Mergers Fail when Cultures Clash

William Wallace, a 13th century Scottish warrior who led the Scots in the First War of Scottish Independence yelled, “Freedom!” just before he was beheaded for treason. The attempted “merger” of Scotland with England was less than successful because the cultural differences were large enough to cause a war.

I have been involved in acquiring four companies over the past five years and while no wars have erupted, I can attest to the fact that cultural integration is the most nebulous and the most challenging. When cultures clash the hoped for synergies of an acquisition or merger disappear very quickly.

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Volunteering Keeps the Wheels of Change in Motion

Today is International Volunteer Day – declared by the United Nations to thank the many volunteers for their efforts and to increase public awareness on their contribution to society. November 29th also marked the first #GivingTuesday in the US.  This national day of giving marks the start of the annual holiday season, and celebrates and encourages charitable activities supporting non-profit organizations. I can’t think of a better time of year than at the brink of the holidays for these celebrations to occur and bring to light the need in our world . While many of us focus on our own wants that fuel typical mass consumption, it really is a time when all of us can be inspired to help the many others who need it.

Giving back doesn’t mean giving money, however. Volunteering your time and resources can make just as big an impact! Yet with 278 million people across North America, only 12.5 million Canadians actually donate their time and only 62.5 million Americans, according to Volunteer Canada and Volunteering in America. These are sobering stats given that on any given day, there are hundreds of thousands of charities and not-for-profit organizations that are in dire need of the support. [Read more...]

Who Drives Company Culture?

I have worked at Softchoice for more than 18 years and one of the things that has proven to be most elusive is to define the company culture.  Who creates company culture? Where does it come from? I recently had Myrna Ain at AchieveBlue debrief me on my impact on Softchoice Company culture using the Management Impact survey from Human Synergistics.

I was blown away by how useful the tool was. Unlike many 360 tools, this put everything in the context of how I was impacting my direct reports and how they experienced the culture of Softchoice as a result. For the first time, I could clearly see the impact I was having on the culture of Softchoice. The debrief also helped me to connect that to some of my underlying beliefs and values that drive my actions.

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How the 2004 Tsunami changed the Softchoice Brand

Paul Asseff, Nick Foster, Edwin Jansen and Scott Harper volunteering in Tangalle

The day after Christmas 2004 many of us watched in horror as pictures of the Tsunami in South East Asia filled the press. For Softchoice, it was the beginning of a different kind of wave that changed our Brand.  Softchoice today is known for its corporate giving but it wasn’t always this way.

As a company we had not been involved in any kind of organized corporate giving. But, the employees of Softchoice decided that they could do more. They decided to raise money so that we could be involved in providing help. Grass roots fundraising started, garage sales were organized, bake sales were held, hats were passed at customer golf tournaments. I can’t tell you how many other events were run – some of them raising only hundreds of dollars – however the sum total of these activities raised $85,000 to be put to use in helping those that had lost so much. [Read more...]

Pooch Profile: Charlie the Vizsla is an aspiring model/actor who loves attention, naps and peanut butter!

 

Name: Charlie “The Lover” Tegtmeyer

Age: 10 months

Breed: Vizsla (Natural-born hunters, with hearts of gold)

Owner: Karl Tegtmeyer, BD – Vendor Sales Specialist, Seattle

Charlie’s Position at Softchoice: Charlie is the office ‘nap coordinator’ and an avid ‘attention-seeker’. Everyone loves Charlie, so he expects a lot of attention on a fairly regular basis. Charlie loves to paw people, demanding that they come over to visit and spend some quality time with him.

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Putting the FUN in fundraising to help youth ‘dodge’ a lifetime of poverty

[Softchoice’s Jen Wood raised $1,425.00 to help homeless youth dodge a lifetime of poverty through a  fun game of classic schoolyard dodgeball!]

Back in April, the Softchoice Cares Board gave ‘Power 2 the People’ by encouraging employees to nominate a local charity that has impacted their lives. The Softchoice Cares Board allocated a pool of $25,000 to match every dollar raised from events held by contestants or employees who wanted to support their cause. The board also announced that the host who raised the most money and created the most engagement would receive an additional $15,000 for their chosen charity, with second place receiving $7,500 and third $2,500.

Jen Wood, a Human Resources Analyst at Softchoice in Toronto, became involved with Youth Without Shelter last year and she was introduced by a friend who was volunteering with the shelter at the time. He showed her an emotionally-charged video that featured a young man who lost everything and fell victim to a life fueled by addiction. Youth Without Shelter (YWS), a homeless shelter in Etobicoke, offered him free shelter and access to professional development workshops, tools and counselling support to help him get back on his feet. [Read more...]