This year marks the 20th anniversary of Management Services Northwest (MSNW). Taking a small cleaning and landscaping company from the living room of my home to a multi state facility management firm has been an exciting journey with many lessons learned along the way. Over this year, I am sharing with you 10 tools that greatly influenced our success, and took our company from ordinary to extraordinary.
Tool #2. Culture is Critical
One of my most important jobs as CEO of MSNW is to create, enable and sustain our culture. When starting out in 1995 I admit not giving a thought to our company culture. Our culture just was, influenced by my vision and values and lived out through the small team I employed. It wasn’t until 2008, after our company had experienced exponential growth, doubling in size in three years and going from 50 to 100 people that I realized it could no longer be about me. Where I used to know every person on my team I suddenly found myself not knowing everyone’s name. It was time to be intentional about creating a company culture.
With the assistance of a branding consultant, we asked ourselves the questions:
Who are we?
Who do we want to be for our clients?
Why do we exist?
What do we value?
How will we differentiate in the marketplace?
In naming our core values and the MSNW way of doing things, we created the culture that would allow us to provide the same customer experience throughout the Northwest Region we serve, from Bellingham to Boise. We hire by these values, recognize when they are lived, and part ways when they are not. It has helped us in our decision making, what paths we will choose or avoid.
Culture is Critical. Enabling an authentic and sustainable culture has made our company extraordinary. Focus on bringing people alongside that value what you value, and live and breathe your company’s mission, and watch the amazing results.
“If you get the culture right, most of the other stuff will just take care of itself.”
– Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com
“Culture can become a ‘secret weapon’ that makes extraordinary things happen. ”
– Jon Katzenbach, Booz&Co