Making a Mark: 'Chief inspiration officer' helps companies define culture

Name: Pam MatchiePosition: Corporate trainer, keynote speaker, artist and hypnotist. Matchie refers to herself as the "chief inspiration officer."Her story: Matchie is in the midst of an exciting second act. The Jamestown, N.D., native spent near...
Pam Matchie offers Fortune 100 soft skills training. She specializes in executive retreats and customer service and sales training for medium and large organizations.Dave Wallis / The Forum

Name: Pam Matchie

Position: Corporate trainer, keynote speaker, artist and hypnotist. Matchie refers to herself as the "chief inspiration officer."

Her story: Matchie is in the midst of an exciting second act. The Jamestown, N.D., native spent nearly 30 years working for Qwest, her last eight as a lobbyist at the Minnesota State Capitol. In 2011, she chose to pursue a different dream.

She returned to her home state to take a job as a corporate trainer for a Microsoft vendor. After three years there, she launched her own training and executive retreat business.

Matchie sums up her theory behind corporate training with a quote from poet John O'Donohue that says, "To be human is to belong."

She believes employees who feel like they belong "give of their very best self," which should translate to reduced costs and increased revenue.

Her job is to help business owners and management determine what their corporate culture is and what values they want to promote.

"It costs a lot of money to have turnover," Matchie said. "Why don't you figure out your focus? Hire to that focus. Train to that focus. Maintain that focus. A benefit of that is reduced turnover, but the bigger benefit is that you have a consistent product that you can deliver to the customer and the community. It's about reduced cost and increased revenue."

Though she hasn't worked with them, Matchie said RealTruck, an online retailer of after-market pickup accessories based in Jamestown and Fargo, is an example of a company doing it right.

RealTruck founder Scott Bintz said he believes in hiring based on culture fit and then skill set, rather than skills alone.

"RealTruck is not the right place for everyone," he said. "If you're not OK coming to work and seeing someone in clown shoes, you probably wouldn't do well at RealTruck."

The approach appears to be working. RealTruck consistently shows up on lists of the fastest-growing companies and best places to work.

Tool box: Once the culture has been established, Matchie recommends a number of tools for retaining it. They all involve learning about different personality types. The goal is for employees to better understand themselves and their co-workers.

She prefers to use the Enneagram, a model based on nine personality types: reformer, helper, achiever, individualist, investigator, loyalist, enthusiast, challenger and peacemaker.

"It's when you hit a snag that you need tools like Myers Briggs, StrengthsFinder and the Enneagram," she said. "As people get under stress, they behave in a certain way. Certain people get volatile, some withdraw, some try to take over."

Once people understand those tendencies, they can be accepted and addressed, Matchie said. It all comes back to that feeling of belonging.

Matchie said at the most basic level, people work to put food on the table. People stay with an employer, even if they can make more money elsewhere, because they consider it a good place to work.

"If you can be part of an organization whose training and culture creates belonging, that's why we work," she said.

BUSINESS PROFILE

What: Pam Matchie Consulting

Where: 118 Broadway, No. 301, Fargo

Contact: (612) 559-0314 or email pam@pammatchie.com