How Culture Plays a Role in Business Success

If you were to ask 100 employees working for 100 different employers, “What is company culture?” you might get 100 different answers. In simple terms, company culture is “a shared set of values, beliefs, and attitudes that make up an organization,” according to Builtin.

But because of differing priorities, industries served, and employees hired, culture varies from company to company. Every business has its own unique ways of doing things, and every owner/CEO/manager has a different leadership style, which dictates the ways in which employees behave. 

The Importance of Culture

A strong, healthy, definable culture doesn’t just happen. The most intentional and thoughtful leaders shape culture in a way that retains the best talent, achieves lofty goals, and embodies the company’s values.  

This is how David Pfosi, owner of Edge Construction, runs his company. He is aware the construction industry can sometimes be known for “yelling and screaming and dirty language,” but wanted to bring a higher degree of professionalism to his clients. He believes this gives his business a competitive edge (no pun intended). 

In a recent podcast episode, David spoke with Michael Ashford, Director of Marketing at The Receptionist, and offered some insight into how he manages his culture.

Clients are, of course, central to his business, but so are his employees. During his time in the corporate world prior to starting Edge Construction, David managed a team of more than 50 people and learned a lot about how leaders should treat their employees if they want to achieve the organization’s goals. 

Ways to Inspire a Strong Culture

David has a specific idea of the type of leader he wants to be and the culture he wants in his organization. And David puts in the work to make it so. 

During the 30-minute podcast episode, David was candid about his leadership style and explained the major pillars of shaping culture as he sees them. 

Communicate Goals Clearly

Perhaps one of the most important tasks a leader has on their plate is reaching certain organizational goals, which may relate to revenue, customer satisfaction, cost savings, or a host of other potential outcomes. 

However, these goals are meaningless if they aren’t communicated to every employee at every reasonable opportunity. 

“Goals should flow down to every person on the team,” David says, and managers should explain how the goals help the individual, the company, and even the industry as a whole. “Give the full story and not just marching orders.”

Without insight into the company’s targets, you’ll likely get a lot of people chasing their own definition of success, which can spread resources thin and ignore the most important strategic tasks that need to be done. Taking the time to communicate goals clearly and frequently helps people align their daily activities and duties with those of the company. It’s important to communicate, not just so people can be on the same page, but so “everyone understands why we need to be on the same page,” David believes.

Treat People with Respect

One tenet of culture David prioritizes is respect, which is one of our core values at The Receptionist. Respect includes his employees, of course, but also extends to his clients. “I’m big on professionalism and respect,” he explains, which may be a result of his time in the Marine Corps. As such, when his employees show up to projects, they adhere to those expectations. And the reviews from customers reflect that commitment. 

The respect goes both ways, of course. David’s expectations that employees treat clients with respect come directly from the top. “I’ve had bosses that yelled and screamed at me,” he mentions, “and I never wanted anyone who worked with me to feel that.” This stellar display of empathy clearly has an impact on his workers. 

Prioritize Learning

“Being a good leader and having a nice respectful place where you can gain knowledge is important to me,” David says. 

Every employee at Edge Construction is required to read a book on delegation, which explains how to delegate effectively while also teaching them how to receive a specific style of delegation. This way, when he gives someone a task, they understand exactly why he’s communicating the way he is. 

In addition to the required reading, he supports his employees by finding out what their professional goals are, and then clearing a path for them to actually achieve those goals. With the understanding that by supporting an individual in that achievement, they may eventually move on to another team or even company, forcing him to backfill a role, David still believes in continued learning.

For example, if someone is looking to expand their skill set, the business benefits by investing in that employee’s continued learning. In David’s view, “nine times out of ten that benefits the business.”

Look Out for People

Many of us have experienced a toxic culture—or, at the very least, toxic behaviors from coworkers. That’s the opposite of the culture David wants in his organization. 

“I don’t want anyone who works for me to be miserable,” David explains. He believes that can lead to bitterness. “That becomes viral and self-replicating,” he says.

However, he knows that “if you do the opposite, you’d be surprised how fast that virally goes through the company.” 

Managing Culture Through Leadership

Culture comes from the top. If leadership behaves in certain ways, they can expect those behaviors—good or bad—to be emulated by employees. Whatever negative actions are tolerated will likely gain traction and continue to spread. However, if leaders model the culture they wish to have in their organization, they raise the bar for everyone.  

“I pride myself on being—hopefully—a good leader,” David says. His actions are aligned with his desire to model the culture he wants, and it shines through in his business outcomes, proving that culture plays a large part in overall success. 

Find The FABRIC podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and everywhere you find podcasts. Watch the full video here.



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