Marcie Zlotnik, Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO of Startex Power, opened up her keynote speech this at a conference I attended with the words “Culture is as important as Cash Flow, Revenue and Customers.” She caught my attention.
Where is the evidence that Culture truly is as important as a business and marketing strategy as driving cash flow, revenues and more and happy customers?
In Marcie’s case, Startex Power has received the J.D. Powers award for Residential electricity in Texas, Houston Business Journal Top 10 Best Places to Work and distinction as one of the fastest growing private companies. She credits her success and the company’s success to the strategy of building a culture that is INTENTIONAL, MEASURED and CONSTANTLY EVOLVING. She ended her speech with a saying, “a satisfied employee pays dividends above and beyond customer service.”
Here are a few others Champions of Culture that have also found success in focusing on building, maintaining and growing their culture:
- Patagonia – Founder Yvon Chouinard built a company that has built a culture of building the best products, causing no unnecessary harm, and using business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis. This not only happens to be their mission statement, it’s built into the fabric of everything they do including their people. What are the results? In this economy, Patagonia is having the best year they have ever had for the second year in a row.
- Whole Foods – John Mackey states that there are those companies and underlying leaders that subscribe, live and continually walk in a conscious capital environment from the beginning. He uses the word “intrinsic”. Great word. These are the leaders that believe that the purpose of business is more important than the profits of business. Hiring employees to fuel a purpose (vs. lure of profits as the end-game) requires a powerful and consistent culture. When I walk into any Whole Foods across this country, I find a consistent and harmonious theme that the people of Whole Foods are cut from the same mold. When I spoke to John, he told me that culture makes good business sense, look at his profits.
What do you think? Do you believe this is true or just Culture Washing? Some marketers would like to say that all of them practice great “branding”, but what does this really mean? We will discuss this and more in future barks. Stay tuned.