Taking Technology Further
default-header.jpg

Leadership Blog:
A High Performance Culture

SUBSCRIBE

How Do You Create a Strong Culture?

by Jeff Gau on September 8, 2017

To mark six years of my Leadership Culture Blog, I thought I would try something new – a live streamed video blog. I’ve done lots of videos, but this time we were live and unscripted.

At Marco, we’ve built a culture around high performance, keeping score and attracting and retaining good people. So, in case you missed the live video, here’s the recording with Sara Lommel, our director of human resources, joining me for a conversation on building an effective culture.

undefined

Every company claims to have a good culture, but few can actually prove it. This year marked our 29th annual employee survey that helps us validate our culture. It identifies opportunities for us to improve and confirms the things we should keep doing. 

Here’s what we’ve learned:

  • Performance matters.
    In my opinion, the foundation for a good culture is strong, consistent financial performance. If you’re not performing financially, it’s very difficult to gain traction with the soft things. There seems to be something people like about working for a growth company versus a stagnant company.
  • Endorse and share.
    A set of shared beliefs and expectations define a culture. Our vision, mission and value statement need to be more than something we hang on our wall or post on our website. You actually need to be accountable by endorsing and communicating them. At Marco, this starts on day one during new employee orientation. And it continues in all customer presentations as well as in customized employee training such as Business Ethics, Finance 101 and LEAN continuous improvement, to name a few.
  • It goes beyond employees.
    Our culture starts with our team members, but it also needs to be felt by our clients, our vendors and communities. At Marco, we’re becoming more deliberate on how our culture is shared with each of them. For example, every client presentation incorporates some of the elements that contribute to Marco being a great place to work.

  • Share it in new ways.
    We continue to explore new ways to share our culture with our employees, our clients, our vendors and our communities. In the past year, we started a Culture Squad, led by two of our millennial team members, to help bring our culture to remote offices and new markets. You can feel our culture when you walk through the doors of our corporate office. Our goal is to have this same feel in all our locations.

Building and sustaining an effective culture isn’t easy, especially as a growth company. Replicating this in all markets is one of our top corporate initiatives in 2017 and will be again in 2018 – it’s a work in progress. Selfishly, building a good culture has helped us attract and keep good people, which contributes to a high-performing company.

Learn More About Networking Services 

Topics: Leadership, Culture, Work-Life Balance, Professional Development

How Do You Create a Strong Culture?

To mark six years of my Leadership Culture Blog, I thought I would try something new – a live streamed video blog. I’ve done lots of videos, but this time we were live and unscripted. At Marco, we’ve...Read more

A Look Back at 6 Years

Time flies when you’re … writing a blog. It’s hard for me to believe that I’ve committed to writing this bi-weekly blog on leadership, growth and culture for six years now. I remember writing the...Read more

Leader to Follow: Trevor Akervik

The best leaders I know are masterful at execution. Trevor Akervik is one of those guys. Trevor currently serves as our Senior Sales Director of Managed Services. He led the development of our...Read more

Have You Lost Your Mojo?

There are times when we feel like everything is heading in the right direction. Our work is rewarding and we’re enjoying time outside of the office. Then, we hit a slump. We lose our mojo – our...Read more

Plan B Is OK

We like to think that as organizations we can execute on our primary plan (Plan A) and strategies and get the results we’re looking for. Sometimes it doesn’t happen that way. Then we turn to Plan B...Read more

What I Liked About Iceland

My job gives me the opportunity to travel all over the world from New Zealand to Argentina. But there was something special about a recent trip I took to Iceland that was purely for pleasure. It’s a...Read more

Becoming Fast Followers

I was recently asked, “Who do we follow?” It was a challenging question. It’s common to follow the top organization in your industry or maybe even the competition. But as a company, we really...Read more

Leader to Follow: Steve Gau

I get to work with some pretty amazing leaders every day who continue to help me grow. I have been profiling a few of them in this Leaders to Follow series. Today I get to talk about the leader that...Read more

Hiring Sales: Finding the Right Fit

People at Marco often hear me say “Not much happens around here until we sell something.” As a growth company that uses direct sales as our primary method to drive revenue, it’s essential for us to...Read more

Recruiting Millennials Part 2: Qualities that Attract

What makes a millennial want to come to work for you or not? It’s a question worth considering when more than one-in-three American workers today are millennials. As I shared in part one in this...Read more

Recruiting Millennials Part 1: The Right Environment

Obviously there has been a lot of discussion about millennials – probably as much as there is about the baby boomers on the other end of the spectrum. As leaders, we know that the future success of...Read more

You Can Max Out as a Leader

Have you maxed out as a leader? It happens. As we get bigger, I see more people max out as leaders. Not everyone can scale with the operation. It’s a documented management concept called the “Peter...Read more

Leadership Defined: Size Matters

As we prepare to go on our 35th Marco sales incentive trip with our quota achievers next week, I recall my first trip and how much has changed since then. What started as a small group of about 15 of...Read more

Leader to Follow: Barry Opatz

Three decades ago, Barry Opatz came to work for Marco with his first order of business: Develop a new logo to reflect our brand. At that time, office furniture and supplies were the biggest drivers...Read more

What I Learned at Barrett-Jackson

I recently returned from the Barrett-Jackson car auction in Scottsdale, Arizona. It’s a trip I look forward to every year. What started as an opportunity for me to connect with a co-worker on our...Read more

LEADER TO FOLLOW: SCOTT ROEDER

I’ve had the privilege to work alongside a team of really great leaders at Marco. We’ve had a successful run because of the attributes that each brings to the team. They have taught me a lot about...Read more

What Does it Take to Get Hired?

Job openings hit an all-time high in the United States last year and 2017 is predicted to be the best job market in years – especially for experienced workers. Millions of jobs reportedly went...Read more

Making Strategic Planning Matter

It’s planning season here at Marco for fiscal year 2017, which reminded me of what separates a good year from one that goes down in the record books. Most people would say a great year is exceeding...Read more

How to Find Team Fit

I like to interview job candidates for certain positions within our company. I am pretty focused on one particular criteria: team fit.  Team fit is one of the most important aspects of success...Read more

Replicating Our Culture

After acquiring more than 30 companies, one of the most important things we have learned is that growth is more than a sales revenue number. It’s also about replicating our culture and brand in our...Read more

Why Our Employees Love to Volunteer

On any given day, you will find Marco employees volunteering in the community. Some spend a day volunteering their time to help a local cause - cleaning, painting, packing or building. Some serve as...Read more

The Sale of Our Company: One Year Later

It’s hard to believe it’s been a year ago already since we made our boldest move: Selling our company to Norwest Equity Partners (NEP), a leading investment firm headquartered in the Twin Cities. We...Read more

We’re Not Very Good at Hunkering Down

“It’s time to hunker down.” As leaders, we have all heard it and experienced situations when the impulse is to pull back and cut back. At Marco, we’ve learned that we’re not very good at that. When...Read more

Inside our Tech Tradeshow at U.S. Bank Stadium

Last week, I stood on the end zone of the U.S. Bank Stadium, the new home of the Minnesota Vikings, to kick off Marco’s Technology Tradeshow. We rented out the entire stadium to host nearly 700...Read more

Why We Make Time for Personal Retreats

Retreats are common in business today to talk strategy and have more thoughtful discussions about the future. Most often when you hear the word retreat, it involves at least several people and often...Read more