What makes company culture

What Makes Company Culture? // eps 44 #InTheLab

This week on #InTheLab I get to talk to Kirstin from Wiegers Financial & Benefits. I’ve talked about them lots over the past year. They do things differently, they aren’t afraid to zag in a market of a lot of zigging going on. They do things like “Wiegers Care For Kids” which this past year raised $225,000 for the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan. They have a very dedicated staff, they seem like a high level sports team. They just click.

I asked Kirstin about culture in the video above and what it’s like working at Wiegers in beautiful Saskatoon.

It’s a “Work hard, play hard” mentality around the Wiegers office

“It’s really hard here some days”, Kirstin says, “it’s a demanding job and you work a lot some days but that’s what makes the fun days so worth it.” They’re a very busy financial and benefits firm that has been doing business in Saskatchewan for over 20 years. Started by Cliff and Deb Wiegers, they’ve built the company from the ground up. It’s truly a Saskatchewan entrepreneurial story.

Start a social committee

Scavenger hunts, dress-up days, office valentines, potlucks, and BBQs just to name a few. The Social Committee collects a fee from every employee (approximately $24 per year) and with it they plan themed days that get the team outside the office and outside their comfort zones!

Unapologetically have fun at work

I thought for sure they would have some pushback from employees who may not think a scavenger hunt is a “professional thing to do” for a business like Wiegers. But Kirstin said everyone loves to be a part of a “fun” office. It allows people to get along outside of the workplace walls, where you can really get to know someone.

we all need balance in life

We all need balance in life

If you expect unbelievable results from your employees you better be able to provide unbelievable culture. All these little “perks” add up to create a career  It’s a lot easier to try and over-deliver at work for a company that cares about you and is willing to   The heavy workloads are followed up with lots of training opportunities and of course all the different team building days they host.

 

The best employers understand what their team values

I think all organizations can learn something from Wiegers. They aren’t the “norm”, they are anything but boring, they care about company culture. If you expect people to perform at a high level day in, day out, you better be prepared to treat them at a high level.

The best employers know what their people value in life

TL:DR

For the cost of $24 per year, the staff pay into a fund that creates the coolest team building experiences possible.

***Side note about teams. I can relate. Every year a Volleyball team of mine doesn’t do so well, it 9/10 is because they didn’t get along good enough. A team that doesn’t get along off the court will never get along on the court. I discovered it the hard way. Don’t make my mistake, make sure your team gets along before playoffs start!

Capital C the Movie

The Sharing Economy: The Biggest Change Since The Industrial Revolution

Presented Nov 24th at the Regina Realtors Association Business builder day. Here are some of the videos we had a look at.
From the documentary on Netflix, Capital C comes the story of “Freaker USA”. One of the coolest Kickstarter success stories.

Freaker Kickstarter from freakerusa on Vimeo.

Next to put into perspective what goes on in a given year of search on Google.


Finally when you get depressed about when someone says something bad to you online watch this:

Country Music artists read out angry tweets written about them.

I don’t think you can find a better song about the new online world. And Alanis Morissette just had a way speaking to my soul. Hope you enjoy!

 

Want to see a brand new website the @Stratlab team just launched? Welcome to Normanview Dental

At Normanview Dental we want to see you smile-dentists regina

remarkable customer service is similar to being a dog

Customer Service Explained By The Friendliest Person In The World || Eps 33 of #InTheLab

  

I’ve only known Maple for a few years, but in that time she’s taught me a life time of lessons on how to treat people. We used to work up above Coda Clothing and shoes. Maple would be working on the floor of Coda when we’d come into work. We’d have to walk past her as we shared an entrance. She was always excited to see us no matter what. She genuinely wanted to get to know you better, it wasn’t fake or contrived, Maple is actually one of the happiest people I’ve ever met. She could keep a conversation going with a mute person!

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Passionate-is-greater-than-professional

Passion > Professional | episode 16 of #InTheLab


In school they tell you to sit in a row, do what your told and don’t question authority. In university they make you memorize material from a previous decade and try to tell you that you have to be professional to make it. It’s implied that you don’t dress like a slob but why is being professional a sought after characteristic?Hoodie culture

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90-percent-of-the-data-in-the-world-today-has-been-created-in-the-last-two-years

9 Lessons Learned Volunteering on Not-For-Profit Boards

1. The world is changing faster than you can imagine.

“Every day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data — so much that 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone.”

-IBM

On a single day on the Internet there are:

  • Over 2 million Google search queries

  • 48 hours of new YouTube videos

  • 684,000 bits of content shared on Facebook

  • More than 100,000 tweets

  • $272,000 spent on e-commerce

  • Source: Webopedia

If you disappeared tomorrow, who would miss you? What distinct advantage does your organization create? Why is your mission a noble cause? Ask these questions early and often or else you may find your organization obsolete. To the Not-for-profits that take advantage of the changing online landscape and embrace technology your audience will adore you and you will attract a new smarter customer who (if you do your job right) becomes a loyal evangelist.

2. Every year, every month, every day, people have less attention than they did last year, last month, and yesterday. How are you getting peoples’ attention?

There’s a new not-for-profit starting up tomorrow who’s mission is better than yours, who help more people than you and who can do what you do for cheaper. What are you going to do about it? How will you stand out? How will you be remembered? How do you get to the point where people seek YOU out? If you don’t standout you definitely aren’t going to be remembered. You need to create a “Social Object” that people can associate with your cause.

3. You’re only as smart as the feedback you’re getting.

Not-for-profits are really bad at this. Trying to get feedback as an organization is a very forward thinking endeavour. Not-for-profits are not very forward thinking entities(rash generalization but true). Every year they talk about what they did last year and how well it went. No critical breakdown of what happened, no holding people accountable to goals set last year, and no wants to change in the future to get better. It’s that last part that bothers me the most. Because these aren’t profit generating entities it doesn’t make sense to adapt and innovate and strive to lead a market.

The only thing more risky than changing is staying the same.

The only thing more risky than changing is staying the same.

Everything about business is changing at an alarming rate right now, your only hope in survival is ensuring you’re getting feedback from your customers and employees.

Since we were children, feedback has been the only way we learn. Why is that any different for not-for-profits? You need a feedback strategy, and an honest one. If you have a 56 Question Questionnaire providing your feedback for you, just know you’re basing your information on the sick twisted person that would fill out a 56 question Questionnaire.

4. You can’t change what people say about you, but you can influence it.

“Branding” in 2014 is what people say about you behind your back. As a Not-for-profit if your members smile to your face but bad mouth you behind your back that’s a terrible brand. If you have complete board turnover every year that’s bad. IF you have past board members that refuse to be contacted, that’s bad!

Your reputation precedes you. Google your name, what comes up? You have a personal brand whether you like it or not, most people don’t understand they can influence it if they want to. Not-for-profits usually have an advantage here, your reputation is what you’ve done, the people you’ve helped and the impact you’ve created. The RedCross is one of the most recognized “brands” in the world and I would argue it has nothing to do with their messaging (though the logo is pretty ubiquitous), it has everything to do with their impact. Otherwise when you see the infamous Red “+” sign you wouldn’t immediately attribute positive characteristics.

5. Face the brutal facts. 

Yes this is stolen from Jim Collin’s book Good To Great. You must face the brutal facts about your organization and marketplace. People don’t have time to care about your organization, no one does. You have to pitch why your not-for-profit matters. I’ve been on a board where we only talked about the good things we did, how great every event was, and never brought up any criticism or created an urgency to get better.

Confront the hard facts, the longer you put off the truth the worse it gets when it finally becomes a reality. Business changes, Not-for-profits change. The only ignorant thing to do is assume we know what we’re doing and not seek out feedback.

What if we don't change at all and something magical just happens?

6. You can tell people’s priorities by the way they allocate their resources (time, money).

I’ve met people who give their time selflessly year in and year out. I look up to these people, they truly understand priorities in life. They put relationships before money. People before work and organizations over themselves. These people are the builders of our communities. You have no idea how much these selfless people have given in time to ensure that people they don’t even know get to enjoy (insert community event, sports team, or club here). From Brownies and Scouts to Hockey and Basketball organizations, boys and girls clubs and sports clubs. The one thing they have in common is people like you and me built them.

The unsung heros are the people who tirelessly volunteer their time to work, coach, organize, plan and do all the things that it takes to make Not-for-profits tick. If you meet someone who’s been a part of a Not-for-profit for a while just assume they’re amazing, you have no idea how much they’ve given.

If you want to find out about someone’s work ethic ask somebody they volunteered with on a board or an organization. Reputations go a long way. I find myself recommending people I’ve volunteered with and coached with a lot. You trust someone on another level when you know they believe in giving their time back to help others.

7. At any given moment, one or a few people can ruin it for everyone, you must ignore past these people.

People love to complain. You have to constantly remind yourself that it’s easy to be a critic and it’s hard to take negative feedback and actually act upon it. On volunteer boards I find this to happen a lot. People LOVE to complain without offering any other solutions. People love to tell you you’re wrong. People love to say “it won’t work”. You have to ignore these people.

Create a culture of proactive feedback, never are you allowed to say “I don’t like it this way!” without providing another plausible way.

8. There’s nothing more important than having a clear vision that everyone understands.

Those who built the visionary companies wisely understood that it is better to understand who you are than where you are going – for where you are going will almost certainly change.

-Built to Last by Jim Collins & Jerry I. Porras

Many business folks I’ve met underestimate the power of a vision. But most companies try to explain “everything we’re good at” without “pissing some department” in their mission statement. Effectively making it useless. Einstein said you only truly know a subject when you can explain it to a six year old. that’s my philosophy when it comes to your organizations vision, simply down to a few words that you could explain to a six year old. 

Examples:

Regina Volleyball Club: Lets grow Volleyball

University of Regina Alumni Association: Build Pride 

Regina Police Service: Public Servie First

Creative Options Regina: Gentle teaching

9. Fun can be a competitive advantage.

In the future the best organizations will have done the most important thing, attracted the best people. To attract the best people you have to have an amazing cause, but not just that, you have to create a work environment that people would seek out. A workplace to love. People will take a pay cut and make other sacrifices just so that they can work with people they like, and people we like are the people we have the most fun with.

Fun can be a competitive advantage

Fun can be a competitive advantage.

Think about it, at a board meeting have you ever asked: “how could we make our meetings more fun?”. Most don’t bring that up because they still think doing what they’ve always done is enough to attract younger, smarter, better talent. If your meetings are fun it’s going to be easier to attract better people in the future.

If you encourage your employees to have fun more often they will respect the workplace more, tell people about how great it is to work there, and when shit really does hit the fan, employees you’ve encouraged to have fun will be there for the organization. It’s when we’re at our worst our allies matter the most. Make strong supporters out of your members, encourage them to be themselves and have fun.

Gas station attendant vs fast food restaurant worker

Why McDonald’s is a better first job than working at a gas station

We had this argument the other night.

Which is better at a young age; working at a gas station or working at a fast food restaurant?

My theory goes, at a gas station your job is very transactional. You want to pump gas, pay, and get the hell out of there as fast as possible. Making the working life of a gas station attendant one very lonely job where no one really wants to talk to you (not that it’s your fault).

At a fast food restaurant, McDonald’s till worker for argument sake, you have to interact with customers all day long. You can make people smile, make people laugh and also piss people off. But that’s a great lesson to learn at a young age, how to read and react to people. 

It’s not just reading people and reacting to what they say and do, it’s being self-aware in those situations to know when to step out of what’s expected and do the unexpected. To provide a higher level of customer service is an incredibly valuable skill to learn. A skill that is highly underrated in our world.

It’s hard to over deliver at a gas station, unless you can pump the gas like 8 times as fast, then, ummm yup! You’re on to something big! How else could you over deliver at a gas station though?  This is my justification that working at a service based job at a young age teaches you so much more than simple mathematics, punching buttons on a till and saying thank you, come again (not that there’s anything wrong with a friendly salutation).

Every day someone provides unbelievable service to someone who wasn’t expecting it.

Everyday we all have the chance to over deliver on something, to make someone smile, to make someone’s day. The easier your job allows you to help other people, the happier you’re going to be working for that company.

What do you think? What is a better job, working at a gas station or working at McDonald’s? 

Create holy $!%& moments

Most events aren’t meant to be remembered

that’s why most events aren’t that good. How many presentations, conferences, lecture’s, speeches, keynotes, and guest talks have you been in that have completely bored you to death? It’s become an epidemic, and I hate it.

If you don’t intentionally try to create a memorable event why do you think people will remember it?

 

Start with: why will people remember this? Why will my event be different? How do we get people walking out after the event saying “holy $#!& that was amazing!!”. Maybe therein lies the secret: to create “holy $#!&” moments.

 

Most events aren’t meant to be remembered, but why not? Don’t you want your next event to go down in history as one of the best _________ of all time?

When planning you must ask how are we going to get people to remember this? If you don’t you’re almost guaranteed that people will do the opposite.

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