When it comes to creating a great company culture, the question I am most often asked is “Where did you start?
Afterwards I had an AMA session with them, and this question again came up: “How did you start? What was the first thing you did at Roma Moulding?”
I will tell you what I told them.
Four years ago, on March 1, 2011, I realized that we needed to overhaul the culture at Roma Moulding because it was not inspiring or fun. Once you realize you want to change your culture, the first and most important step you can take is to get to know your team. Your team is only as strong as your weakest member, so be honest with yourself, who is showing up every day on your team?
Do I know everybody by name? What do they like? What do they dislike? What is their role within our company? What do they value? What challenges do they have in their every day life? What does winning look like to them?
In our quest to build the world’s most epic company culture, we needed to first discover who was on our team.
So the very first thing we did was send out a company-wide email, asking our team to list what they valued (confidentially) in their respective lives. The emails from our team flooded in and included 284 values, which was great! But a bit too many to work with, so we scaled the list to 100 and then sent that back to our team for feedback. There are five different ways to say trust, so scaling wasn’t too difficult at this stage. After that we took it down to 25, repeating the process, asking our team for their input, what resonated with them.
Eventually we created a list of 10 committable family values by the people, for the people, keeping in mind that as CEO you set the pace for the company, and those values need to speak to who you are as well.
That was the beginning of it all. We had a foundational structure. Once we had those core values, suddenly the culture became about our team. And what happened very quickly was that people began to hold themselves accountable to those core values.
That was four years ago, and now we hire and fire team members based on those values. They are our guiding principles. Our benchmark for everything we do, and everyone we work with, from customers to suppliers to vendors. And for our team members we now do core value assessments to benchmark performance, not performance appraisals.
Today, we are proud of our values! At Roma we are all doing our best every day to live and breathe our culture. Our values are prominently featured on our website, on the walls of our office, and they are on a picture frame on everyone’s desk. They help guide us in all we do.
And here they are! (please click the link of each value if you want to see the Roma values in action!)
Recently Roma Moulding was featured in The Institute for Inspired Organized Cultures as a culture role model for the month of July, and I believe our differentiator is our core values, because it is those core values that truly tell the Roma story!
Whether you know it of not, your company right now has a culture with values. Conversely, It might not be exactly what you want it to be, but the good news is you can shape it!
Ask yourself, do the people on your team have core value or guiding principals? If not, its okay – Try the exercise and see the results for yourself!