Leaders Talk About How We Do Things Around Here

Jim, the principal at my first teaching job, often said, “Most days, we have fun around here.”

He said this to me at my job interview and followed it with “…and you can’t say that about most jobs.”

I accepted the job and realized he was right. But that was 30 years ago, and Jim was relentless with his message.

Every company, organization, team, or group has their own culture.

By using the words “around here,” Jim painted a consistent picture of that school’s work culture. Additionally, letting me know up front at my job interview was his way of controlling the organization’s atmosphere/culture/vibe. He wanted new employees to know what to expect from the very beginning.

Smart.

And, like all smart ideas, it is worthy of using in other situations.

I stole Jim’s “around here” phrase during my third band directing job. I made a point of regularly saying, “The most important thing we do around here is treat each other with kindness and respect.”

We said it often, and I even put it on notes students took home. The line caught on as the new band slogan.

“The most important thing we do around here is treat each other with kindness and respect.”

Our new slogan stuck for two reasons:

1) It was true most of the time for most people.

2) It was a worthy vibe that met the needs of team members.

However, this “around here” phrase is not a completely unique idea.

Someone I know interviewed candidates for a job recently, and one of the interviewees asked, “How do you do things around here?”

She was looking for examples of the company’s values in action.

Fortunately, the hiring person gave a clear answer based on the organization’s values.

Because the candidate asked such a values-driven question (among other reasons), the hiring manager thought, “She gets it,” and offered her the job.

And, because the leader had a good answer to the question (among other reasons), the candidate took the job.

So, how do you want things to be done around here?

Do you have what you need to answer that question immediately, because you’re intentional about the company’s values?

Voicing culture expectations by using the phrase “around here” can help bring those values to life. Try it.

2 Responses

  1. Michelle Macumber
    | Reply

    I love this idea! Thank you for this food for thought.

    (Notice the exclamation point…you know I don’t use those often.)

    • Alan Feirer
      | Reply

      That’s huge! Thanks, Michelle. 🙂

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