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Apr 15, 201309:02 AMMind Your Business

with Corey Chambas

Would you pass the ‘beer test’?

(page 1 of 2)

I missed my last blog, as my mom recently passed away. One thing I will share with you is that my mom was truly the nicest person I ever met. That was obviously a wonderful thing for me throughout my life, and I hope at least a little of the niceness rubbed off on me. I think it helped me prosper work-wise, specifically at my current company. That’s because our company’s personality is one of being “nice.” That may sound biased, but being nice is not always the best corporate personality to have.

Nice works for companies like First Business because we’re in the service sector where personal relationships are critical for success. However, being nice would not be the best personality for Apple. Instead, being innovative would be more advantageous. At places like Walmart or Menards, it would be something like being frugal or efficient.

As you think about what your corporate personality should be, keep in mind there’s a potential downside for every personality’s strength. For example, being nice sounds wonderful, but if you are too nice, there can be issues with accountability. This is the analogous issue at a corporate level that I discussed in my last blog, “Strength or weakness?

So how do you apply these concepts at your organization? An important step is to make sure those who are involved in hiring understand your company’s personality and focus on hiring people whose personalities fit. At our company, we have something I call the “beer test.” When we interview someone and I’m not sure about the fit, I ask, “Is this somebody you’d want to have a beer with after work?” I remember one time asking the hiring supervisor the “beer test” question about someone she wanted to hire. Her answer, after a long pause, was, “No, not really.” I then asked, “Then why would you want to work with them eight-plus hours a day?”

Apr 22, 2013 10:54 am
 Posted by  AnnB

Corey,
I agree with what you are saying. I recently sold my Holiday Inn hotel in Madison. In the past I attended many seminars and events related to hotels. At holiday inn training, each person was asked to fill in the blank, "Stay ______". You may be familiar with the national ads that have Stay Impressed, Stay Smart, etc." I chose Stay Fun as my chosen description. Shouldn't work be fun. If it is not, it is just work. We all do things we don't particulary enjoy, but overall, we find fulfillment in our jobs. I think the beer test is a great way to insure a culture of fun and niceness. Thanks for sharing.
AnnStauffacher Becker
Kollege Town Corporate Sales

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About This Blog

Corey Chambas has over 25 years of business experience. He is the President and CEO of First Business Financial Services, Inc., serves as a director of several of First Business’ companies, is a board member of M3 Insurance Solutions, an advisory board member of Bellbrook Labs and Aldine Capital Fund, and a member of the Strategic Issues Campaign Committee for the United Way of Dane County.

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