East Coast Vs. West Coast

By: Lisa Marie Koebcke

CNBC recently released article about East Coast versus West Coast corporate culture in the financial and IT industry. Author Michelle Fox (@MFoxCNBC) examined the question of who treats workers better: Silicon Valley or Wall Street? The article was triggered by recent reports of suicides from workers on Wall Street. Perhaps the most interesting point Fox makes is that on Wall Street, the culture tends to be “every man for themselves,” with employees focusing on their individual performance as an indicator of success.

In Silicon Valley, company objectives are clear, and each individual understands their responsibility in achieving “success”. In the latter model, support is made available when needed because everyone is striving to reach the same end-goal.

Sam Wholley, a partner at San Francisco-based recruiting firm, was interviewed in the article stated in reference to Wall Street, “…if the financial industry wants to continue to attract top talent from across the country, it will have to change its ways.”

Now, this post is not about the topic of suicide (although it is extremely tragic) or about the industries focused on in the article. This post is simply about recognizing that a shift needs to take place that encourages businesses to lead with integrity and not with fear. Creating a corporate culture that places a strong emphasis on the fear of being laid off or the fear of not reaching key performance indicators (KPIs) does not promote top-performance.

To bring out the best in your team, we believe the following practices are important:

  1. Value your team members: Instead of letting your employees know how disposable they are, let them know what they do specifically that contributes to the growth of the company.
  2. Communicate: You can’t assume your team knows the direction your business is headed unless you communicate. If you want to ensure a certain financial goal or launch a new product, be clear of who is responsible for what so as a team, everyone can have each other’s back.
  3. Ask for feedback: It is easy to get caught up in finding out how you get what you want from your team. Take a few minutes each week to check in with your crew and ask what they need from you. You may be surprised how big of an impact this makes.

What do you do as a business owner that achieves results in your company? We would love to hear! Post your thoughts on our Twitter or Facebook account at #pulseculture.