Early last year, we were notified by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce that our firm had been named one of the Top 100 Places to Work in the State of Indiana. We were thrilled to receive the award and recognition, of course, but the most valuable aspect of that designation was the insight that it provided to our team.
Long story short, we’ve been on a journey for many years. A journey to build, cultivate and maintain a very specific corporate culture. The Best Places to Work award was simply a small acknowledgement that we were on the right track in pursuit of that objective.
We know we can always improve, and that’s something we focus on doing every single day. We maintain that focus within the broader context of fostering our unique culture. The real reward doesn’t come from third-party recognition. The real reward comes from achieving our goal.
But enough about us.
If you will allow me to pose a few questions, I promise there won’t be a test.
Does your organization have a specific ‘culture goal’? I would guess you have growth goals or some type of performance metrics that you track on a daily basis. That’s great. Those are important.
Do you have cultural metrics that you track on a daily basis? I promise those are just as important. In fact, they highly correlate to your growth and operational goals.
How about a more basic question. Can you describe your organization’s culture? Can you do so in one sentence? Would your colleagues describe your culture in the exact same way? Would they use the same words? If so, congratulations! I ask these questions of many people and the vast majority of folks aren’t able to provide a simple, concise answer.
Is the culture described by your team, by your customers and by your vendors the culture you want?
The truth is every organization has a culture. The question is who is setting and defining that culture?
In many settings the ‘squeaky wheel gets the grease’ and they also set the tone for much of the rest of the team. Is that the goal of those organizations? You can envision the T-Shirts: “Keep Calm and Squeak On.”
My point is not to try and prescribe some specific culture for your organization. That’s impossible. That needs to be done by you and your leadership team. It must align with your Mission, your Values, your Vision and your Strategy. It must also be 100% authentic.
If you haven’t clearly defined your one sentence Culture Statement but you would like to start down that path, then where do you begin?
Honestly, give me a call or send me an email. My direct dial is 219.510.6210 and my email is firstname.lastname@example.org. The process differs for each organization, but I would be happy to walk you through some specific steps that helped our firm and will almost certainly help you and your organization on your journey.
This article was published in the Spring 2018 issue of the General Insurance Services Risk & Business Magazine. Access the full publication here.