Skip to main content

When Corporate Culture Impacts Families!

By Stephen C. Schultz

The sun glanced off the window and reflected at a strange angle to the floor and up the wall. As I looked outside, it was obvious that spring had arrived. There were bright green leaves having recently unfolded on the shrubs outside. Tulips and Hyacinths stretched upward, bending occasionally in the cool canyon breeze.

The boxed lunch from a local deli that included a ham sandwich on rye bread with potato chips, a cookie and a pickle stared back at me. There was the regular lunch time discussion with the laughter that rises up and then fades just as quickly. The room consisted of a large mahogany conference table with twelve plush captain’s chairs. The chairs were full of colleagues, all of us eating lunch after a morning training session.

We were the sales and marketing team from two private psychiatric hospitals. We had gathered at this particular location because Melody was in town training us on the latest skills associated with Professional Sales Skills (PSS), the State of the Art sales system put out by Time Life Corporation in the early 1980’s.

Melody was in her mid thirties and wore a slender charcoal grey suit/skirt. She had blonde shoulder length hair and spoke with a southern accent. She was the corporate regional trainer and flew out the night before from Macon Georgia specifically to meet with us.

The conversation around the table started to subside. Our 1:00pm start time soon passed and before we knew it, 1:35pm had come and gone. A small chorus of questions started to build as people wondered where Melody was. I stood and poked my head out the door. I caught the eye of Kathy, the Executive Secretary to the CEO of the hospital.

I whispered; “Where’s Melody? We've been waiting for a while now and she hasn’t come back from lunch.”

Kathy glanced at me with a mixed look of horror and sadness. “Oh…I am so sorry! No one told you? Melody got a call at about 12:15 pm from corporate. She was let go and she is on her way to the airport.”

This experience made an impact on me early in my career. It’s an experience I have never forgotten. I have no idea if Melody was really any good at her job, or why it was felt to be necessary to fire her over the phone. There was a lot I didn’t know about “Corporate” and why they did the things they did.

I did know one thing about “Corporate”. Whenever we heard they were coming to town there was a collective groan. No one ever looked forward to “Corporate” making a visit. Routines were disrupted. Stress levels increased. Schedules were changed and once they were gone, things slowly got back to “Normal”.

At this point in my life, I might be considered a “seasoned” professional on the downhill side of my career. As our organization has grown, one might conclude that my office is at “Corporate” headquarters. However, ours is not a corporate setting that encourages the use of that term. In fact, we actively discourage it. We are not an organization of “Top Down” directives and impersonal memo’s. Yet, there is a feeling of accountability across all of our treatment programs.

Ours is an organization that doesn’t fit the norm in modern day corporate circles. We don’t aspire to have “Corporate Titles” that espouse a certain hierarchy or position. Ours is an organization of "Individually Branded" treatment programs as opposed to a "Branded Organization" of individual treatment programs. To many, this may be a silly distinction that seems like semantics. However, it’s an important distinction that directly impacts culture of a program. The culture of any treatment program directly impacts the care and success of the students, clients, patients and families of those that are receiving that care.

Our leadership recognizes that the caring and compassionate interaction between therapists, teachers, families and the direct care staff happens at the program level. This is where the healing takes place and families’ lives are changed.

While no professional organization or work environment is perfect, (simply because it has humans involved) there are some work and treatment environments that are better than others.  If you are a parent or allied health professional, it’s important for you to explore treatment options for your family or clients.

It is important to remember that the culture of any organization is a direct reflection of those in leadership positions.

There is also the old treatment saying; “Kids don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”


denver-tour said…
You've provided some very useful information. I'm glad I came into this article because it provides a lot of important information. Thank you for sharing this storey with us. things to do in Denver

Popular posts from this blog

The Young Boy and the Rattlesnake

By Stephen C. Schultz (Editors note: This is a story used in a Wilderness Treatment Program for Young Adults . Many come to this program having struggled with substance abuse and interacting with unsavory friends.)   Many years ago there was a young Native American who lived in the very land you are residing in. He decided to seek wisdom by journeying to the top of Indian Peak. As he approached the base of the mountain he came across a rattlesnake that slithered beside him. The snake coiled as if to strike and the young boy moved back quickly in fear of being struck by the snake’s deadly venom. At that instant the snake spoke to the boy saying, “Don’t be afraid of me, I mean you no harm. I come to you to ask a favor. I see that you are about to traverse to the top of Indian Peak and was hoping that you may be willing to place me in your satchel so that I don’t have to make the long journey alone.” The young boy surprised by the snake’s request quickly responded b

Navigating the Highway of Healthy Communication

By Stephen C. Schultz “I was on the road in my car last week. It was a long stretch of highway where it is easy for your speed to creep up. I looked in the review mirror and saw blue and red flashing lights. I watched as the right hand of the officer extended to lift a microphone to his mouth. He was obviously running my plates. I glanced at my driver’s side mirror and observed as his door opened and he stepped around the edge of the door and closed it with a single, fluid motion. In a cautious and calculated manner, with his right hand resting about hip high on his revolver and his left hand carrying some paper, he was at my door in ten easy strides.” Ok…now that you have read that first paragraph, what are you feeling? Did reading that stir any emotions? Could you relate to my experience? How many of you are smiling? You’ve been there…right? You know the feeling. Often there is dread. Sometimes there is fear. Most times there is frustration because you were just goin

Video Games, Anxiety and ADHD - Free Family Resources

 By Stephen C. Schultz Video Games, Anxiety and ADHD - Is there a common theme? Aloft Transitions Home for Young Adults This is simply a complimentary resource guide for parents of teens and young adults who struggle with ADHD, Anxiety and Gaming. ADHD:   • Russell Barkley,  Taking Charge of ADHD • Hallowell & Ratey,  Delivered from Distraction • Harvey Parker,  The ADD Hyperactivity Workbook for Parents, Teachers, & Kids • Bradley & Giedd,  Yes, Your Teen Is Crazy!: Loving Your Kid Without Losing Your  Mind  • Gurian, Michael,  The Minds of Boys Saving Our Sons from Falling Behind in School and  Life, 2005. • Hanna, Mohab,  Making the Connection: A Parents’ Guide to Medication in AD/HD •  (Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) • • (American Academy of Pediatrics) • (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry) Young Adult caring for new baby calf Anxiety: The following websites