How To Use Company Culture To Drive Business Success ep17

How To Use Company Culture To Drive Business Success

Your company's culture plays a huge role in your level of success. We've got Jill Valdez at Link Consulting with us today to talk about some tips and tricks to create an amazing company culture. Check it out.

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How To Use Company Culture To Drive Business Success


Tim Fitzpatrick:

Your company's culture plays a huge role in the level of success that you have. Today, I'm really excited to have a guest with me and we are going to get into company culture and how you can actually create an amazing one. I am Tim Fitzpatrick with Rialto Marketing. Thank you so much for tuning in. I am super excited to have with me today, Jill Valdez, with LINK Consulting. Jill, welcome, and thank you for being here.


Jill Valdez:

Thank you. It's so great to be here this morning.


Tim Fitzpatrick:

Yes. It is another Friday, end of the week. It's hard to believe they go by so fast.


Jill Valdez:

Yeah, they do.


Tim Fitzpatrick:

Yes. Well, I really appreciate you being here. We're obviously going to get into talking about company culture, which I love to talk about. I think a lot of business owners don't give it enough credit. But, it plays a huge role in how your company, how it does, and how well it does. So, I'm really excited to get into that. Before we get into it, just tell us a little bit more about what you do at LINK Consulting, how you help business owners.


Jill Valdez:

Yeah, sure. So, my background is, I was an executive in the non-profit sector for like 17 years and thought that I would be doing that forever. I was a part of a start-up organization, and then I went to an established organization. A corporate restructure caused me to have to really think about what I wanted to do next with my career. So, I decided to jump into the for-profit sector. In doing so, I thought that I was going to be a little bit behind, that businesses had it all together and that I was going to be joining something, kind of an already moving train.


Jill Valdez:

But, I got in there and I realized that businesses didn't know how to invest in their team. They didn't know how to work with the processes. They didn't know how to have efficiency quite to the level that I expected. So from that, I was like, "Whoa, gosh, that's amazing. I get to fill a void."


Tim Fitzpatrick:

Right.


Jill Valdez:

So, I was working, I was finishing my master's degree in industrial organizational psychology, which is basically just the psychology of business. I was working for a company. I was their director of HR and the president of the company came to me and he said, "Look, you need to start your own agency. What you do, you need to be doing for more than just one company at a time." And he said, "So, I'm kicking you out of the nest. I'm going to be your first client, but go fly and be free."


Jill Valdez:

So, that caused me to start LINK. With LINK, we provide strategies for increased employee engagement and reduced employee turnover, helping those businesses get to what I call the next now. It's getting to that next level. These companies are doing great things, but most of the time, the clients that I work with, they've maybe plateaued and they don't know how to get to that next level of their organization development.


Jill Valdez:

It's not about sales, it's not about throwing more money on to Facebook or LinkedIn or into that budget. But, it's about investing in the organization internally. Who is it that you have and how can you develop them to get the very best out of them? So, that's what LINK does, is we provide those strategies to help organizations get the best out of their people.


Tim Fitzpatrick:

Awesome. Well, and depending on who you talk to, I certainly believe this that your people are the most important asset that you have. So, investing in them, I think, is a wise investment that you'll get a return on over and over and over again. So, totally agree with you on that. Let's talk about COVID. Everybody else says so, why not they do it, right? We're a little more than halfway through the year at this point. What can I do as a business owner to have a great rest of the year, despite some of these obstacles that are coming at us with COVID?


Jill Valdez:

Yeah. 2020 started out as being like this amazing year. I felt that just from many of my connections, excuse me, the clients I was working with, myself, it was like, "Oh, this year is going to be epic. It's 2020, and all of that." It's been epic.


Tim Fitzpatrick:

Yes, it has.


Jill Valdez:

So, for quite a while, people were in this place of uncertainty. But, here we are now in July. And, I think that business owners and people in general have come to realize, this is kind of going to be a new normal for quite a while.


Tim Fitzpatrick:

Yeah.


Jill Valdez:

So, what I encourage businesses to do, is I encourage them to dream, to dream and to plan. Go back to as if today was January 1st and think about what you want your organization to be? Dream about what you thought it was going to be at this point, and make plans to start putting those things in place.


Jill Valdez:

The key to remember though, is that we have to be flexible and adaptable. We're going to have to be that way anyway, because business isn't going to look like what it was in January and February.


Tim Fitzpatrick:

Yes.


Jill Valdez:

Traditional models are totally out the door. You have employees who are still at home and are choosing to stay working at home. They're enjoying that. I think that from what I've heard, most people are actually happier working at home and they're becoming more effective and more efficient from working at home.


Jill Valdez:

So, business owners need to learn how to tap into that. How can I keep utilizing this new structure, to then get my company to being where I'd hoped it would be at this point? So thinking, "Okay, it's December 31st of 2020. Where do I want my company to be? What do I want it to look like?" Dreaming in that, and then figuring out and working on the plans to get it to be there and just starting those things, putting those in place.


Tim Fitzpatrick:

Yeah. Well, a mentor of mine always talks about taking the next measurable step, right? There's so many things going on right now, like you said, and it's changing, right? The only constant in life is change.


Jill Valdez:

Right.


Tim Fitzpatrick:

We can't fight that. Let's put a plan together and let's take that next measurable step to get there. Because, I think those of us that are used to using plans in one way, shape or another, know that the plan we start with, is not going to be the plan that eventually gets us there.


Jill Valdez:

Right.


Tim Fitzpatrick:

It's just the plan that helps us start, and that plan is going to evolve. We have to be fluid enough to accept those changes as we see things changing and the need for those things to change, right?


Jill Valdez:

Absolutely. Yep.


Tim Fitzpatrick:

Yeah. There's a huge opportunity right now, amongst all this chaos. We just have to find it.


Jill Valdez:

Yeah. It's going to take that adaptable person, who can look at, "Okay, this is what the structure was. These are now my new tools. How do I fit this structure, how do I fit my plans using these new tools?" So, if they remain adaptable and think outside of that box of what has always been, then they're going to be the company that survives and thrives in this time.


Tim Fitzpatrick:

Yeah. Totally agree. Totally agree. I love that advice. Let's talk about vision. How do you create a company vision that everyone's going to buy into? I think we probably should take a small step back and just talk about what is a vision too, right?


Jill Valdez:

Yeah. Yeah. Vision is something I love to talk about. Everybody thinks that they have one and even myself. I have it in my head, but being able to put it into words. So, in 1982, the Chicago Bears, they were a horribly losing team. I know we're all missing sports right now. Like, I'm literally going through withdrawals. Cannot wait for basketball to start again. But, they were a losing team. But, Mike Ditka, he changed that because he had a vision. He walked in and he knew exactly the transformation that his team was going to have to go through. He knew how long it was going to take him. He told his team, he said, "Look, if you can stick with me for three years, I guarantee you that in three years, we're going to be at the dance."


Jill Valdez:

If you follow and go back and look at that history, sure enough, that's exactly what happened. It happened, because he had that vision. So, when you talk about what is vision, vision is the destination, it's the snapshot of the future for your company. From that snapshot, then team members and clients, both, are empowered to know what to expect by their alliance with your company. Does that make sense?


Tim Fitzpatrick:

Yes. Yeah.


Jill Valdez:

Yeah. So, when you're talking about vision, it should be so clear. When I teach companies about vision, I talk about the vision that Walt Disney had for Disneyland, way, way back before ground had even ever been broken. It's so interesting when you read it, to actually know what Disneyland is. It was like, "Oh my gosh, he pegged it."


Jill Valdez:

So, being able to paint that mental picture. But, it needs to be big. Again, I'm teaching and I tell people, "Dream big." When you have a vision, swing for the fences, because the worst thing that happens is you might not accomplish that vision necessarily in the time frame that you hope for. But, you're a heck of a lot farther along than you were, when you started on that journey.


Tim Fitzpatrick:

Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. How do values play into vision? So, company values.


Jill Valdez:

Yep. Values drive the vision. Values are a part of that vision. When you talk about core values, like integrity, accountability, passion, customer focus, those actually come out of the vision. But then, they're the energy source. I talk about that vision is the destination, mission is how you're going to get there, and core values are the driving force to get you there.


Tim Fitzpatrick:

So, would you say the core values are what help attract people that are going to buy into the vision of the company?


Jill Valdez:

Yes, because then they will come in. It's that second piece. So, if I'm coming to an organization, whether as a customer or a potential employee, and I look at their value statement and I'm like, "Oh my gosh, that's amazing." But then, if you get in there and their culture is toxic, it's like, "Who cares?" That just means their vision statement is something that's stamped up on the wall and nobody's really doing it.


Tim Fitzpatrick:

Yes. Yeah, you got to live in with the values, right? If you can talk about the values, but if people come in and they see that you're not actually living by those values, they're never going to buy into the vision.


Jill Valdez:

Right. Exactly, and you're never going to accomplish that vision.


Tim Fitzpatrick:

Yeah.


Jill Valdez:

Unless, you are just such a driven person and that you're going to just do it all by yourself, gosh darn it.


Tim Fitzpatrick:

Yes. Yeah. So, outside of values, which helps support that vision, is there anything else that business owners need to keep in mind to help people buy into that vision?


Jill Valdez:

Absolutely. The vision should be a collective voice of the entire organization. So, in order to get everyone to buy in, you have to have communication and you have to have collaboration. I worked with a client, and they had an executive director who did not care at all about what any of the other people had to say. It was a volunteer-driven organization, and he really didn't care what the volunteers had to say. Yet, they were the ones with the boots on the ground. They were the ones who were making things happen.


Jill Valdez:

So, they decided to get a new executive director, who came in and had vision. Had a vision already for the organization and what they were going to do. Shared that, but also asked for feedback and asked for, "What do you guys think?" So, as the team got to contribute their vision, as they got to contribute their thoughts towards the vision, then it became something that they were buying into. It became something that they were a part of. So, that is a core piece of getting everybody else to buy into that vision.


Tim Fitzpatrick:

Okay. Is that collaboration?


Jill Valdez:

Yes. Yeah.


Tim Fitzpatrick:

Yeah. Got it. Yeah, that makes perfect sense. That reminds me, and I've brought this up in the past, early in this COVID pandemic, I read an article about a company. I cannot remember the name, but it was a credit card, it was a merchant processing company of some kind. When COVID hit, they realized that they were in serious trouble. And, rather than management just making this across the board decision in a small room with a few people, they openly reached out and communicated with their entire team and said, "Hey, here's the reality of what's going on right now. If we don't do something, we are going to go bankrupt in a matter of three months or four months," whatever it was. "What ideas do you have and what can you do to help us?"


Tim Fitzpatrick:

And people, they gave them their opinion and they collected all of that. Every single person in that company took a voluntary pay cut. Some more than others, because some were in a better position to do it, but they all took voluntary pay cuts. They were happy to do it, because they wanted to be part of the team. They wanted to still have a job.


Jill Valdez:

Right.


Tim Fitzpatrick:

I think that they really appreciated that open communication. That bought them a much longer runway than they would have had, and it created this culture that wasn't toxic, right?


Jill Valdez:

Right.


Tim Fitzpatrick:

How toxic is it when you're in an environment and you go to work everyday and you're like, "Am I going to get fired today?"


Jill Valdez:

Yeah. Actually, I have a connection. I have a good friend and that's where he's at right now. We were talking yesterday and he said, "I dread answering the phone from my boss, because I never know if this is going to be the day that I'm going to get fired."


Tim Fitzpatrick:

How can you...


Jill Valdez:

That's so sad.


Tim Fitzpatrick:

It's sad, and how can you possibly be motivated to do good work when you're going into an environment like that each and every day?


Jill Valdez:

Yeah.


Tim Fitzpatrick:

It's just, yeah, no good. No good at all. Yeah.


Jill Valdez:

Yeah. It's really easy for companies to turn that around and to be able to hear what their employees have to say. There's two different surveys that they can do. I mean, my goodness, you don't have to have SurveyMonkey if you don't want to.


Tim Fitzpatrick:

Right.


Jill Valdez:

Yeah. I've seen companies write this out and hand it out and have them hand write the answers. But, you either do a SWOT analysis, which is what are our strengths, what are our weaknesses, what are our opportunities, and what are our threats? That's really good at this point, because it gives a foundation for companies to say, "This is what we can build on."


Jill Valdez:

But, even in this time of pandemic and at any time in an organization, it's healthy to do another survey and the questions are, what are we doing right, what are we doing wrong, what's missing, and what's confusing? Those answers help company leaders, help managers be able to hear from really... There's such a disconnect and it's not intentional. It just happens. But, there's a disconnect between management and the people who are actually doing the boots on the ground kind of work.


Tim Fitzpatrick:

Yes.


Jill Valdez:

So, when you can say, "Look, I recognize that there's things that I don't know. I'm up here, I'm at 30,000 feet and you're down on the ground. You have a different perspective. I have this perspective, but I need to hear from you. I need to hear what's happening, because I can't see that. I can't feel it." When you ask your employees those questions, then you get amazing feedback, and they feel heard. They recognize their contribution to the success of the company. As a manager, you get amazing information that helps you continue to drive the vision with a sense of reality.


Tim Fitzpatrick:

Right. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Sometimes, from a management perspective, we can lose touch with what's happening on a day-to-day basis.


Jill Valdez:

Absolutely.


Tim Fitzpatrick:

That's not to say that it's my fault as a manager. That just happens, right?


Jill Valdez:

Yes, absolutely.


Tim Fitzpatrick:

But, you have to have the self-awareness, as a manager, to know that that's happening and to rely on your people to provide you that information.


Jill Valdez:

Right. Yeah.


Tim Fitzpatrick:

Right? Yeah. I love that. Let's talk about teams.


Jill Valdez:

Okay.


Tim Fitzpatrick:

What does it mean to have a great team, and what kinds of things can we do to build one?


Jill Valdez:

Yeah. Team, every company, I don't care how big you are, you are a team. Even those companies like mine, that's run by one person, I have a support team in my personal life.


Tim Fitzpatrick:

Yes.


Jill Valdez:

We're all made up of teams. So, in order for companies to succeed, team members, they have to work together as a highly functional unit. If they don't work together, then failure is in the future of the company. I mean, again, basketball is really big in our house.


Tim Fitzpatrick:

Okay.


Jill Valdez:

Like, we joke that it's a second religion. You look at the Lakers. After Kobe left, between Kobe and LeBron, you look at the breakdown, because they stopped working together as a team. They didn't have that team leader to bring them together, and they've been this losing team. I mean, even now with LeBron, they're still not like the most amazing. They're still having to figure that kind of stuff out.


Jill Valdez:

So, you have to have team members working together. Patrick Lencioni says, "When people come together and set aside their individual needs for the good of the whole, they accomplish what might've looked impossible on paper. Team members readily set aside their individual or personal needs for the greater good of the group." So, if you really want your company to be successful, and success is defined differently for every organization. But, if you want to be successful, you have to recognize that you are coming together as a team. This is a collection of individuals with different personalities, with different backgrounds. They are a collection of actual humans.


Jill Valdez:

So, gone are the days where you say, "Oh, you can't walk in the door with your personal life." My personal life is going to affect my work no matter what, no matter how hard I want it to not. It just is, because we're human beings. So, allowing people the space to be that, but in understanding who each other is, and then putting people into the right spots, based on their personality, based on their talents, based on their passions, based on values and putting them into the right roles, and then you have this almost unstoppable team.


Tim Fitzpatrick:

Yeah. You got to all be working together and you got to have the right people in the right seats.


Jill Valdez:

Absolutely. Oh, yeah. That's a huge piece of what I do, is helping organizations get to know who their actual individual team members are. But, we also talk about what are the roles that you need for the success of your company? And then, do you have the right people to fill those roles? So often, companies put together organization charts based on the staff that they have already.


Tim Fitzpatrick:

Right.


Jill Valdez:

And, I say, "No. Let's take a step back, thinking about what you want to be as a company. What are the roles that you need? And then, you look at who are the people and how can you put them into those slots?"


Tim Fitzpatrick:

Do you get involved in personality assessments as you evaluate teams?


Jill Valdez:

Oh, yes. I'm a huge personality geek.


Tim Fitzpatrick:

Okay.


Jill Valdez:

Yeah.


Tim Fitzpatrick:

Yeah.


Jill Valdez:

Most of the time I talk about DISC, because it's comprehensive, but it's also easy for people to remember. Like, I remember it because I love it. This is my passion. But, for your average person, they need to have a system that helps them easily identify the other people around them. I have found that for the most part, DISC makes that really, really easy.


Tim Fitzpatrick:

Yeah, because probably when you have personality assessments, I think what a lot of people don't think about, it helps you better understand yourself and how you work, right? But, it also can help give you an understanding of how your coworkers work. So, you know how to communicate with one another.


Jill Valdez:

Absolutely. This company I worked with, it was so exciting, because I did a workshop on communication based on personality. So, about two weeks later, one of their associates emailed me and she said, "Oh my gosh, everything has changed between me and my manager. He understands how to best communicate with me and I understand how he's wired, so that I can put in the effort to where we're both understanding each other better." And, it totally improved their efficiency. She said, "Our clients are noticing this."


Tim Fitzpatrick:

Yeah.


Jill Valdez:

Yeah.


Tim Fitzpatrick:

Yeah, that's amazing. Before we wrap up, I want to ask you one other question, because I think it's probably really important for people to know. So, we've got into company culture and I think it's important for people to have a takeaway of, "Okay, I get this company culture thing." What types of benefits do companies see when they have a really strong company culture?


Jill Valdez:

Their company becomes unstoppable and their company becomes the company that everybody wants to work at.


Tim Fitzpatrick:

Yes.


Jill Valdez:

Remember Google?


Tim Fitzpatrick:

Yeah.


Jill Valdez:

When Google first started, everybody wanted to work at Google because, "Wow, they're so cool. They've got all this stuff." It was that company culture that was attractive. Well, any organization can become that type of company where people want to work there, and it's based on that culture.


Tim Fitzpatrick:

Yeah. So, you can attract people easier. Recruiting becomes easier. I'm assuming you attract higher quality people as well.


Jill Valdez:

Yeah.


Tim Fitzpatrick:

... when engagement goes up, right?


Jill Valdez:

Yeah. Yeah.


Tim Fitzpatrick:

So, when engagement goes up, you've got productivity benefits. When you've got productivity benefits, your profits are going to increase as well, right?


Jill Valdez:

Absolutely. Yeah. When you have happier people, when you have people that come in and are just as bought into the vision of the company as if they were the owner, that just boost exponentially what's going to be happening in that company. And, you're going to sense it. You're going to sense it. When people come in, they're excited to come in. They know that they're doing valuable work and they're excited about giving the best service to their clients. You don't have to be always teaching them about, "Oh, remember, be nice to the clients." They're actually taking initiative to improve themselves and to be a part of continuing to grow things and make them better.


Tim Fitzpatrick:

Yeah. That's awesome. You've added a ton of value. After listening to this or watching it, if people don't buy into their company culture, then I don't know what else we can do to help, but...


Jill Valdez:

Yeah.


Tim Fitzpatrick:

Where can people learn more about you, Jill, if they want to get some help?


Jill Valdez:

Yeah. So, my website is linkconsulting.info. Goes into a little bit more about who we are, what we do, and then there's a contact section where they can contact us.


Tim Fitzpatrick:

Okay.


Jill Valdez:

And then, also, you can always find me on LinkedIn.


Tim Fitzpatrick:

Awesome. Jill, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me. I always enjoy chatting with you. You've added a ton of value, like I said. Thank you so much for tuning in. I am Tim Fitzpatrick with Rialto Marketing. If you need to gain clarity on where to focus your marketing efforts right now, based on where your business is at, please go to our website at rialtomarketing.com and click on the Get a Free Consult button. You will get a ton of value from it, and we will give you some clarity on where to focus. So, remember marketing your business shouldn't be a challenge. All you need is a plan. Thank you for tuning in. Till next time. Take care.


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About the Author Tim Fitzpatrick

Tim Fitzpatrick is the President of Rialto Marketing. At Rialto Marketing, we help small businesses & entrepreneurs eliminate the confusion of marketing by focusing on the fundamentals. As a marketing partner, we help clients put in place and manage a simple marketing plan so they can grow. Marketing your business shouldn't be a challenge. All you need is a plan.

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