Softchoice Cares: Does aid really make a difference? [Video]

The first week of February marks International Development Week (IDW) – a time to explore and celebrate the difference volunteers are making around the world. In honor of this year’s event, Softchoice Cares – an employee-led philanthropic program focused on furthering computer literacy – has produced a video documentary of their 2012 trip to Bali. The team’s mission was to install new computer labs on behalf of seven Balinese orphanages managed by the Widhya Asih Foundation. But as the group learned, a ‘hand-out’ isn’t necessarily the same as a ‘hand-up’. [Read more…]

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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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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Recognition at Softchoice:The Fashionable Side of Employee Rewards

The history of the necktie traces back to 1618. During the 30 Year War, pieces of cloth worn around the necks of Croatian mercenaries caught the eye of Parisians. They dubbed it the “cravat” and a fashion craze exploded. Softchoice has taken the necktie fashion craze even further…not only with a jacket, but by fashioning it into one of the company’s most prestigious sales awards – the Softchoice Tie Jacket Award.

So where did such a crazy idea come from?  [Read more…]

How 115 Softchoice Employees Gave Back to a Costa Rican Community

At one point in our lives, we’ve heard someone utter the phrase – “It’s better to give, than to receive.”  Kathleen Simard, Softchoice Outbound Sales Rep in Atlanta recalls her mother saying this to her as a child. However, it wasn’t until her recent trip to Costa Rica when those words rang true for Kathleen and really came to life.

As one of 115 recipients of Softchoice’s President’s Club award, Kathleen ventured to the beautiful country of Costa Rica to celebrate with the company’s best of the best. And while the top performers in the organization were there to celebrate a year’s worth of accomplishments, they achieved something even greater in just one day in Costa Rica. In the spirit of Softchoice Cares, our employees took time to give back to the local community and assembled and presented 50 local school children with brand new bicycles, backpacks full of school items and new desks! [Read more…]

A Healthy Culture Breeds Competitive Advantage

“I have never experienced a company quite like Softchoice when it came to company culture. No other company has ever so clearly expressed the values that it was all about.  I thought that it might be fun to profile / highlight Softchoice for the article, which is what brings me to you. :-)”

This appeared in my inbox a few weeks ago from an old Softchoice colleague  Lisa Sperow.  It made me a little nostalgic for “the old days” but it also made me think…. We believe that culture is something that sets Softchoice apart and Lisa – who is now a writer and small business coach – wanted me to boil it down for her to share with the readers of her blog. [Read more…]