I was recently struck by the question of what makes us Americans.
Beyond simply being born here, I believe it is the shared values and sense of destiny that binds us. As someone who immigrated to the US, I had to learn about our history, civics, and culture and pass a test before gaining citizenship.
For those born here, our history and civics are taught at school. All this leads to a strong sense of community, shared values, and loyalty for country. It is what motivates our brave servicemen and women to serve our country and for some to make the ultimate sacrifice.
What lessons can be learned from this in the corporate world?
Companies expect much from their employees, to adhere to their culture and ethical standards, be loyal and dedicated to the common cause. They expect them to be their best and reflect well on the company.
If companies expect this based on a transactional view that “we employ you, you perform”, why should employees produce more beyond their understanding of the transactional value? It is the joining of community, shared history, culture and more that lead to a deeper connection and commitment.
We believe that a critical element missing today is the sense of history. How the firm was founded, the sacrifice of those that came before, the innovation championed and the vision embraced.
For firms with longer histories this can be a critical asset, a deep well of strength, and when crisis hit the problems can be more honestly dealt with, within the broader context of their existence. For employees, knowledge of the predecessors can be inspiring and inculcate a culture of maintaining the standards of excellence.
In the Military, history is profoundly important. For the Marine Corps, their marching hymn “From the Halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli” carries the memories of the bravery of earlier Marines. No Marine wants to be the one that let the side down! It has nothing to do with the modest pay!
In a world that is changing at warp speed, maybe a company’s history can be a profound tool to enrich corporate culture, inspire behavior, and build loyalty beyond the call of duty.
Do you need a way to creatively display or express your corporate history and values?
The experts at Keith Lipert Corporate Gifts can help.