Culture:  Business thrives or dies by it.
 

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I’m glad you’re here. There’s a fire in your belly.  I love that.  I feel it too.
I want to help you burn even brighter. 

 

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WHAT BRINGS ME HERE?

My mother standing next to the building sign honoring her father & my grandfather in Quincy, Florida; and my sister, Leigh Brown, with her national award.

A grew up in a household of educators.  I was raised in a manner where teaching and helping others was the norm. My mother is a retired elementary teacher.  My father taught classes early in his career.  My sister Leigh was recently recognized as one of the top high school AP science teachers in the country.  My grandfather, Max Walker, was a highly respected teacher before being elected superintendent of a county school system.  Upon his retirement, a building was named in Max’s honor – pretty cool, huh?  So, my purpose with this blog is to share my experiences and hopefully the insights will help others.  

A few years ago, I worked for a small company and I was miserable.  Company revenues were flat, employees were leaving the company and I couldn’t seem to recruit new employees that would be considered “A players”.  The culprit was obvious to me: culture.  The company culture was sucking the life out of the company and me.  Needless to say, it wasn’t a healthy environment and it was impacting the employees and eventually the company’s performance.  A few key aspects were missing from this company’s culture – sense of purpose and career path.  I’m thankful I had the opportunity to work in this dysfunctional work environment.  Yep, that’s right – I’m glad I had that experience, as it was an opportunity that has shaped me to who I am today.  

Up until this point in my career, I didn’t understand the value of company culture or the importance it plays.  I never really had too.  My previous career assignments were with a company that maintained a positive culture.  It was evident from the company’s track record.  Over the course of a few years, it grew from 10 employees to 75 with revenues that climbed from $1MM to over $17MM.  More importantly, the company was successful with developing leaders from within.  Every employee had a career path and worked with a sense of purpose.  In addition, the company fostered a sense of belonging – all employees’ felt like they were part of the team; even though, employees were held accountable to their individual contributions and results.  We had fun over those years and without a doubt – our success aided with breeding the right culture.   I was fortunate to have been an early employee in that company and I eventually earned an opportunity to become a leader.  In closing, all of my experiences have provided to be sound reference points from me to benchmark other company cultures too.  Over the years, my curiosity to understand how culture impacts companies has grown and is a burning passion of mine.   


I BELIEVE IN...

  • Every organization has a culture.  Culture does not discriminate on size (number of employees).
  • Company success may be determined by many variables or prerequisites (i.e. timing, talent, luck, product features, competitive advantage, pricing model, etc), but one key component required is having the right culture.
  • Company culture has to be authentic and intentional.
  • One size does not fit all.  Just because one type of culture works well within one company doesn’t mean it will produce the same outcomes in another company.
  • A positive culture does not imply the employees are passive or weak. 
  • Holding colleagues accountable is paramount. 
  • Working with sense of purpose is a basic human element.
  • Career path allows employees to strive towards a goal and aids with instilling purpose.
  • Employees need to understand the company’s purpose and how they contribute towards it. 
  • Equal opportunity for each employee to realize their full potential within the company.
  • Acceptance and appreciation for diversity.
  • Passion is a good thing.  A person can never be too passionate.  Although, sometimes it gets the best of us.  


THIS BLOG IS FOR…

I’m sure most people don’t share the same enthusiasm for culture as I do…. that’s ok.  Have you experienced the consequences from a negative work environment?  If so – keep reading.  Are you interested to learn more about how effective cultures operate – keep reading.  If you are an entrepreneur and either have a company or are thinking about starting a company – keep reading.  Good.  If you are reading this sentence, sounds like this blog is just for you.  Hope you enjoy and I look forward to hearing your feedback and thoughts. 

 

"If you are lucky enough to be someone’s employer, then you have a moral obligation to make sure people do look forward to coming to work in the morning."    -John Mackey, Whole Foods Market