Culture: Does It Really Take You Further?

scheffey team tie dyeIt has only been since the beginning of this year that I have really embarked on this journey of intentionally thinking about our culture. We have casually talked about it as a team, have heard many speak about it, and have read some of the many books and articles available about the topic. And after all that, it’s kinda funny, I still felt that as a leader it was up to me to define and create the perfect culture for our small but mighty agency. Boy…was I a bit backwards!

I found a pretty simple definition of culture that I liked and that wasn’t terribly stuffy or hard to understand. “It is the character and personality of our team.” In many ways, it’s how we treat each other, our clients, and our partners. In other ways, it is really what clients and partners say about us when we are not around. Their experience with our internal culture will determine what they say to others about us. Of course, we all want them to say great things about us in those moments, but do they?

Every organization or business has a culture. It is just a matter of determining whether your culture is productive or toxic. Once you know that, you have to be intentional about nurturing it or making a course correction. Many times, either option can be a difficult road. Do you know what you have? Have you spent time identifying your organization’s culture? We have, and I’d like to tell you what we have found so far as well as a little bit about how we got to this point.

During one of our monthly “SpeedBumps” (a monthly team meeting to slow down and focus on ourselves and our business) I engaged the Scheffey Team on a discovery journey. I simply began by laying out the simple definition of culture, mentioned above, and asked them to start listing all the innate threads that make our team who we are.

By the way, we are not talking about our vision, mission, and values at this moment as that was established prior. While those are great, culture is more about the everyday characteristics and behaviors our team members use to accomplish our work. These can be characteristics we appreciate in ourselves or feedback we hear from our clients or partners.

It wasn’t really rocket science. It was intentionally making the time to engage the entire team, and the key to success was coming to an agreement as a team.

It’s the Scheffey Team’s carry-through of these characteristics that makes our culture great, as all of us bring these similar qualities to our regular work and relationships. But, what are those characteristics that make us feel good when we reflect on our workday or see a client appreciate us more than another agency? Well, here are those everyday things that seem to be ingrained in our team:

    • Respect
    • Cohesiveness
    • Collaborative
    • Focused
    • Driven
    • Transparent
    • Empowering
    • Friendly
    • Active & Healthy

After this very satisfying discussion, we left with a greater sense of awareness – and knowing is half the battle, right? We are now able to better nurture the characteristics that make us stronger. We can also now use these characteristics to better inform and hire future team members, which will, in turn, enhance our agency’s culture.

Remember how I said that as a leader, I felt like I had to identify and create the perfect culture? I already admitted to having that wrong, but a leader can influence culture by listening and living out those characteristics every day in front of their team.

The biggest influence on Scheffey was our President and Founder Scott Scheffey. We will miss him dearly, but anyone who knew Scott well knows that much of our culture is reinforced by his character. After 14 years with Scott, I have come to realize that he helped bring out great characteristics that were already a part of me as much as he helped instill new ones. Sometimes it is just being true to who you really are more than it is creating a specific culture and then finding people who share the same thoughts.

If you can identify with our culture, maybe we should chat about working together…Oh, we know a little bit about marketing, too! If you’d like to experience us living out our culture while working on a marketing plan for your business, give us a call at 717-569-8274 or complete our contact form. We’d love to talk with you!