“Movember,” Company Culture, and What it All Really Means
November 6, 2019
It’s that time of year again—more and more seemingly disheveled men sporting scraggly beards are walking around mispronouncing November. We’re only a week into the month, but maybe you’re already wondering what this whole “Movember” thing is really about. I know I was a few years ago, and we’ll clear up what it all means after a few thoughts on what company culture means today.
We hear more and more about the importance of a company’s culture, the value of creating a genuine environment at work that has people looking forward to showing up every day, and how it can positively impact nearly every facet of an organization. I consider myself extremely fortunate to work for a company that has truly found success in that endeavor. Our leadership accomplishes this by reinforcing a culture where we are consistently and vehemently in service to others. The bottom line is that the time devoted to events that are sincerely focused on this mission creates a contagious spirit of goodwill that influences behavior, and behavior creates genuine core values. In turn, this translates into employees who truly enjoy being at work, and we all know what that means…happy people are more productive, and the collaborative synergy that is created translates directly into success for the entire organization.
“Community Focused” is one of Versique’s core value and a couple of our partners include Dress for Success and BestPrep. Dress for success is the local chapter of a national NFP dedicated to working with women transitioning back into the workforce, and BestPrep is a Minnesota-based nonprofit that provides educational programs to prepare students who are college-prepared, work-ready and career-bound. Last week, I and several fellow Versiqueians, conducted mock interviews at Wayzata High School in order to help prepare seniors when interviewing for internships. Our corporate culture influences continued behavior consistent with the mission of being in the service of others and is the direct result of company-sponsored events.
Okay, back to Movember now and we’ll tie this all together.
Celebrating Halloween is a big deal at our office and our infamous costume contest has always enjoyed 100% participation. This year was no exception and was by far was the most flamboyant. We wanted to piggy-back off of this high level of employee engagement created by Halloween, so we had a meeting to discuss continued participation of the Movember event. During the meeting to discuss participation in the Movember initiative, I wanted to share with others the background on how it all started. So, I gathered Clark Kent, Popeye, Cruella de Vil, and the other festive gentleman in the office and I gave them an introduction into the cause, all while dressed up Mrs. Doubtfire, I’ll admit (which later took first place in the office-wide contest, thank you very much!). It didn’t take long before every costumed listener was ready to eagerly vow to not shave for the whole month of November.
So, we all agreed not to shave for a month, but why?
Movember, a combination of the words mustache and November, is an annual, month-long event for the growing of mustaches (and beards if you can) during the month of November to raise awareness for prostate cancer and other male cancers, as well as their associated charities. The Movember Foundation sponsors the Movember charity event, with the goal of changing the face of men’s health issues.
As you may have guessed, the idea was born in a pub, sometime during the late 1990s. By 1999, about 80 men from South Australia had formed a locally based “Movember Committee” and the event soon became a nation-wide phenomenon. In 2004, an unrelated group organized an event where 30 men would grow a mustache for 30 days to raise awareness for prostate cancer and depression in men. This group would later become the Movember Foundation charity. A few years later in 2007, the Foundation launched events in 11 countries throughout South Africa, Europe, and North America, including the United States. In 2010, participants in the United States alone raised over $7.5 million and in 2018, more than $100 million was raised by over 320,000 participants. If really motivated, you can participate in the Moscars and the International Man of Movember. For additional information and related links, go to www.movember.com.
I realize this blog has taken a few different turns, so let’s bring it home. I just Googled “corporate culture” and got over 2.1 BILLION results. Needless to say, it’s a popular topic and gets a lot of attention. In reality, like most things, less is more and simple is better. Creating a genuine corporate culture that fosters a strategically intended environment and influences behavior is only possible when leadership keeps it simple and provides an environment for its employees promoting events consistent with genuine core values. None of this is possible without hiring the right people, which is an entirely separate subject matter for another blog. To sign off, I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes that always resonates with me this time of year:
“Choose a job that you like, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” – Confucius