CEO Summit: CorPorate culture

Nancy Harvey

Nancy Harvey’s first passion did not lie in technology companies. Rather, it was rooted in science. Specifically, she became interested in the peoples and cultures of remote aborigines around the globe.

Nancy’s experiences have allowed her to bridge the scientific world with the aboriginal in a unique way — one that allows us to think about corporate culture and communications differently, inspiring action.

In her talk, Nancy argued that corporate communication is oftentimes treated as benign and simple.

However, it is quite the opposite, and can have an outsized impact on culture. She presented the following three essential truths to support that idea:

1. There is no resonance in white noise. Today, we are communicating more than we ever have in the history of mankind. Is your communication resonant, or is it merely distributed? A resonant wave gains power and strength. It gains volume and amplitude. Is your culture resonant, or is it lost in white noise?  If it’s resonant, you’re gaining power. If it’s stuck in the white noise, it’s losing po
2. Culture is not espresso and rollerblades. We do not grunt and growl. Perks are nice, but they’re empty calories. They create the illusion of corporate culture. If your corporate culture is truly important to success of your company, you should care deeply about how corporate communications are reflected. We are humans, and we communicate with speech. How do you communicate your culture in a way that is clear and unequivocal?
3. Communication is your best performance lever. It is your fiscal differentiator, driving the performance of your company. Every day, in every way, you are faced with many challenges and opportunities for how you spend your time and how you execute. The single most significant way to transform your company is through effective communications. If you miss your quarter, if you’ve lost an employee, or if an investor has failed to materialize, it’s likely that you’re under investing in corporate communications and building your corporate culture.

The second law of thermodynamics says: you are on an inevitable path towards chaos because entropy rules. It is far easier to create heat, than light. Ergo, Nancy emphasized, step up, embrace your inner shaman, and communicate now.

After her session, Nancy and the group discussed the importance of companies holding themselves to a high standard of performance regarding communication. Communication deserves the same level of attention and dedication as filing taxes and abiding by SEC regulations. The key to communication is understanding that it’s easy to talk, but difficult to listen and respond.

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EF CEO Summit

Presented by Rackspace

The CEO Summit is an ongoing series designed to support Austin-area CEOs in strategic, high-impact areas of their business. These invite-only events bring together CEOs from ventures of all stages to share tips and unusually candid advice based on real experiences.

For the first CEO Summit, held this spring at Austin's Capital Factory, we asked six executives to share their insights on CORPORATE CULTURE. Successful corporate cultures are key in attracting and retaining the best talent, promoting innovation and driving performance. As the stewards of corporate culture, CEOs must understand better than anyone else what promotes great culture, and what doesn’t.

The CEO Summit is organized by the Entrepreneurs Foundation of Central Texas, and is made possible through the generosity of companies like Rackspace and the Capital Factory.