the “new” corporate culture

Recently, I’ve read a lot about social media and how companies are using this to change their ways.  The old standard of a corporation being a one-way channel of communication (ie: they speak to us through advertising but there’s no hope for us speaking to them) is starting to dissolve into a new norm.  Thanks to social media (ie: Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, etc.), our voice is shared amongst all those we associate with, giving it much greater power and volume.  Companies wanting to stay fresh and current have a responsibility to listen to and respond to that feedback (positive and negative).

Is any of this a big surprise, though?  If you think of human relationships, it has to go both ways.  We need to listen to the other as much as we speak, otherwise we’re not in a valued relationship.  The false notion that this doesn’t apply to companies has been dismissed now that we have a powerful enough tool to communicate back to these companies, and this is requiring a whole new level of honesty and humility on the part of very large and powerful companies (think Walmart, McDonalds and Pepsi).

It’s one thing to simply listen, but if the content of that message is negative it requires humility and enough introspection to respond in a way that betters yourself and your relationships.  Now that the “flood-gates” are open to a whole new level of communication, we’re all charged with becoming better listeners and more aware of ourselves so that we can grow (regardless of whether “we” are a person or a company).

good luck? bad luck? maybe.

It’s been a while (sorry for that), but I wanted to return with an old Zen Buddhist story:

The Farmers’ Luck

There is an old farmer who had worked his crops for many long years.  One day his horse ran away.  Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit.  “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically.

“Maybe,” the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses.  “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed.

“Maybe,” the farmer replied.

The following day, the farmers’ son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown off, and broke his leg.  The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy.  “How unfortunate,” they said.

“Maybe,” the farmer replied.

The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army.  Seeing the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by.  The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.

“Maybe,” the farmer replied

This story is very applicable to each of us, especially when times seem difficult.  We can never know if something is a good thing or a bad thing, as surprising results can come from anything.  God works in His own way and can bless tragic situations in a way that you couldn’t have imagined.  The important thing is that we withhold judgment of an event or a challenge and simply carry on.  Just like the farmer, continue to just be.