Your approach to culture can say a lot about your business

How do you define the corporate culture in your business?

For many, corporate culture is an abstract and intangible concept. It’s not a number or a score, like a good sales quarter or a positive figure at the bottom of a financial statement. It’s more of a feeling, an instinct, a common way of seeing things among a group of like-minded individuals working toward a goal.

Simply stated, the corporate culture of a business is the shared vision, values, attitudes and character that define an organization. As a business leader, it’s your responsibility to clearly identify your mission and values, and make certain that those principles are incorporated into the company’s organizational structure and business practices.

Leaders must hold themselves accountable in pursuing that vision; only then can it become part of the fabric of your business and be put into practice every day by your employees. A healthy corporate culture can inspire motivation, increase productivity and contribute to an overall sense of satisfaction among your staff.

Truly important

Personal and business values are the heart of a company’s culture. Values are immovable and intertwined in the fabric of each person.

At Jarrett Cos., our core values — character, entrepreneurial spirit, respect, compassion, courage, fairness, excellence and civic responsibility — influence everything about us, reflect what is truly important to us as an organization, and give us a competitive advantage in the industries we serve.

These shared values and attitudes are what we look for when interviewing a job candidate, to ensure that we are hiring great people who will excel in our corporate culture.

To get the right people in the right positions, I like to ask the potential employee “How would you describe your character as it relates to integrity and honesty?” followed immediately by “Why would you describe yourself that way?” It can be an uncomfortable question if the candidate is not prepared.

Asking “Why?” gives you better insight into a person; if they truly possess the traits they’ve just listed for you — honesty, integrity and a good work ethic — they will readily and enthusiastically share stories and examples of overcoming adversity and accomplishing their goals.

They’ll be able to go into detail about their commitment to family, friends and co-workers. You’ll know they are sincere by their body language and voice inflection. The passion they have for their vocation will be evident. This is one of those times where it is just as important how something is said as what is said.

The end goal

When we’ve determined that a potential candidate has these foundation qualities, we know that it will be an easy transition for them to learn the responsibilities of their position and become a productive associate at Jarrett Cos.

They already have the right attitude, professional demeanor and entrepreneurial spirit that we value so highly. We encourage them to initiate creative ways to do their jobs, and never settle for average.

The competition is striving to be great; our goal is nothing short of excellence. A positive corporate culture motivates us to achieve that goal. ●

Michael Jarrett is founder and president of Jarrett Logistics Systems and PackShip USA.