Judging A Company By Its Cover

As humans, we like to make quick assumptions and stereotypes because they simplify life. This simplification enables us to make faster decisions and spend less time/energy on each of our choices. Thus, we use the phrase: “don’t judge a book by its’ cover” when of course we judge a book by its cover as it enables us to make a quick low-effort decision.

Applied more broadly, this concept of assumptions and stereotype-based decisions occur throughout history and our world today in many ways. One specific vein of application is in the ability for people to make quick judgements about things that they do not really understand.

For instance, some people don’t want a vaccine because they misunderstand the science behind it. This trickles down further into more charged topics where people refuse to suspend their perspectives and step into another person’s shoes.  Understanding how others are different and being able to celebrate those differences open us up to non-assumptive decisions.

person reading book

Photo by Elio Santos on Unsplash

Circling back to the title: Judging a company by its cover. This happens, too. How a company is perceived, marketed, branded, and stereotyped allows us to make immediate assumptions and decisions regarding a company.

I work at Suncor Energy, a company in the oil industry with significant ties to Alberta’s oil sands. Depending on where you are, hearing this might invoke an assumption that the company doesn’t care about the environment, sustainability, Indigenous relations, etc.

However, you came to that conclusion with very little information and understanding. During my co-op work term, I have been thoroughly impressed by the culture and actions of Suncor regarding both the environment and Indigenous reconciliation.

We have had powerful education sessions with lessons from them being applied even at the highest levels of the organization. I would have never thought that I would have learned so much about these topics from this organization based on my general assumptions.

Similarly, students consider working at a renowned company such as Apple or Microsoft as one of their top places to work because of how the world perceives them. However, many of these students probably could target workplaces where they better fit the culture, can grow and enjoy their lives more than these other companies, but they might not know or consider these other companies based on branding and assumptions alone.

All in all, you should takeaway that when you make decisions or have opinions, ask yourself: what assumptions/stereotypes am I making to get to this decision or opinion? Are there other perspectives that I should consider?

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