Are Your People the Difference?

By Bill Kaiser, Senior Consultant

I just returned from a speaking opportunity at a conference hosted by a very successful roofing material company. They gathered their top roofing contractors from around the country to celebrate and reward their performances in 2018 – specifically for buying/using a great deal of their product.

The general manager of the host company started off the conference with an interesting PowerPoint presentation (I know, often an oxymoron) recapping 2018 and forecasting 2019. He discussed numbers, trends, innovative products, and his staff. He then introduced the company president to speak to the honored guests. 

He gets it

Rather than diving in deeper to products, numbers, and industry trends, the president chose to speak to his favorite slides – the ones with pictures of the staff. He reminded everyone that regardless of their industry-leading innovation and above-average results, the real difference and the obvious reason for their success, are the subjects of those photos. Their people.

It’s said all the time

Back in my insurance sales days, many a finalist meeting (we called them broker beauty pageants) would end with the question, “What’s different about your company? Why should we choose you?” That’s when I would dim the lights, play spa music, release some doves, and reply, “It’s our people!” We all say it, right? And even though I mock the answer, it’s the right one . . . if it’s authentic!

Your culture is the proof

For those of you regular HPC blog readers, you know that culture describes “the way things work around here.” Specifically, it’s the behaviors of our people on a day-to-day basis. You’ve seen us write that in today’s highly competitive and commoditized world, our products and services aren’t sustainable differentiators. They can be too easily copied. But what can’t be copied is how our people act and behave. It’s our only true sustainable differentiation and our distinct competitive advantage. 

So, if our culture is defined by our behaviors, doesn’t it make sense to be more intentional with how we define, drive, and leverage our culture? If we want to run longer distances or improve our times, we need to lace up the sneakers and spend more time on the road or treadmill. If we want to get stronger and leaner, we need to hit the gym and put more iron on the rack. And if our people are truly going to be the difference and “out act and behave” our competition, then we need to intentionally and systematically work on it.

Get started today

Our Fundamentals System™ is the footprint for your Culture Workout plan. But like any new exercise routine, keep it simple to start. We often say that if you focus on steps 1 & 2 of the 8-Step framework, you’re 85% of the way to a higher performing culture.

  1. It starts with clearly defining the employee behaviors that are fundamental to driving your success. Capture in writing the great recipe that has contributed to that success and will help you achieve even higher levels of performance.
  2. Then, start your workout! Develop rituals that make sure you practice these behaviors, over and over and over again.

Your people are the difference. But you have to put in the work to make that claim. Help them be their absolute best and to deliver something memorable to their customers, both internal and external. Your culture plan is the footprint to that end. If you’d like to learn more about how to do that, just shoot us an email, give us a call, or check out our founder, David Friedman’s latest book, Culture by Design. You might also consider joining other leaders who are passionate about their culture at our Annual Summit. We’re here to help.