Esprit de Corps; a culture built for mission accomplishment.
There is a French term that most Americans have never heard of. It’s called Esprit de Corps. Literally translated, it means, “the spirit of the group”. What it means is that there is a feeling in the culture of any collection of individuals that is affected by each one and that each is responsible for maintaining. Everyone in the organization comes into it each knowing the high expectations, history, heroes, and legends of the group. Each wishes to uphold the group’s traditions and each wishes not damage the reputation or morale of such an organization. They are motivated by one another and try harder not to let other members of the group down. When a culture such as this exists it’s expected average level of performance is above the normal for others like it. The normal is inferior and, when everyone is on board, you have an outstanding organization. You have a place where others will sacrifice their own time and resources to raise others. Esprit de Corps is the force that drives culture.
The Marines have a saying. The Marine Corps is a perfect organization made up of imperfect people. That is the level of respect each individual Marine has for their organization and when you have that level of fanaticism, you start to see each of them drive each other that much harder. If you’re that hiring manager, probably work for an imperfect organization and you surely know some imperfect people that work their. Vets aren’t perfect, by any means. I’m not saying they are, but they have experienced powerful cultures. Culture is what drives a company, far more so than leaders. Leaders will fail. They will grow and leave. They will become sick. They will make mistakes. They will die. Culture will never stop working for you. That is, it will never stop working for you, or working against you. What you need to do is get people who have experienced a strong working culture, maybe even a few who can lead that culture and get it spread around. It’s only when a team, or even a whole company works to the point that the individuals work for reasons other than themselves, for more than themselves, that you see explosive growth. More than that, it’s how you ensure long-term organizational success, regardless of leadership, regardless of temporary slumps in the economy, regardless of any storms which the company endures.
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