Company culture and cotton farming: success depends on seed, soil and yield

Kelly Haddock
Feb 23, 2017 · 3 min read

I’ve worked with Metis Communications for almost three years — and I’ve lived in a farming community in southwest Georgia for all of them. To this day, it amazes me how similar some aspects of farming are to my job in PR.

Cotton is one of our main crops in the fall, and the “south Georgia snow” is on the ground right now. Those white cotton fields are so pretty against a blue sky, and at night when the moonlight hits them, it’s breathtaking. When I worked for an agriculture company early in my career and later married into a farming family, I learned quickly that there are so many types of cotton seed varieties to choose from. (As an outsider, I’d assumed there was probably just one.)

Choosing the right variety of seed for your field determines the profitability of your farm. It’s a similar to the process of hiring employees that are the right fit for your company.

On a farm, ROI starts with the right soil

One of the most badass things about Metis is the company’s core values. It’s the foundation on which Metis is based, from which we learn and grow every single day — our values are our “soil.” On a farm, soil type is extremely important when choosing a cotton seed variety. You need to consider: what is the soil’s pH? What is its texture? Is it sandy or clay? Is it irrigated? Can a certain seed type “adapt” to your soil?

Metis’ strength comes from the many different personalities working together within this company, all of whom share common goals. When our executive team and hiring committee interview potential candidates and look for the next Metis rock star, just like when a farmer is deciding which variety of seed to plant in a field, we’re looking for someone that will share our values and use them every day to learn and grow.

Why farmers (and employers) go all in on high-yield crops

Yield is another important factor when choosing a cotton seed variety for a farm. How productive are those seeds going to be? Are the farmers going to get back what they put into the cotton field, and then some?

At Metis, we have a culture declaration: Everyone is ALL IN. We encourage each other to go above and beyond for our clients and do our best work ever, which drives our team members to yield successful results. Imagine planting a field generally consisting of one seed variety, plus two or three rows of another variety with a lower yield. Common sense tells you that you are not going to get the same overall results as you would with an entire field of the high-yield variety. Similarly, when employees aren’t team players or don’t thrive in the pace of an agency environment, the team’s overall productivity can change.

Just like a farmer carefully picks a particular seed type, company executives choose candidates they know will be a fit for their company, culture and values. At Metis, we have a list of characteristics in mind for applicants most likely to flourish once “planted” in the soil that is the company. Doing this work up front pays off: a fully mature, high-yield cotton field makes for a happy farmer. A team that works together and yields results for its clients is a recipe for a successful group of individuals.

This article originally appeared on the Metis Communications blog.

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Kelly Haddock

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Work (very) remotely in PR from SWGA. Wife to Buster, mom to Carter, Georgia Southern grad. I love my family, farm life, dirt roads & Ga. Tech football.

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