I’m pretty excited about the new tool we are using in our office called Propfuel. Look it up at propfuel.com. We have always felt we have a great culture in our office. It was never really defined, it just was. Things came together like a mixed-up recipe and it worked. When others asked about it or we interviewed prospective new team members, it was hard to describe.
We could share examples or things we did as a group as it related to our work, play, process etc. However, it was never written down. Again, it just was. Those that had been with us for a long time knew what we were, how we worked and most importantly WHO we were. But as we grew, new team members added, some moved away and the acquisition of a Richmond office began to dilute what our history of culture had been.
New members had ideas of what it was like with their previous employer. The Richmond office had its own rich culture developed over 35 years, but it wasn’t OURS.
How do you get everyone back on the same page as to our brand, our processes, our way of doing business, our EVERYTHING?
I knew we needed to have something written down. Something tangible and solid that we could refer to. A guide but not a list of RULES written in a handbook. We needed a set of Core Values.
The Core Values needed to be what the entire team saw that IONIC was...not what I, the ‘boss’...(by the way I hate that title. I work with you. My job is just different) wanted the firm to be. It needed all of the team to share in the thoughts of WHO we were. The Core Values needed to be the foundation of our Culture Statements.
The first step: Everyone provided (anonymously) what they felt IONIC embodied. And yes, even where we came up short. Knowing our weaknesses is important, too.
Second: All those phrases, words and snippets were combined into similar topics and shared on each office's big wall-sized white boards.
Third: Everyone was encouraged to critique, edit, filter, define and amend each of the topics. This “sharpening of the iron” began to divulge where we stood. WHO we had become as IONIC. And most importantly, what was important to each of us.
Last Step: The final step was to formalize these into statements and post them in each office. Something that we could finally USE to describe us.
BUT, before we did that, I felt we needed to continue the open form of communication that we started before launching this. I felt we were always transparent about the firm as it relates to work load, financial health, future goals and endeavors, but I also often felt it was just ME talking (preaching) and I wasn’t really getting any feedback for whatever reason.
Enter Dave Will and Propfuel. I had followed Dave on the EO Podcast and listened to his interviews of so many different entrepreneurs. I was always inspired by the discussions.
Dave created a new software tool that helped define and build upon the company culture. OUR culture. Dave and I had running in common. We met for the first time at the regional EO NERVE event in Florida and went running early in the morning. It was great. We shared each other’s histories and businesses. Our successes and, of course, our failures. All of it forms who we are. We must learn from our mistakes to grow from them.
So during a run, Dave shared Propfuel with me. A business tool that allows leadership to get valuable insights into the team. A platform that allows the team to share, both openly and privately. It not only promotes feedback but encourages recognition. We forget about that too often.
We started Propfuel last week and have begun to share.
Is it tough to hear criticism? Of course.
Do we want to be a better company? OF COURSE!
Do we want to enjoy our work? Absolutely!
Is it great to see others give “props” to one another and support each other? Undoubtedly, one of the best things!
I look forward to sharing our successes with Propfuel and watching how our communication grows and strengthens our Culture and Core Values. If you would like to ask me about it, please write me. I’d love to share. I’d be glad to introduce you to Dave. He’s a great guy and runs marathons, too! To research on your own, check out their website: Propfuel.com
Watch for more updates as we progress.
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IONIC Vision: Creating Places and Spaces that Enrich the Lives of Those Who Use Them.