If you want to create a top-notch culture, you have to recruit a great team of employees.
I’ve got an idea for you that will be really impactful in regards to how much you love your company long term. If you’re proud of what you’ve built, so 10 years from now you absolutely want a place where you love the team, you love coming to work every day, it’s exciting, it’s an idea machine, you guys are leading and moving forward. That’s what everyone wants to create. A lot of that, the way you get there is by creating a top-notch culture. It’s a work in progress. Nobody has all the answers.
The reason I wanted to record this is I feel that for many of us running field-service businesses, lawn care, landscape, tree care, pest control businesses, where the majority of our team is out in the field, many of us hear of the idea of culture and we think, “Oh, that’s interesting.” Maybe we don’t think about it at all or we think, “It applies but not quite the same way it does at a company where I have 5, 20, 100 people in an office environment.” The reality is it applies exactly the same way. They just happen to be outside your office. They don’t come into an office every day.
If you’re not quite familiar with what culture might mean you might think of it this way. You could think of it as words. What describes your company? Is your company one where there’s a serious level of trust, where your team trusts you to take care of them, your team trusts you to build a great company, to take great care of the client, to always be able to listen to their input and take it?
As another example, are you a learning environment, one where you set the tone and you’re constantly learning and growing and you’re training and teaching? The team’s doing the same. They’re becoming better and better at what they do. Are you a hard-core sales environment, high-commissioned, predominately commissioned sales environment, hard-charging environment, or are you more of a consultive selling-type environment? Is it a fun place, an intense place, a very serious environment? When it comes to customer service, are you sort of, “Mr. Client, this is how it is,” or is it more an empathetic approach, there’s more empathy involved?
Culture is your beliefs, it’s your behaviors, it’s how you communicate, it’s how you treat your people, it’s how you deal with and treat your team and your employees, or your team being your employees, and your clients. There’s more to it than that. If you’re not familiar, it would be worth looking it up and reading about it a bit. My point here is that you don’t want to underestimate this, because what you do and how you treat your people will determine what kind of company you end up with and what kind of people you attract.
As I said, I think one of the most important things to keep in mind is, are you creating something that 10 years from now you’re going to be super proud of and you’re going to want to come to the office and work there? In the very beginning it starts with you. You’re the leader. You sort of set the culture. If you’re an angry, unhappy person, if you yell and scream, or if you’re nice and empathetic and you help people, and you care about your team, and you invest in your team and you try to help them, and you set a good example on the phone when dealing with clients, well, you’re going to probably attract people similar to you.
People are going to model you because that’s what they’re going to believe the expected behavior is, and that’s going to be the initial tone or culture of your company. Later, as you bring managers into the company, and they’re in the leadership position, what they do is going to enhance your culture, or it’s going to tear down your culture, or transform your culture. If you’re bringing people that don’t really fit with your vision and your values you’re going to slowly erode the culture. One day you’ll wake up and have a business that you don’t love and you really would like to sell because it’s not a place you want to be.
Everybody’s culture is different, there’s no one way, but if you don’t have a great, strong culture and you’re bringing people into that culture that fit within the company, fit within that culture, and getting the people out of the company that don’t fit, well then you’re going to have problems. It’s going to be difficult to build a highly productive company. It’s going to be more difficult to recruit.
These are really important things to think about. It’s not a new concept. I just want to make the important point that even though half your team, or more 75% of your team, is outside the office they, too, are part of the company just like everyone else, and there is still a culture. How you deal with the client in the field, how they grow within the company, how you take care of them, it all applies exactly the same way. Don’t underestimate that if you have in the past.
If you’re small you’ll be happy that you thought about this when you were young in business and that it became part of your company and you worked on it, because as you get bigger, if you’re not there yet, you’ll quickly realize your number one most important activity is recruiting and building the team, and finding the right people and making sure only the right people get on the team and the wrong people get off the team, and then creating a culture that is a place where people want to work and you can find more of them, and it’s easy to attract people.
That is your top, top responsibility if you buy into the idea that your goal is to build a company where everybody else eventually is doing the majority of the work. It doesn’t mean you don’t do anything, it just means that you’re no longer the bottleneck. You’re no longer the main person. You want to build a company that’s capable of achieving that. People are the key to that. Having a great place to work is the key to getting the right people and keeping them.