How To Build A Driven Culture
Devin MillerThe Inventive Journey Podcast for Entrepreneurs
How To Build A Driven Culture
The Inventive Journey
Starting and growing a business is a journey. On The Inventive Journey, your host, Devin Miller walks with startups along their different journeys startups take to success (or failure). You also get to hear from featured guests, such as venture firms and angel investors, that provide insight on the paths to a successful inventive journey.
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i'll i'll be a little self-serving here you know this article that i'm uh posting they can go on linkedin and download this there's more than one thing there that they could do uh the article is called the great resignation and it's a predictable future uh predictable failure of leadership and what to do about it um there's lots of great suggestions within the article and it's uh very well backed up with some um studies and things that were done so i'll be uh posting that later today actually on linkedin and anybody wants to look me up they can find me on linkedin and take a peek at the article i think it'll be very useful [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive expert i'm your host devin miller the serial entrepreneur that's grown several startups into seven and eight figure businesses as well as the founder and ceo of miller ip law where he helps startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks if you ever need help with yours just go to strategymeeting.com and we're always they're always here to help now today we have another great expert on the podcast forest bloom and today we're going to be talking about a few different things which i think are always very impactful and helpful to a business which include you know building a purpose or building a purpose uh driven culture within your business and also how to talk or talking about how it's much easier to build that from the inception or from the get-go as opposed to changing information now we can change a culture but we're going to talk about why it's beneficial to get that started earlier the better we're also going to talk a little bit about some different actions that would be great within the the business to take and including you know one of them that is getting people employees and other people that are working for you as well as yourself to show up with their best selves each day so they can be the most productive and get as much done and also have an enjoyable life doing it and then we might also talk a little bit about the strategic alignment and building that with an organization so with that much as an introduction welcome on the podcast boris well thank you i i appreciate you inviting me back absolutely so um now before we dive into kind of all the expertise and the areas of hand uh maybe just uh for the audience and those that didn't uh catch the inventive journey expo episode um but for those that are just uh joining or otherwise um getting to know you um give us a quick introduction kind of what is your background your experience why do you know or why are you an expert on these areas or why do you know what you're talking about uh absolutely so i appreciate it um i spent most of my career at least the first part of my career in the financial services space and i kind of built around the niche of working with successful ceos and founders of companies when i got out of financial services i really wanted to focus on what i had a passion on which was connecting uh individuals purpose and and sort of their passion in life with profits in their business uh i found that most organizations were lacking a very clear purpose in what they were doing and i started uh working with companies that were in crisis because this was in 2008 and so um going forward i became a what you would consider a crisis consultant a turnaround expert for companies and i really found passion in working with these what i call purpose-driven uh growth-minded entrepreneurs and that's what i've been doing ever since no i think that's a great introduction definitely gives you a great perspective on the to share some of the the topics that we're going to be discussing and chatting over so with that you know the one of the things that i think you know there's a lot of their discussion and you know articles out there and otherwise advice is to building a purpose or purpose-driven culture and within a business and you know it's everything you know so before we dive into how you or why you should build it or how you build it maybe help us define just a bit what is a purpose-driven culture what what i guess why does it matter what is it kind of what is that step as to why everybody's talking about it and what impact it has on a business well i think one of the reasons why it's very relevant today is we've keep hearing about this great resignation that's going on and and people are kind of disengaged and even prior to covet if you look at some of the uh statistics you know many of them said as much as like two-thirds of uh people at work were just disengaged with their job they weren't happy at what they were doing they were just showing up kind of like robots and this is before covet so i gotta imagine that those uh percentages have gone up quite a bit so the question is you know how do you get people really engaged in what they're doing in fact i just wrote an article about this called the great resignation a predictable failure of leadership and what to do about it um i think it really comes down to the fact that people don't see their clear place in an organization and um that starts with why and simon cynic's written many books about it he's got lots of ted talks and so he's by far the expert in in trying to discover what an organization's why is but i think it needs to be clearly communicated for what i call strategic alignment you know um back for the last 30 or 40 years organizations have been struggling with how to build strategic alignment within their organizations and that has always been a challenge but now more so than ever when you have people that are fully uh disengaging from their jobs on an active basis and looking for something else that they want to do i think younger generations today are just much more focused on these aspects of why are they doing what they're doing and why they're showing up every day it's not just the paycheck to them no and i think that you know there is definitely that sense and it seems like it's what's interesting it seems to be a bit of a generational shift in the sense that for you know you to take probably my grandfather's generation but maybe a little bit my parents generation but certainly my grandpa's you know the idea is hey i'm going to go get a good job i'm going to work there for you know basically or most of all my life and then i'll you know either have a pension or i'll have you know savings or i'll have a you know retirement fund and that's what i'll do and now it seems like people are looking for something more than just a paycheck and a job and something that gives you that studying and although that's not important but they're also saying in addition to that i want that purpose i want to feel like i'm having an impact or that you know what i'm doing for a good majority of my life is actually worthwhile to pursue and it seems like now people are trying to look to figure out how that they can achieve that within their business so so now with that you know what one thing we talked about a little bit before the podcast was how you build that culture and you know there's certainly you have kind of two things one if you're from inception and you're just getting a business going how do you build that culture and how do you define it and then you also have for those that are hey i got a business going i have a startup or a small business and started me going for a period of time how do i if we haven't already been purposeful or purposefully doing that how do we build that into the culture so we'll hit on maybe a bit of both of those but for those that are just getting started and going that are able to kind of build that culture from the from the ground up what are some or ways that they should go about thinking about it or otherwise focusing on it so i think for organizations that are startups or younger organizations with less maturity they they have an advantage here because they can build this purpose-driven culture from the beginning and onset it's much easier to do that than try to change an organization that's organically developed into something different um so i think you have to first define what is culture right culture is not a set of values you know it is partly values but you know people uh corporations put on the walls all the time integrity ethics you know like what does that mean like is there any organization that doesn't want to have integrity and ethics in how they operate you know i i think that that's corporate speak i think at the end of the day it's not about just the values that you share potentially with uh your employees but it's really about how people behave it's how they show up each and every day and there should be an expectation obviously from the organization's perspective of what they see as indicators of positive behavior what they view as ways to be accountable in the organizations ways that they operate that's different than maybe another company so understanding what behaviors you expect in the organization helps you attract the right people it also helps to turn away people that wouldn't be a good fit for you so i think defining that on the front end is so much more easier to do once you've figured out what is really the impact that the organization is looking to have in their community in their business model whatever it is that they're focused on what is their purpose and build around that the behaviors that you want to see people show up with each and every day and then you can do selection and recruiting towards it it becomes a a unique attractor to your company instead of a detractor in many cases today where it does just doesn't exist and people are disconnected with their their work that they're doing no and i i think that uh definitely makes sense so i'm gonna follow just with one question on that which is you know it's easy in retrospect or when you talk or talking to it on the podcast it makes it easy oh yeah just figure out your purpose figure out your culture and then go out and you know infuse into your business you know but if uh if you're kind of starting from more of the inception where i'm hey i've got maybe myself a business partner maybe one or two employees at the most i'm really just getting started i absolutely you know let's say i'm bought in i should have a purpose-driven culture but maybe i don't know what my purpose-driven culture is in other words i'm just focused on hey i've got to get the business up and going need to get some sales need to get uh you know or get some income coming in such that the business actually stays there and you know it actually grows or we can continue to support it so how do you if you don't really know what you know you want to build a culture you know you want to build something that's worthwhile that people are wanting to show up and work at and enjoy and otherwise do but once if you don't have a good idea of what that purpose is or what that purpose-driven culture should be well i think you're bringing up actually a whole different point here that's important which is i view all organizations as having three levels of maturity and a level one mature organization is one that has figured out what their operating model is like it's what i call the tactical layer they know what products they deliver they know how they deliver them they know what their unique way of doing things is within the organization all of that has kind of been outlined and they're able to deliver consistently what that experience and what that product looks like to the consumer i think that if you if you're not there yet it makes it really hard to build a really solid culture right now you need to have the culture on the front end so if you think about how you're going to deliver the services and the products in whether it's a blue collar or a white collar environment what is the business you can build around the behaviors that you would expect people to have in in you know accountability for example well maybe that's a really important uh distinction if you've got some kind of a business that is creative and has knowledge workers but if you've got a blue collar environment maybe accountability is not the number one thing because people show up and they put screws and holes or you know whatever the the day-to-day function is so you have to build the behaviors around the business and the service offering that you have and that starts with the culture that's that's how you build that first initial culture but once you've mastered as an organization what i call level one which is tactical implementation that's where you start to develop what we'll call strategy and that's the second layer and culture is a part of strategy because it will determine whether you want to go after certain channels in in certain ways of distributing the products and services which is you know i don't want to digress into a different area but strategy is very flexible and culture is very fixed culture is something that is think of it as a non-negotiable this is how we show up each and every day to do what we do and if you don't fit the culture it's probably not a good fit as as an employee to come on board so understanding that tactical implementation process and procedures is fixed and culture is fixed and same between in between there what i call level two is strategy and strategy is the reverse it's actually very flexible needs to be flexible if it's a good strategy and so that can create friction okay and if you don't have the culture well defined on the front end it's going to be very hard to keep that strategic alignment and in your strategy will not usually execute well so hopefully that makes sense no i think that definitely makes sense i think that was a very insightful and then helpful so now with that i'm going to ask one question which is we kind of pounded on hey it's much easier to get that culture from the front end to take do the work to define it to figure out what the values are what you want to accomplish and then create that culture around that now let's say on the other hand you aren't in that situation where you're just getting started with business but rather you've been in business for a few years or for quite a bit of time and you're saying you know and it seems like in my limited experience you know sometimes you'll have as a business grows to a period you're saying hey when we started out that culture was kind of natural because everybody was there from the inception from the get-go we kind of already knew the players or had worked with them before or otherwise people kind of the culture was built as we got the business going maybe not as intentional maybe not as well but you know there was some inherent culture there but now the business is growing and it's either bringing on more employees or expanding to new locations or otherwise you've just been in business for a while and now we're looking to make a transition of leadership any of those and you're saying hey maybe we need to focus more on this culture we need to make sure it's more ingrained or make sure it's more prevalent or it's on the you know the or more top of mind and so if you're in those businesses that aren't just starting out building a culture but have already maybe they haven't you know been around for a bit of time how do you go back and start to adjust or otherwise build that culture in or to reingrain that culture for those that may have you know it may be a little bit more not our other habits may be more entrenched so i think the first step you have to think about is what is the culture that exists today like if you have no framework to understand the culture that exists it's going to be very difficult to build a new culture because you don't know where you're starting there are lots of tools and assessments that you can use to identify people's skills but skills are useful only to a certain degree it tells you whether somebody is capable of doing things but the question is will they actually execute on the things that you need them to execute on and that's really where the cultural aspect starts to come into play if you have a culture that is uh very engaged meaning most of the people show up every day and they're excited to be there the the the company's experiencing good growth there it doesn't seem evident that there are major problems with the culture then in that case you've got to start thinking about what would be optimal in terms of your organizational culture what are we looking to accomplish goes back to the y discussion and then you start comparing fit does the culture that we currently have fit the culture we'd like to have optimally and where we're headed to now that's one example and how do you do that well you you look at the behaviors you look at how people show up and if for the most part they're showing up the way you want them to and you're making great progress in most parts of your business then maybe the culture you have is not really very broken it just needs enhancing um but what happens a lot of times is there is nothing to compare fit to that there is no existing an understanding of what the current culture is so people show up and people get added to the culture uh kind of in a haphazard way i mean there are maybe skills and assessments that are being used around skills uh but nobody's spending a lot of time thinking about what is the right fit for us from a cultural perspective that becomes a challenge and you need to go back to square one you need to say what is our optimal what what are we looking for in a candidate not around the skills but about whether they want to be here do they get it okay are they capable and are they willing to deliver okay so if you've got the right components the person's got the skills and they get what you're trying to accomplish as a from a cultural standpoint you might have a good fit there and you start adding people to the organization that are fit and people that are not a fit sometimes you have to make those difficult decisions and say maybe this is not the best place for them or you find another seat on the bus as they would say as jim collins says you know you find a place where they actually do fit within the organization maybe it's not their current role so there's you know there's different ways to assess it but it all comes down to behavior and how are people showing up each and every day and is it what you want them to do where are the gaps so now and i think that that's it definitely makes sense and it is interesting now i'll follow up with the question because um you know it seems like you sometimes you can train culture and er sometimes i'll back up conventional wisdom i've seen a couple different ones you should hire culture in other words so when whether or not someone's going to be a good fit with the culture is a lot of times made at the point of hiring as to whether or not they're going to buy in whether or not they're going to like it whether or not they're going to agree with the purpose and others are saying no you know really a culture is a matter of training in other words a lot of people can fit within the culture but they need to have the training of the skills or otherwise have the time and the support to do that and so you know which camp are you in or which do you think makes sense or is it a combination of both you know is it more on the you should be hiring for culture as you bring people in and that's where it should focus or is it more on the internal hey we should focus on building our culture for within for existing employees and put you know put a greater focus on that does that make sense uh sort of yeah so i think you have to look at how people are going to show up there are three components in my mind there's mindset skill set and tool set right so number one is do they have the right mindset are they the type of an individual that's going to fit into your culture and gonna help move things forward for you i think that's that's an important piece of the assessment skill set is very clear i mean do they have the skills to do the job that you're looking to do and there are a ton of different ways to assess that to make sure that they are capable of doing the job that you're asking them to do and then toolset is all about giving them the resources it's about the training and this is something that's not their responsibility it's your responsibility so if you don't have as a leader a well-defined uh job description what expectations you have of this individual what are you looking for in terms of role fit and and um you know how are they going to be culturally a good fit for your organization if you don't have those things defined it's really hard to train it's really hard to give them the resources and things that they need as a part of the tool set so i think all three components have to uh exist and i think you have to take as a leader you have to take your tool set ownership and and make sure that you can deliver at that level that you provide them the resources and training that they need to do their job well but ultimately it's up to them to show up with the right mindset and skill set to deliver no i think that uh that certainly makes uh makes a great deal of sense now fault or kind of a follow-up question to that and i know i'm asking a lot of questions i just find it interesting okay um so you know let's say you've done all the work you know on the front end you've tried to define the culture you have you know tried to hire for the culture you tried to do the training on the in you know they are training in otherwise make it transparent give the resources and otherwise do everything you can to build a culture and you're having some people that just don't feel like they're fitting the culture in other words you just you know no matter what you feels like no matter what you do you have some employees that fit well within the culture and doing great and some that's there tend to struggle or just don't seem to be a good match for what you're trying to build you know is that something where what is that cut off point between you keep trying to help them to fit within the culture versus you're saying hey this just isn't the culture for you and what you're not going to be happy here and so we need to part ways kind of how do you make that balance or how do you make that determination well i i think the real underlying question of what you're asking about is how do you make sure that people get results right that they are executing on what you're expecting them to execute on well and there's really two components to this it's one is communication and one is coordination of action so as a leader what you're trying to do is manage that process of communication and coordination of action so there's a framework for doing this i call it objectives and outcomes you have to have very clear objectives for the organization that you're trying to accomplish and you have to have identified what the clear outcomes are now you may want to what's this got to do with culture well it has to do with the fact that people can't show up as their best self if they really don't know what's being expected of them and so you have to make sure before you make decisions around whether this person is a good fit or not whether this person can deliver or not is have you done your part as a leader to provide them what they need in terms of their environment in terms of the tool set the resources whatever they need to be successful in that environment if you've done that job well that means you've communicated your expectations extremely well and you've coordinated action by um giving them a way to make progress towards whatever initiatives you need them to make progress towards you you've laid out a strategy and a plan and you've got clear execution expectations from them now the question becomes is if you've done all that and they're still not executing well then you've got a difficult decision to make as a leader you have to figure out is this person just incapable of delivering what you want um that could be a case but oftentimes that's not the situation or maybe they're just not interested they're just not motivated enough to deliver what you want them to deliver and you have to make a decision is do i change the people or do i change the people right what kind of change needs to happen here and if if you come to the determination that this individual just won't deliver over the long term and and they're not interested in being part of your culture in your organization they're just not passionate about what they're doing every day you know then maybe you do have to change the people you have to find somebody that's a better fit um but you also need to give them the opportunity i think to understand where their um where they're failing and in their delivery and give them an opportunity to step up and say you know what i take ownership of some of this and and i can solve this i want to solve this i want to be a part of this organization no i think that that definitely makes sense i mean it always does seem to be a bit of a balancing act at least for me i found that you know some people the culture just no matter what you do culture is just not going to give you a good thing sometimes it's not their fault i mean sometimes if you're if you're redefining the culture shifting you're adjusting you're just better understanding what you want the culture to be and you know maybe that they just simply aren't you know through no fault of their own just it's not the culture that they're going to enjoy they're going to fit with and so sometimes it's going to be that conversation of hey this may be my fault or i may not have conveyed the culture who's right for you or we you know we're making a culture shift or adjustment or whatever that might be and i think it's kinder to for those people it just it's not going to be a good fit to let them go because they're not going to be happy and they're not going to show up and be the you know the their best or perform to the best of their abilities and on the other hand sometimes it's just a acknowledgement and helping them to understand what the culture is and what you're trying to accomplish and how they fit within that and that training that information can help them to make that that mind shift so i think that definitely makes sense well i i just want to add to that i think you know people are the most they could be your best asset or your biggest liability as a company right and so people you're investing as a leader into your organization by recruiting and hiring people on and and you have to think about it from an investment perspective does this make sense to continue to invest into this individual can i make good investments in some cases you can by even providing some outside help getting them a coach getting them somebody to help work through some of their problems a lot of times people don't execute because they're just not being challenged i mean think about that it's all about perceived ability and perceived challenge called tension management everybody shows up at work and they they want to do well i don't i don't believe that they show up just because of a paycheck oftentimes you can tell who those are right on the surface but people who really show up at work and they want to do well but they're struggling making progress on their initiatives for whatever reason well there's a process that you can utilize to help coach them through that and identify what are those blockages that that are causing them not to deliver well over time and then help them if they really want the help to become more productive to execute better um and they become very valuable to you uh and actually can you know become very valuable to themselves because they they get re-energized or re-engaged because now they're being challenged to actually deliver something no i i couldn't agree more i think that definitely makes sense so well as we know wrapping up the pot we had talked about this for a long time we didn't even get to some of the other fun areas that would have been that great to chat on but uh you know always always more things to talk about than time to talk about them but uh as we start to wrap up we've hit on a lot of different things that people could then and should really get started with their business you know as a business owner you always have more things to do than ever time to do it you're always trying to balance things and what are the highest or most critical things and how do you get those started so if people are listening and they're saying hey we know here what is one thing i can do what's one takeaway that i should get started on that i can't er can get started on today what would that one thing be you know i i'll i'll be a little self-serving here you know this article that i'm posting they can go on linkedin and download this there's more than one thing there that they could do uh the article is called the great resignation and it's a predictable future uh predictable failure of leadership and what to do about it there's lots of great suggestions within the article and it's very well backed up with some studies and things that were done so i'll be posting that later today actually on linkedin and anybody who wants to look me up they can find me on linkedin and take a peek at the article i think it'll be very useful awesome well i definitely encourage you know one is to connect up with you on linkedin and then two to check out that article and the other content that you're uh looking to or that you're sharing because it definitely sounds like a great uh resource to get things going for the various businesses so with that as we wrap up but people do want to connect up to you such as on linkedin or otherwise reach out to you connect up with you they want to be a customer they want to be a client they want to be an employee they want to be an investor they want to be your next best friend any or all of the above what's the best way to reach out to connect with your contact or find out more yeah best way for me is my email which is boris b-o-r-i-s at my my ceo.com uh or you can obviously look me up on linkedin my information is there and feel free to uh send me a message those are the best ways all right well i definitely encourage people here to reach out connect and otherwise uh get engaged because it's certainly an area that can make it or have a big impact with your business as you said the employees can be your your greatest asset or your greatest detriment so with that thank you again for coming on the podcast it's been a fun it's been a pleasure now for all of you that are listeners uh make sure to click subscribe make sure to click share make sure to leave us a review because we want to make sure that everybody finds out about all this uh great uh expertise that's being shared and helping other people our people as they are looking to build and grow their business and on that note if you ever need help with the patents trademarks or anything else to help grow your business we're definitely here to help and you can go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with us to chat well thank you again boris and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last awesome thanks devin bye-bye [Music] you