Cultural Fit – It’s Initially About the Selection System

Although Awareness/ Knowledge/ Skills Do Play a Role

The A/K/S component is critical in the Selection Process up front – as both an initial explanation of the current state or future state – and as a warning – as it performs A/K/S maintenance – battling the Forgetting Curve.


Yes – a warning about the Consequence System – which is the real key – IMO – in creating and maintaining the Cultural norms desired.

The Selection System itself either weeds out inappropriate candidates … or the rest of “the systems” drive staff to either “self-select out” or “remove them” … but not always soon enough.

The Consequence System

Which either rewards and encourages the Cultural Norms of the Enterprise. Or they don’t … and they reward and encourage the opposite … or anything and everything.


But … as we have all most likely seen in our time in an Enterprise – the difference between words and actions is sometimes the Gap to be addressed.

Because the Consequence System – which either rewards consistently and sufficiently … or it does not –  is central – and it being in place – and its clarification – is what is needed to create the initial awareness/ knowledge/ skill.

And … as any medium-to-large Enterprise does not have one single Culture … in my experience … I have always looked to the local supervision and management … both geographically and level-wise… as the fulcrum to be leveraged. As they control that local Culture.

In my small firms – that would be me.

Back in the Day

Back in the Day I had a staff of 15-25 – in the 2 consulting firms where I was either a partner with 1/3rd of the ownership – or I was the majority owner with 98%.

We would let the appropriate manager conduct the recruitment and selection process. Sometimes it was the Office Manager for the Production Staff – the Home Team – and other times it was me for the Consulting Staff – the Traveling Team.

For many reasons I felt it was necessary to be the Voice of Warning to everyone on the payroll.

If they were production staff (almost always hired as temps) I had the Warning Conversation at the end of the process.

If it was the consulting staff I did this much earlier.

And then we relied on the 90-day Probation Period to let it all shake out – if not dealt with earlier – as needed.

3 Ways to Get Terminated Immediately

Before I outline those 3 – please know that my intent was to help everyone to “hear me now “and “believe me sooner rather than later” (a phrase I adapted … the “sooner rather than” was my add) popularized back in the day for viewers of … and borrowed by me from … SNL) – to make my diverse staff – feel safe.

And because I wanted to make it both memorable and impactful – I was always a bit overly dramatic about it.

I’d have a few back and forth pleasantries with the new hire or candidate – but not too many – as I wanted this to been seen and heard as: NO KIDDING. So I was sometime abrupt in changing the conversation (again in an attempt at being dramatic) and cutting to the chase.

1- Engage in any sexist behavior … and I’d tell a quick story about me being the son of a single mother who raised two sons on her own… yada yada. And … I was a child of the 60s. And I had zero tolerance for such behavior toward women.

2- Engage in any racist behavior … and I’d tell a quick story about having worked for minorities and with minorities before and during and after my 3 year tour in the US Navy … and that I was a child of the 60s. Yada. Yada. And I had zero tolerance for such behavior toward anyone on my staff … or by my staff.

3- Cheat my clients in any manner … including fudging on time sheets – which is how we determine the time and expense invoice amount … or how I developed and sharpened my fixed fee estimating models. No yada yada. Just my smiling but fixed stare.

And Then the Icing on THAT Cake

Was that if my Production Manager wasn’t here when I decided that an individual had to go – I would get out the company checkbook and write that last check myself. They would be gone immediately. Right then and there.


And that the Production Manager had the same power – the same charge from me – the owner – to write that check immediately as well – and that I would ask no questions of her.  She was empowered.

Any Questions?

Was the final act in my 3 part play.

Then We Would Digress Into the Pleasantries

Tell me about yourself. Family. Experience. Education. Etc.

Any questions?

The Consequence System Drives the Culture IMO

And I truly believe that “being forewarned is being forearmed” … it was only fair that they were really forewarned … and I chose to insure that by being a bit dramatic.

Yes – it might have been a shot across their bow.

And they might have to hide their attitudes – their Personal Values … of which I had ZERO CONTROL over.

But I could control – and would – their behaviors while at work. No kidding.

He who pays the fiddler … calls the tune … so to speak.

As I took myself seriously – and I certainly wanted the new staff member or candidate to take me that way too – I made myself be a bit “over the top” … dramatically speaking – to fit the seriousness of the situation.

It was their job and paycheck that was at stake – so it was that serious.

So I needed to Play a Role. And Talk the Talk.

And I knew that when it came time to Walk that Talk – that my Production Manager and our observant staff – would judge me – and her – not by the words themselves – but by my/our actions.

No Kidding.

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