How We Went From Zero To Winning Culture In 6-Months

Finding the perfect mix of people, output, and culture isn’t as easy as 1-2-3. Surprise! And truthfully, it’s been a bumpy road as our company (and teams) have grown and evolved over the past decade.

This time last year, we found ourselves struggling to build the team we knew we needed to succeed and so we began making changes. Big changes.

Recently “4 things no one has ever complained about at Clearbridge” crossed my desk, and since all 4 were challenges we faced less than a year ago, I couldn’t help but laugh and reflect back.

So here are the 4 things [almost] everyone complained about less than a year ago, and the 3 things we implemented that made all the difference.

4 Things [almost] Everyone Complained About Last Year

A half-humoured suggestion from a Clearbridger for fresh new content on the recruiting site:

Things no has ever complained about at Clearbridge:

1) Being bored
2) Being micromanaged
3) Having to do the same thing over and over again
4) No room for growth

My response:

“I’m certain we’ve heard about complaints about all 4 of these from past employees. I’m convinced however it’s due to fit.

If you don’t look for opportunity, you won’t see it. If you can’t self manage, you will be micromanaged. If you don’t look for ways to automate/scale/improve process, you may find yourself doing the same things over and over and over.

This is a valuable lesson for all of us (myself included). What you don’t look for, you won’t find. What you don’t believe in, you won’t see. What you don’t dream about, you’ll never attain.”

– Ryan Kononoff

3 Tips for Building a Winning Work Culture

1. Hire People That Work For Free

Wait, what? Yes, really. Find people who love their work so much that it spills out into their personal lives. If you’re hiring someone to look after people, find someone who helps people for free in their spare time. If you’re hiring someone in finance, find someone who crunches numbers for fun on the weekend.

If you’re hiring a marketer, hire the one that shows up to the interview with 4 pages of to-do’s for their first day (true story).

2. Hire People That Want To Be Coached

It’s okay to hire know-it-alls (or people with great experience behind them), just make sure they’re not only open to feedback, but thrive on it. The moment we incorporated “coachable” into our hiring criteria, our operating system changed overnight.

We found that our people were happier, more collaborative, and team output went way up.

3. Hire People That “Just Fit”

We’ve all heard of the go with your gut philosophy and we found that this directly applied to recruiting. All too often, if our “gut” wasn’t there with our list of candidates, we became impulsive and settled. And while at the surface this seemed like a good idea, we always found that the wrong hire only created new stress and added additional workload to everyone’s plates.

So we adopted a go with your gut philosophy and if the applicants don’t “feel” right, we keep looking.

What have you implemented in your organization to build great teams and a great culture? Let us know in the comments below!

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