Photo by OakleyOriginals via Flickr
In "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead" an Australian who has discovered the health benefits of juicing crisscrosses the U.S. to evangelize.
He stops at a diner and talks to two fellow middle-aged men and a teen. They are eating as they talk.
One of the other men says that health food is irrelevant to him. Adding more years to his already lousy life - and losing out on good food - is just not that appetizing.
Was he unhappy because of his personal life or his job? Who knows if one can even separate them.
Once a few years ago I met my aunt for lunch. She is a psychologist and had treated some people suffering from post-traumatic work stress disorder. she told me: People vastly underestimate how a bad work environment affects one's personal life and ability to function.
Based on what I see, hear and read, workplace cultures are a lot like families and farms: They need active and ongoing intervention to fix and maintain.
Internal branding is thus much more difficult than external branding:
1. People tend to think of it superficially - literally as logos or taglines or email signatures. So it is a challenge to get them to see that these things are just the tip of the iceberg.
2. People tend to act badly toward one another at work. That is just a fact. And too often these bullies are not only feared, but also promoted.
3. People tend not to take workplace culture seriously until there is a crisis.
When Adam, at Eve's prompting, ate from the Tree of Knowledge, God punished both of them. Adam's foretold suffering involved work specifically:
"By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread." (See Genesis 3:17-19)
Gradually God is lifting this sentence and humanity is becoming enlightened: Work success need not mean killing ourselves or each other. Just the opposite.
In the meantime though it seems foolish to set employee expectations very high.
Branding equals making a promise and then keeping it, even when it's hard.
So say what you mean, and then stick to it.