For the background of this list – see my post from 2-10-12.
The #21 Rap Lyric That Shaped My Leadership Style comes from the Beastie Boys – Johnny Ryall off their 1989 Paul’s Boutique LP:
“Elvis shaved his head when he went into the Army.”
Love the Beastie’s! This quote towards the end of the song reminds me of how so many of our employees that we hire with such high hopes, fail, because we/they made decisions not to fit into the culture. Elvis was the King of Rock and Roll and he probably could have talked the Armed Forces into just about anything, because of the amount of positive press they would receive with someone like him demonstrating a positive experience of going into the service. Instead he sat down in the chair and had them shave off his famous hair.
Sometimes when you go into a new company you need to shave off your hair! “But, Tim, I’m an individual and I like my hair long! No way I’m shaving it off!” Fine – just don’t work here. If you don’t want to fit into the culture -don’t – go someplace else where the culture will embrace your long hair (by the way this post isn’t about long hair – I’m sure most of you get that – but some won’t!). The best employees come in and make efforts to fit into the culture that is established, they don’t come in and try to change the culture. One of my HR mentors once told me, “Tim, culture always wins.” You can change out every single person in a department over time, and come back a year later and that department will have the same culture it had before any of those people were there.
Don’t hang on to employees who are working against your culture – it never ends well – you’re frustrated, they’re frustrated – move on. You might not have the best culture, but one employee, working against your average culture, isn’t going to make it better – it’s going to make it worse. Fit in first, then work within the culture to make it better.
Culture always wins. Shave your head.