SPOILER ALERT: The following is “insider information” about one of our most time-honored traditions at Communispace. This tradition is a surprise to new employees, so if you’re hoping to get hired, you may not want to read this.
“We have a tradition here at Communispace…”
At your first Communispace staff meeting, you are met with this line followed by a proposition, “Either you can sing us a song or we will sing you a song.” As is most often the case, the new hires pass on singing and are instead serenaded by all of us. We sing a song to a familiar tune (e.g., “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”) with the lyrics changed to welcome the new staffers to Communispace.
Singing is by no means our best trait as a company, but it’s something we do. Like we say to new staffers, “It’s a tradition.” Good and bad singers all, we make the effort.
And something magical always happens when people sing. They smile. They feel connected to the person next to them, and to the person next to them. Quite literally, there is something that fills the air when people sing.
I am by no means one of the great singers here. But, as a company, we probably have a much higher than average talent pool of vocalists. With that said, I still try. If for no other reason than it’s better than not trying. For a moment I set aside my reservations and the idea that “I can’t sing” and just sing.
So why am I, the dorky guy who writes about strategy and stuff, writing about singing at staff meetings? Because strategy is about the choices we make. And to choose to sing is to embrace the culture and to lead by example.
See, “culture” and “leadership” get thrown around too often without truly being practiced. Ultimately, culture is about what you value and leadership is how other people see you value it. So when we sing here, we’re demonstrating that we value the shared experience of working with one another at the same time we are leading others by example.
Am I drinking the company Kool-Aid? Am I kissing up to our CEO (who is not a half bad singer herself, I might add)? Sure I am. But embracing it all—finding the love in your jobs and in your co-workers, in your customers—is a lot better than being against it all.
We spend too much of our lives at work not to smile, not to try to love our jobs as much as we can, not to feel connected to the people next to us or to our customers. So sing. Or smile. But whatever you do, embrace it… and show others that you do.