

Once you’ve gathered that data compare it to your core values and the unique (desired) traits of the organization. Are the two aligned?

For instance, if your organization is known as COURAGEOUS – where people are genuine and honest, ask yourself, “Is COURAGEOUS one of our core values or is it one of the “unique or desired traits?” If it falls in one of those two categories, you’re doing it right! You want people aligned to the core values and to fit the unique or desired traits of the organization. It becomes so evident that even people outside the organization identify with it and experience it at a variety of levels. As a bonus, these are the type of people you’re trying to attract.

Learn more about Core Values

If you happen to find a negative identifier that is a surprise to you, try to figure out where that stigma came from, and then take a harder look at your core values and unique or desired traits. Are you making decisions for the organization that properly aligns with those two critical categories? If not, maybe it’s time you revisited them. There’s no shame in going back to the basics to ensure your company is headed in the right direction.

Stay in tune for the next blog in the Attracting the Perfect Team series where we discuss the importance of your reputation in not just your client’s eyes, but in your industry’s as well.

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