Last month, we shared our first of three posts of an interview with Rand Fishkin, founder of and reigning “Wizard of Moz” by our own Director of Training Sarah Benoit. If you missed the first installment on what Rand sees for SEO in 2016 or his thoughts on choosing the right marketing channel for your business, feel free to get caught up (we’ll wait).

When we sat down with Rand he was fresh off his keynote speech at Internet Summit 2015 and ready to discuss future trends for SEO and best practices for small businesses. Rand also shared his thoughts on changes in company culture in today’s business world. Like us, he sees it shifting away from formality and towards individuality.

Watch the video or read the transcript below to find out Rand’s thoughts on how diversity and authenticity will impact businesses large and small for years to come.

A Revolution in Business Culture

Sarah: I know we only have just one more minute. You write a lot of great blogs about things related to business and leadership and at our school, a lot of our students are running small businesses or they work with small to medium sized businesses, some of them even micro. At JB Media Group, we’ve done a lot of work on our culture of our business and how to build really good teams, how to have the same values and stuff. I know you recently wrote a blog about diversity and the importance of that. So I was just curious from a business perspective – not just Internet marketing – what do you see happening in the business world? I feel like the business environment is really changing with all of this stuff. It’s exciting for me because I didn’t want to be a traditional business person. I’m just curious if you have a brief comment on that.

Rand: Yeah, I would say that broadly I think there’s recognition by a lot of big businesses and enterprises that statistically speaking embracing things around core values, around diversity and inclusiveness, around transparency and authenticity. Those are producing wins for the companies that do them, and so you’re seeing the market follow. That shouldn’t come as any shock.

Who’s Leading the Charge?

Rand: It’s also interesting because many times you see the people in leadership roles at some of these enterprises having very different opinions not necessarily politically but sort of culturally around those things and yet they’re still making those investments because they believe it’s just good business. I think in the small and medium business realm, it’s getting embraced more slowly in certain niches and quicker in others. So you see this rash of small and medium companies who are at the very forefront. They’re leading this charge in revolution around all of these different things, and then you see a number of more traditional businesses that are not yet following. But I don’t think it’s 50 years away before this happens. I think it’s 5, 10, 15 before it becomes standard. The world of Mad Men and of institutionalized sexism and drinking on the job and those kinds of things, it faded SO fast. It faded within a decade of kind of the 1960s.

Sarah: Or even just wearing suits and not having tattoos and all these other things…

Rand: Yeah, right, and drug testing and mandatory drug test, right? And all this other stuff. But I think it’s fading quite fast. The evolution of how cultural ideas enter the marketplace of business, that is speeding up as a direct result of the popularity of the Internet. Information is so pervasively accessible and so quickly updated, we cannot help but embrace this onslaught.

JB Media Values: Transparency, Evolution and More

The connection Rand sees between how quickly business culture is changing and the amount of information coming to us via the web really resonated with us. As Sarah mentioned, we have been hard at work on our own company culture and have identified our core values. It makes sense that our values and expectations for our own culture would be heavily influenced by ideas and examples that we have learned about via the Internet. Given what we do, we spend a lot of time online! As Rand said, being a smaller company, we can respond to changes within our team and the wider culture we live in. Transparency and evolution are two of our values and we are only too happy to see them be incorporated by companies large and small.