What Creates Culture?

“Culture is simply a shared way of doing something with a passion.”

– Brian Chesky, Co-Founder, CEO, Airbnb

What creates culture in a workplace? Is it the people who make up the organization, or the service provided? Is it the vision and values posted on the break room wall? More specifically, is it important for a company to have a culture? Does it impact anyone?

One definition of culture from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is, “a set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization”. This seems to be what Brian Chesky is summarizing as he states that culture is a shared way of doing things, with passion.

So why talk about culture in the workplace?

The culture in a workplace has a large impact on both the employees and their customers. Culture can make or break an employees enjoyment of their job. It can motivate them to serve a customer well or not care about a customer at all. It can impact how employees interact with one another. When a company has a good, healthy culture, customers can taste it. They can almost experience it as much as the employees do.

Now I can’t say that we as a company have any of this figured out to-the-T. Over the years we have seen how a vision can create culture. We’ve even seen how one person can create culture or on the flip side, how one person can taint a culture quickly. Either way, we have learned the power of a positive work culture; The power of a group of people with one vision and attitude.

In some ways this has just happened over time at Select Painting, but looking back, there are a few things we can pin point which have created a culture. A positive work environment is absolutely necessary for a companies success.

First, it starts with the right people.

Having conducted hundreds of interviews, we’ve had many interviewee’s surprised at our hiring process. I’ve heard many times people come to an interview and afterwords, are surprised at the questions and intentionality taken. When a potential hire checks off all the pre-requisite questions, and work experience is acceptable, our main focus becomes getting to know them. We have learned that it is most important to bring in people with a solid character, who we can trust and who are passionate about what we are passionate about — serving customers and developing leaders.

Second, we’ve learned to create a pride around the work we do.

Painting takes team work. It takes motivation and grit to work the long hours and finish the tough projects. Through this, painting has this sweet blend of struggles and successes which in the end, leaves employees with a deep satisfaction. Not to mention, there’s a freshly painted house to look at! There’s something about working hard as a team, getting a little dirty, and then at the end of the job stepping back and saying, “Yeah, we did that!”

Creating a pride not just around what we do, but also why we do it creates a culture.

This is probably the biggest piece for us. We are consistently coming back to our vision and values. Our vision for our employees affects the decisions we make. Our vision for our customers affects the way we interact with our customers. Yeah, we talk about what our vision and values are, but the more important questions we ask the team is:

“Where did you see our vision and values being lived out this week?

How are we doing these things well?

What do we need to do differently to live out our vision and values?”

Besides talking about our vision and values, to keep things fun, we have some consistent lingo throughout the company. Having a language brings the team together. From job sites to the office, here is just a few of our catch phrases… (new employees, study up!).

EPR: Ever Present Rag — Always gotta have that on ya!

DORAGI: Do, Observe, Re-demonstrate, Assign, Goal, Inspect — This is our go-to process whenever we train someone on a new skill. Very thorough, very intentional.

Paintin’ What You’re Primin’: Aka, I’m picking up what you are laying down! Aka, got it!

LPs: Ladder Positions — Safety first!

No Holidays!: No missed spots!

QJOBS: Quality jobs on budget

TLGE: Transforming Lives, Growing in Excellence (our vision statement)

And our favorite — Painters Gotta Paint!

Lastly, having one landing place for group communication.

Whether it’s company updates, exciting stories about a favorite customer or employee of the month, or a funny photo from a job, this conversation platform is essential. It brings the team together. There are many apps out there for work place conversations. Culture sustains through this space.

If you’ve made it this far thanks for reading. Hopefully this blog tells you a little more about who we are and what we do, and how important creating a healthy culture is to us. Maybe there is one thing you can take with you to help create culture and unity within your sphere of influence. Here’s one more quote as you go:

“This is not about fuzzy, holding hands around a campfire, kumbaya stuff. That’s not what values and culture and mission is about. This is about building an organization for success. This is about winning. This is about doing the tactical things to make sure your organization and your people are aligned around the same thing.”

— Justin Moore, CEO of Axcient

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