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Getting Culture Right is Important
February 6, 2023
5 person meeting

SCORE mentors are believers in developing and implementing a Strategic Business Plan. A plan that spells out the owner’s/leader’s vision of what the organization will look like in three to five years. The Mission states why the company should exist, and the values under which the members of the organization will work with each other, the customers, vendors and others with whom they come into contact. I have been involved in Strategic planning my whole business career and truth be told, it’s been a hit and miss experience, some wonderful results and some with no measurable impact. I’ve recently read a quote by Patrick Whitesell that hit home, “You can have all the right strategy in the world, if you don’t have the right culture, you’re dead”.  What is the right culture?

Your culture is the beliefs, values and the way people in the organization will treat each other, your customers, vendors, and others that encounter your business. You want your employees emotionally invested in the success of the company. An employee is fully engaged when they treasure their job, are committed to the success of the business, and go the extra mile to make things work better. Is that a big deal? Gallup regularly does surveys that measure the impact of a great culture. Why not look up what Gallup reports. The results are based on their evaluation on employee engagement and there is a quite a difference between the upper quartile and the lower quartile.

Every organization has a culture. It’s developed by the owner or chief operating officer. Your organization’s culture is not set in cement, it can be changed. How does one create a culture that fully engages the employees to achieve the vision and mission of your business? Let me share some of the lessons I’ve learned running businesses and owning a business:

  • The process starts with you. It’s what we do developing a strategic plan. Three questions 1) where we want this organization to be in 5 years and 10 years. 2) what is our mission, why should we be in business, what makes us better than our competitors and 3) what are our values, how will we treat each other.  Only you can answer these questions and you must be totally committed to the answers.
  • Be visible and talk often about the future. Be open and talk about the results. It’s not necessary to give details of your Income Statement or Balance Sheet. Believe me, your employees will have their way of measuring how the company is doing.  Think about the loading dock, how many loads coming in and how many are going out.
  • Have a believable system of measuring results. Not just financial.  How about quality issues, meeting expected output at each workstation, safety record, late deliveries, selling more to customers or finding new customers just to mention a few.
  • Hire the right people. Do they fit in. Likewise, fire those that don’t fit, they are a cancer.
  • Identify Key Result Indicators (KRI) and set them in priority. Assign KRI’s to individuals who will accept the responsibility and will perform. This is a wonderful way to develop staff.  It is also a wonderful way to give KUDO’s. Schedule regular reviews with the individual or teams.  Set milestones to accomplish before going further.
  • Accept that risks are involved, and mistakes will be made. Attack the process and not the individual.
  • Be consistent.  Walk your talk and show gratitude for the team you’ve put together. Gratitude is not measured only in wages paid for high performance; it’s measured in recognizing and appreciating teammates.


Patrick Whitesell hit the mark.  Culture is critical and has a major impact on the business.  I believe Gallup’s analysis of the impact of employee engagement. If you’re not already there, why not set a personal goal to put your operation into the top quartile of your industry and reap the results.  That’s where I’d rather be with the recession talk about which we hear so much. Go for it.  SCORE is here to help.

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