Cultural Foundation

Cultural Foundation

Every organization has a culture. The question is whether it's working for you, or against you.


EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the second article of a five-part series.

A successful, sustainable and profitable business starts with culture. It's the foundation of your organization and all companies have one -- whether they're aware of it or not. However, the question is whether your culture is good or bad, productive or destructive.

For those non-believers on the impact of culture, author and speaker Leandro Herrero teaches “The 8 Hard Arguments on Culture:”

1. Culture is the difference between 30 people making a decision in 30 days, --or-- 3 people making the same decision in 3 days

2. Culture is the difference between taking accountability, --or-- passing the monkey down the hierarchy

3. Culture is the difference between waiting to be told, --or-- taking the initiative

4. Culture is the difference between bringing things out in the open, --or-- criticizing everybody in the toilets after the meeting has ended.

5. Culture is the difference between implementing decisions, and deferring them –or-- waiting and hoping that those decisions may be changed

6. Culture is the difference between loosing 20% of recruits after a recent recruitment event, --or-- having people knocking at the door wanting to join

7. Culture is the difference between recycling orphan ideas, --or-- making things happen

8. Culture is the difference between making things happen first and fixing the broken system afterwards, --or-- paralyzing all to fix the system first so things can happen after


Every company has the makings of a culture. However, it’s up to you -- the company’s leader -- to identify and shape the development of that culture so it ultimately aids in the business’s growth and development. The following is a how-to guide for getting your culture on the right track.

First you need to start with a culture check-up. This is done by surveying your team and asking the following questions:

  • What do they think?
  • What is working?
  • What is not working?
  • Where are the pain points?

After the survey, engage them in a healthy dialogue with a spirit of inquiry. Review the findings together as a team. Then you can start to build the Foundation of a Deliberate Culture

There are three key components to proactively building a conducive culture that will help your company keep and retain the people who are the keys to your success and assist you in gaining a competitive edge.

You need a vision, mission and values statement. Everyone needs context for work, this is the long-term objective for the company. Given that objective, employees need to understand the value they provide to customers, when it needs to happen, along with the principles that control how tasks need to be performed.

Successful companies with a solid company culture built that culture deliberately, proactively, and on purpose. They focused on three key areas:

Vision — Provide a compelling picture of the future that will draw people to your company through an emotional connection. What do you want your company to look like in 5 years? 25 years? Where are you headed?

Mission — Why do your people come to work every day? How will your team achieve your vision? Outline your offer, which is the products and services plus the experience of doing business with you. This is the rational connection between the offer and the benefits customers receive.

Core Values — Convey to customers, suppliers, investors and especially employees that how they perform matters. What values do you live by? This defines the boundary between acceptable and unacceptable behavior.

So, build or tune up your vision, mission, and core values. Make these a part of recruiting, on-boarding, reviews, leadership training, and your career-path process. When you have this in place and conduct yourself and your business by these standards, then you can build a people plan (which I address in Article #3) designed to grow and keep the keepers and lose the losers.

 As Head Harvester, with the Harvest Landscape Consulting Group, Fred Haskett coaches green and white industry owners. He is also a frequent Snow Magazine contributor.