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Are You Corporate Material?
When you think of a corporate environment, do you think of three-piece suits, power ties, dress shoes and a leather briefcase? That is a stereotypical description of a corporate employee, and for many organizations, it is an accurate description. In reality, there are a wide range of corporate and organizational environments out there, and each is filled with many different types of employees.

With so many different possible corporate environments, how can you determine which one(s) are a good fit for your personality?

What Is "Corporate" Material?
The phrase "corporate material" covers a wide range of characteristics and attributes that typical employees in a particular organization will possess. It relates to personality types, motivators, work patterns, management styles, communication styles, structural preferences and interpersonal styles. To determine if you are a good fit for a particular corporate environment - "corporate material" for that unique organization - you need to evaluate some common organizational attributes.

Organizational Attributes
What are organizational attributes? They can be tangible, measurable things as well as intangible, intrinsic characteristics of a company. Some attributes arise out of business needs while others arise out of a company's history, leadership, and historical experiences.

Some of the most common organizational attributes include:

Location - Where a company is located is a very important attribute. An organization located in New York City will have far different characteristics than one located in Dallas, Texas, or Missoula, Montana. Different characteristics are often seen within a single company when there are branch offices in different locations.

Structure - The structure of an organization can influence its attributes as well. One that is large and hierarchical tends to appeal to a different type of employee than one that is smaller and more egalitarian. Still another type of employee is attracted to a small business or a start-up company.

Creativity - Organizations encourage and support differing amounts of creativity within their ranks. A power plant or road construction company will probably foster less creativity in employees than an advertising agency or a magazine.

Freedom - Some organizations allow their employees a great deal of flexibility and freedom. They may have flexible work hours, self-directed goals, telecommuting opportunities, or an "open door" atmosphere that allows any employee to talk to the CEO or senior management. Other companies have strict rules and business processes that dictate performance goals, office hours, communication standards and such.

Regimen - A very regimented organization will have steady, predictable activities that do not vary greatly from one day or month to another, while another organization may have activities that change and evolve depending on conditions, business needs, or some other factors.

How Do You Know What Type of Corporate Material You Are?
The fact is, only you can answer this question. Take an honest look at yourself and do a thorough self-assessment. What are your preferences for working conditions, work environment, corporate personality and organizational culture?

A good place to start is by responding to reliable and valid personality or behavioral profile. Keep in mind that the results you get back are indicators of your general preferences and personality type. You will then need to determine how your preferences integrate with corporate culture that you are considering entering.

Use the results of the personality assessment, combined with your own self-knowledge, to make a list of the corporate attributes that match your preferences. Look through the common attributes listed above and think of any others that resonate with you.

Once you have experienced this type of process, you will be well on the way to determining what kind of "corporate material" you really are.

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