Culture: it’s the buzzword of a workplace suddenly filled with a generation of employees who want to “belong” and to “fit”. There are many, many articles out there about culture: how to recognize it, how to develop it, how to fix it when it’s broken.
At RoboSource, we’re finding the easiest way to learn is by doing. We’ve studied, gathered input, and thought through options. Now it’s time for the rubber to meet the road, as they say. Below is RoboSource’s method for creating a culture that accomplishes our mission.
The Culture Map
Building a culture isn’t done in a day. And it certainly isn’t done without a blueprint. At RoboSource, the culture map is how we convey to each member of our team what our expectations are of them, and what theirs should be of each other. If expectations are to be met, they must be voiced.
This is the visualization of our culture and values. We believe that each piece of our culture is connected—customer service without community or growth falls flat. And community without customers is useless.
We begin with customers, because without them there is no RoboSource. At the top of our customer pyramid is excellence. This means we meet customer expectations by excellently working through the process. At every point, whether in the initial phone call or deep in the process of code-writing, we strive to execute our best possible work. We believe part of excellence is behaving with humility toward customers and their projects, being willing to listen to new ideas, and always being ready to improve our process to serve the customer more effectively.
In addition, our culture is not simply to focus on customers, but to provide uniquely satisfying customer service by making the customer’s focus our own. To be excellent in our work, we must process every decision through the customer’s lens. Why did we make one decision over another? Why did we focus our time on one aspect over another? Our reasoning should always be because it was in the best interest of the customer and to accomplish their end goal in the best way possible. This doesn’t mean we always structure our processes to carry out our tasks exactly the way the customer asks us to, but it means we provide the product the customer wants and needs by leveraging our specialized knowledge on their behalf.
Trust is the glue of the customer relationship. If we don’t consistently do what we say we’re going to do, we will quickly lose customers and business. On the flip side, as we set expectations and consistently follow through to produce an excellent product, we will have satisfied customers and healthy relationships. It’s as true in business as in the rest of life: keeping your word is no small thing.
As we travel around our culture circle, we bump into our community triangle. Customers are what allows RoboSource to exist, but community is what makes RoboSource itself. It’s the internal web that connects us all and holds us together as a team.
In the RoboSource community, we believe faith is vital. Both having faith in our teammates and being worthy of that faith ourselves. We trust that our team members will do what they say they will. We don’t hoard all the responsibility to ourselves, but we work collaboratively to ensure we produce the best product for our customers. It also means we ask questions. A faithless work culture is one where people don’t ask questions of each other. Trust means not only trusting others to get work done, but trusting that they may have knowledge you don’t have and being humble enough to ask for it. And being faithful means exhibiting all those traits yourself toward everyone else on the team.
A community without hope is a community that is ineffective. At RoboSource, we look for things to celebrate. We get excited about birthdays, about finished projects and obscure holidays, and about personal goals being accomplished. We want to be lifelong learners and innovators. We look at the future as something to be hoped for and worked toward, and we celebrate every step taken toward that future.
Love is the grease that makes a community operate smoothly. Love means we communicate humbly, without arrogance or presumption. If your teammate has a question, you answer across the table, not down from an elevated position. We encourage and celebrate service. We want to be watching for ways to serve each other, whether big or small. And we don’t want to serve for the notice we will get, but for the good of the team.
To complete our circle, we focus on growth. Our customers allow us to exist, our community makes us who we are, and growth ensures we stay competitive and don’t become obsolete. In the end, RoboSource is a business. We can’t serve our customers or our team well if we fail to engage in best business practices and don’t make an effort to grow in profit and experience.
If we want to be a profitable business, we must be efficient with our time and resources. They say time is money, and they’re not wrong. By working hard and keeping focus, we can use our time effectively to create output that will please our customers and sustain our business. By being as efficient as possible with our time and our resources, we ensure adequate profit margins and avoid wasting customer assets.
If customers require trust and community requires faith, then growth requires accountability. We must do what we say we’re going to do. Follow-through is the basis of all our success—both relationally and in business. Finishing what we start allows us to build a sturdy business, because each piece is constructed well and completely.
There is a method that allows us to sustain accountability and profitability. We call it “business intelligence.” It means we have a process and we use it. This allows us to repeat successes and define them with accurate metrics. It also allows us to learn from mistakes, giving us the ability to tweak our work. Without process, there is no way to tweak and improve because there is no point of reference.
It’s easy to see the necessity of the circle. The interconnection between customers, community, and growth is undeniable. As we encourage the RoboSource team to embody each of these values, we all strive to remember that one without the others is ineffective. You might be thinking, “It’s a nice map, but how do you practically implement the ideals on it?” It’s a valid question, and one that deserves its own blog, so check back for the answer.
How does your company create culture? What ideals have you found indispensable? Comment below so we can learn together!