WHY CULTURE MATTERS
I couldn’t help but screenshot something on my Instagram feed that is the perfect depiction of why people, families, businesses, sports teams, etc need to have a strong, well-thought-out culture. Why? Because everyone has an opinion. Our different thoughts about all sorts of things have led to incredible creativity and ingenuity in our world. The real question for us in the area of culture is how do we manage all of those differing opinions?
I like to look at it like steadying the ship. We do that with our vast experience. Between Eugene and all of our project managers, we have well over 100 years of experience! That experience leads the way and our culture influences how we do that. The easiest way for me, personally, to explain culture is in sports teams and families.
We can all think of teams that are unsportsmanlike. They hack and commit flagrant fouls. They mouth off to the refs and step on the other team’s players that are on the ground. That’s a culture the coach has either created or allowed.
Then there are teams that play hard and help the other team’s players off the floor. They respect the refs even when there was a bad call. They lead and lead well, many times by example.
Think of meeting your friend’s family for the first time. They are super respectful and are a joy to be around. They sit around the dinner table listening to each other, talking about their day, what’s bothering them, what went well and leaving the table closer than they were when they sat down. That is culture.
People have their own individual cultures too. It doesn’t take long to figure it out either. Businesses have a culture and it’s seen within days of working for that business. Even animals in their herd have a culture. How do we determine our culture? It all started with Eugene. His ethics, morals, and beliefs about doing what is right all paved the way for our culture at Sun Coast.
For us, it comes down to some key things:
About a year ago we hired a business coach for a variety of helpful reasons. The main one was we wanted to grow. It wasn’t until we started hiring key people in the company that I could put my finger dead on our culture: Respect and excellence with a laid-back but driven vibe.
So what can you expect to experience with the culture of our company with a small town feel? First and foremost, respect. There is not a person who works directly for us that is not a respectful human being. Respect wraps around the values of integrity, leadership, humility, and standards. You don’t have to worry about your wife or young daughter alone on the job site. You don’t have to worry about one of our project managers having a bad attitude. If we see a problem with someone we will handle it. Because we have and require respect, we protect our culture. When we do that, we protect everyone involved.
Let’s talk about the excellence piece. Excellence doesn’t mean perfection. We aren’t perfect. It is not until you have to rely on numerous people to do their jobs really well that you understand how difficult this can be.
What we can say is our pursuit of excellence is internal and that is reflected externally by how we behave, how we perform, who we hire, who we keep, and what we expect, allow, and work towards. Our local market dictates this more than we would like at times but the effort is certainly there. We hope all those who work for us leave better people. We hope all those we build for call us friends. That is what culture is for us.
I couldn’t help but screenshot something on my Instagram feed that is the perfect depiction of why.
The facts are we can’t please everyone and I will even go a step further to say, some people can’t and won’t be pleased. So, in our culture, what do we do with that? We’ve chosen common sense and reality: We don’t try. Another, “Wow,” you don’t often hear from businesses.
A former client of ours says it more accurately than I can. As a COO of a large development company, he has discovered over the years there are what he calls the 5%-ers. The 5%-ers are those who can’t and won’t be pleased. They want special treatment. They search for things to be wrong and feel entitled to behave however they feel with no restraint. They try to get out of paying for things they legitimately received. They have a victim mentality. They own their opinions as fact. They threaten. These people are not fun!
What in the world can you do with a person like that? Nothing. So, instead, we work to the best of our ability and let the chips fall where they may. We have to be able to sleep at night knowing we did what we felt was right, probably giving more than we should. In the end, that’s all we can do.