Lisa Donohue, CEO of Starcom USA
Courtesy of Lisa Donohue

If you want to have a successful career choose a company based on its culture.

By Lisa Donohue
February 19, 2015

MPW Insider is an online community where the biggest names in business and beyond answer timely career and leadership questions. Today’s answer for: What is one piece of advice all millennials should take before entering the workforce? is written by Lisa Donohue, CEO of Starcom USA.

People often ask me about my professional path; to identify the key moments, or moves, that made a difference in leading me to the role I have today. In today’s business world it’s often seen as the norm to leap from one company to the next every few years in search of professional growth, a new title or a bigger salary.

But that’s not my story. Although it may seem counterintuitive to most, I often advise others to choose their next job based solely on the company’s culture. Yes, the title they offer may intrigue you and the salary may be persuasive. But, it’s the values and culture of an organization that will prove if this is a place that will provide a path for future success.

I’ve been with the same organization since the day I began my career. I found a company with a culture that allowed me to thrive, take risks and break boundaries. It’s a culture that continues to offer limitless opportunities to learn, grow and work in multiple roles. Equally important, I found a company that is not afraid to make bold moves and constantly reinvent itself for the future. This is critical. In doing so, I actually work for a very different company than the one I joined more than 25 years ago, and I am proud to have been part of the evolution.

Whether you plan to be with an organization for one year or 10, it’s important to be in an environment that aligns with your desires and values. Here are some important questions to ask yourself before joining a company:

  • Do I believe in the purpose of the company? Do I understand how my role – even if entry-level – connects to the overall purpose of the company?
  • In addition to being purpose-driven, is this an organization that is performance-driven? Will my success and career trajectory be directly tied to my effort?
  • What kind of feedback can I count on? Does this company believe in continuous and transparent communication, or will I be left to guess where I stand?
  • Will my work make me happier? Will my personal life be able to enrich what I do at work?
  • Is this an organization that’s willing to invest in me?

 
If the culture you identify can do these things, then you’ve found a winner. Always remember that you are in control of your career and how satisfied you are in your job. Take accountability to create your own path; don’t leave that up to anyone else.

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