Do you believe the old adage that people are your number one asset in the business? If so, your company culture is a close second. Your company’s culture is the determining factor in how motivated your people are on a consistent basis as they struggle through tight turn times, supply chain challenges, and labor shortages.

    Culture is made up of direction, purpose, pride, and identity, where all participants feel part of something bigger. They belong to something, and it belongs to them. It is important to have the culture defined so people know what they belong to.

    Direction & Purpose

    The vision, SMAARRT goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Agreed upon, Reasonable, Relevant, and Time Frame), and action plan that make up the company strategy should be very clear and constantly refined and reviewed.

    Individuals at all levels display and share their enthusiasm for the vision of the company, and belief in where you are headed.

    The culture requires people who adhere to a consistent system, yet gives people freedom and responsibility to work within the framework of that system without someone standing over them or looking over their shoulder at all times.

    The individuals and departments are willing to take risk and try new approaches. Set up individual and company success celebrations when SMAARRT goals are met or significant actions are completed.

    Pride & Identity

    The adage with which we started — “people are your number one asset” — is actually wrong. The right people are your most important asset.

    When the culture is properly aligned, there are high expectations and standards of performance that are consistently raised to ensure you recruit and retain the right people.

    Compensation is not used to “motivate” the right behaviors from the wrong people, but to attract and keep the right people. Challenge, opportunity, and development are used to motivate. Sustained great results depend upon building a culture full of self-disciplined people who take disciplined actions consistent with the business strategy.

    But the culture is not just about action. It is about getting disciplined people — with a common set of values — who engage in disciplined thought who then take disciplined action.

    How to Make It Happen

    There are several ways to start your journey to define a new culture or strengthen an existing one. Get the individual leaders outside the environment — even if it’s just walking around the parking lot — and have a conversation. The key is to listen more by asking more and deeper questions.

    You can also organize smaller teams to tackle a specific issue, or to identify issues that need to be solved. Develop a flight path of actions that will be taken during the next 30, 60, and 90 days with a clear outcome that wants to be reached.

    Conducting individual employee interviews, launching voice of the employee surveys, or developing 360-degree leadership assessments can also be used.

    The key is to start, and to start with a small, committed group of leaders and front-line employees.

    Bruce Gresham and the team at AppliedVisionWorks help business owners and teams reach their goals faster. Learn more at, or connect via e-mail at

    This article originally ran in the September/October, 2021 issue of Mailing Systems Technology.