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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

What Ebenezer Scrooge Would Like Us to Know About Organizational Culture

Written by  Duane Bailey

In Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” the story opens on a dark and bleak Christmas Eve, at the counting office of Scrooge and his deceased partner, Jacob Marley. Ebenezer Scrooge is introduced as a lonely and miserly old man who lacks kindness, generosity and compassion for others. He balks at giving his overworked employee, Bob Cratchit, paid time off for Christmas Day. While it’s easy for the reader to see how unhealthy this culture might be to an organization, it is not readily apparent to Mr. Scrooge.

As the story unfolds, Scrooge receives visits from four ghosts – Jacob Marley, Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Future – who accompany him to various scenes from his life. In each scene, he is allowed to step back and observe his actions and the impact they have on others. Only after glimpsing a preview of his own woeful legacy and dark fate does Scrooge decide to transform his life, embracing kindness, generosity and compassion.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the importance of delivering your brand promise to non-customers. In many ways, I was speaking about the relationship between your brand promise and your organizational culture. Organizations, for example, who claim to value and appreciate their customers must first value and appreciate their employees.  As Ebenezer Scrooge discovered, for those who may have lost sight of this reality, it’s never too late to change.  We simply need to step back and take a look at how our actions are impacting those around us. We then need to ask if they are consistent with the way in which we want others to perceive us.

Now take a step back. Think about your organization and its culture. How would you describe it? More importantly, how would your employees describe it? Is it consistent with your brand promise? If not, what actions can you take to change it in the new year?

Duane Bailey

Duane Bailey

Duane Bailey is a regular contributor to The Chief Storyteller® online conversation. He has helped organizations of all sizes drive growth in revenues and market share through the development and delivery of key business messages that resonate with target audiences. He holds an MBA in International Business and a BS in Marketing. He brings 28 years of experience in marketing communications and high technology sales.

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