The Power of Company Culture Book Cover

The Power of Company Culture in an Era of Full Employment

Company culture has always been important. But never more so than now: with a tight job market teamed with a generational shift, employees are increasingly looking for far more than just a paycheck.

So now’s the perfect time to think about how you use words to express your company’s culture. ABL Member Chris Dyer is the CEO of PeopleG2 – a background checking and executive screening firm, the host of TalentTalk – a weekly podcast & radio show focused on company culture and employee engagement, and author of the new business bestseller, The Power of Company Culture: How any business can build a culture that improves productivity, performance and profits.

What sets The Power of Company Culture apart from other books on the subject, is the firm foundation Chris pours out on how to go about building (and reinvigorating) a company’s culture, which Chris defines as “the combination of the easily seen ideals, such as vision statements and values, combined with the harder-to-see norms, behaviors, languages, beliefs, and systems.” In this post, we’re going to focus on those foundational Statements of the company’s beliefs.

Values, Mission, and Vision Statements

Since his book isn’t just to be read, Chris gives examples of powerful Values, Mission, and Vision Statements so his readers can write or revise their own company’s Statements to be more meaningful for today’s workforce and customers. So that’s what we at ABL Organization did! For starters, Chris sees a Values Statement as an expression of an organization’s philosophical beliefs, from which a common culture develops. For example, Adobe’s is: “Genuine. Exceptional. Innovative. Involved.” ABL’s Tech Member Jeff Broudy, CEO of PCIHIPPA, shared that their company’s is “ACE.” Everyone in the company – including the phone rep hired yesterday – when asked, “What does ACE stand for?,” enthusiastically responds: “Amazing Customer Experiences.”

Based on feedback from several of ABL’s Bay Area Round Table Members, ABL’s revised Values Statement is “Collaborative, Confidential, Provocative Member Experiences.”

Chris defines a company’s Mission Statement as the goal-oriented definition of what a company strives to do. One example of a succinct mission statement is TED’s (of TED talks): “Spread ideas.” ABL’s mission statement reflects what we do, “Providing confidential forums where senior executives share insights, best practices and connections accelerating the growth of their Healthcare and Tech Businesses.”

Chris describes the Vision Statement as the result sought from achieving that mission. For example, IKEA’s vision is “To create a better everyday life for the many people.” ABL’s new one is, “Providing Insights, Connections and Experiences That Help Our Members Achieve Their Strategic Goals.”

Taglines

A natural outgrowth of discussing more formal Values/Mission/Vision Statements with ABL Members evolved into one about “Taglines” – a company’s catchphrase or slogan. Several really great ones came to mind, like: Disneyland’s “The happiest place on earth.” ABL Member, Cornerstone’s “realize your potential.” And another Member, Kaiser Permanente’s “Thrive.” And, ABL has just morphed from “What’s Keeping You Up Nights?” to “Connect. Learn. Grow. Succeed.”

The best of these slogans encapsulate both the company’s internal attitude about what they’re delivering, and how they want their customers – or target market – to feel about them. A recent example, like it or not, is the latest installment in Nike’s “Just Do It.” campaign, featuring controversial quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, with the caption, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” It was a bold move, since immediately following the ad’s introduction, the stock fell 3%. But, it was aimed at their core market: social justice-conscious, 18-29-year-old athletes. And it resonated with them. Within a couple of days, their e-commerce sales were up 31%, and Nike’s stock hit an all-time high. Clearly the world saw that Nike just did it.

It may well be time to take another look at how you express your organization’s Values, Mission, Vision – and your tagline. Ideally you’ll be using words that resonate, motivate and inspire your employees and your customers.

by Mimi Grant, President, Adaptive Business Leaders (ABL) Organization – Round Tables and Events for CEOs of Technology and Healthcare Companies