Movember…Remember to Unshave the Date!

by Joe Reardon

Have you ever wondered about the story behind the infamous month of “Movember?” I certainly have…and I’ll jump into that in a minute.

Like no time ever before, business leaders are focusing on developing corporate cultures that promote environments where people actually look forward to going to work. I consider myself extremely fortunate to work for a company that has found a key to that success. This is being accomplished by leadership creating an environment of being in the service of others. The bottom-line is that the time devoted to events that are genuinely focused on this mission, create 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.

One of our initiatives includes partnering with Dress for Success, the local chapter of a national NFP dedicated to working with women transitioning back into the workforce. This week, we hosted a half-day workshop with program participants that focused on developing interviewing skills. The satisfaction derived from all participants created a level of energy that permeated the entire organization. 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.

Last week, our office celebrated Halloween with a costume contest where we had almost 100% participation. Albeit, some were more transitional than others to accommodate changing back into business attire to attend meetings scheduled throughout the day. During the conversation while gathered for a potluck (and award ceremony) later in the day, a colleague suggested participation in the Movember initiative. It didn’t take long before we had a 100% commitment from all those capable of growing facial hair. Other than the general theme of raising male cancer awareness, I have to admit a bit of ignorance regarding the full meaning behind Movember, and felt compelled to conduct a bit of due diligence.

If I wasn’t going to shave for a month, I wanted to understand why.

Movember, a combination of the words Moustache and November, is an annual, month-long event for the growing of moustaches (and beards) during the month of November to raise awareness of prostate cancer and other male cancer, as well as 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 1990’s. 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 moustache 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 2012, 1.1 million people registered to participate, raising more than $95 million. 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 481 million 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. Earlier this week, a colleague shared with me a list of 25 popular quotes, and have to say the following resonates the most for me:

“Choose a job that you like, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”  – Confucius

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