Here’s another great quote from Sean Gagnon, CEO of The Abs Company…

“The simple act of acknowledgment goes a long way in strengthening culture and letting your team know that they and their work matters.”


There’s a lot to say about the “culture” you build & try to strengthen/maintain in your organization.

CULTURE…it’s the glue that holds your place together.

It’s what makes your people want to work there…

…helps them derive pleasure…

…allows them to be themselves & show their unique personalities…

…gives them a true sense of belonging & ownership…

…promotes a certain bond amongst team members where everyone’s responsible for everyone else & what they do…

…cultivates a belief that your contributions are vital to the overall success of the team/organization…

…and is held dearly by everyone .

It can also be a deadly force.

Either way, it’s incredibly powerful & often times, a key determinant is your, their & the organization’s ultimate success.

And you can’t just ignore it. Make believe it’s not there.

A good buddy of mine recently said, “Culture is way more powerful than strategy!”

The more I thought of it, the more I was totally convinced that it’s absolutely true! It’ll provide that needed boost to allow an organization to produce at a level higher than the collection of its individual components.

It makes you feel at home & enables you to treat others as family…and be treated in a like manner.

And similarly to what I often say about service…“I know it when I see it!”…it may be hard to define or break it down to its core ingredients, but you’ll surely know it when it’s there!

But it needs to be watered & fed regularly…just as it needs to be celebrated & cherished.

You may wanna hold a pot luck or run a contest or do whatever for & with your people.


Just because. Just because you wanna.

That’s as good a reason as any when you have a healthful & vibrant culture.

Never, ever underestimate its importance & all the little things that help to build it up

They may not seem like much, but just put yourself in your people’s shoes.

Recognition for, and acknowledgement of, one’s good work & contributions to the overall success of the organization is truly one of the most important employee needs.

Be conscious of it…take all the blame & dole out all the praise…treat ‘em like you love ‘em!

And because you really do!

There are many, many signs that will clearly indicate just how well (or poorly, for that matter) you & your organization are doing about fostering a vibrant & alive culture, making the work environment a great place to be.

– Attendance: Don’t ever believe that every employee absence is directly related to an existing medical condition that truly prevents them from coming into work.

They’re not all “sick days”.

In fact, many of them could very well be “I’m sick of work!” days.

– Employee retention: People leaving your organization is, perhaps, the most obvious sign.

There are as many reasons for people abandoning ship as there are for why they stay around.

You MUST view each & every departure as a “black eye” for you as a leader & for the organization in general.

Someone got fired (for unsatisfactory performance, excessive absenteeism, insubordination, etc.)? The organization failed to provide enough support & coaching to sufficiently turn them around.

Oh, they were never a good match from Day 1, you say? Who’s fault is that? Did you try to identify a more suitable role within the company?

Leaving for a better opportunity or more money? What are you doing about preparing your people to assume more responsibility? Are they being groomed to take your job? Is your organization/company looking at the TOTAL COST OF EMPLOYEES which, by the way, is NOT just “salaries & fringe benefits”!

You have to add in expenses related to “new hire training”.

You must consider the lower productivity rate & poorer quality you normally receive from new & less-tenured employees than you would from existing, more-experienced workers.

It takes 10 newbies to handle a certain amount of work that usually requires only 7 people. There’s a need for more supervision…errors cost the company $ to fix and lower customer satisfaction.

These are the “hidden costs” that won’t immediately pop on your financials, but that MUST be taken into consideration.

– Employee surveys (and all feedback, in general): Duh.

And while it’s helpful to acknowledge trends, don’t ignore the absolute.

I remember when the USCC/U.S. Citibanking Center held parades when overall employee satisfaction rose from 61% to 63%!

But I kept on screaming that 37% (more than 1 out of 3 employees) were NOT satisfied!!!

Besides, most of the 63% were (only) “Satisfied”, not “Very Satisfied”.

And anyone who is NOT “top box”…be they customers or employees…are the most likely people to leave!!!

Even if 1/2 the 63% were “Very Satisfied”, that still leaves 68% – – over 2/3 of the entire organization!!! – – who actually thought about leaving!!!

68% who are not “top box”.

68% who are not “Very Satisfied”

That’s not a surprise when you consider that our annual attrition rate was going from the mid-20s & approaching 35% when I left in late 2006!

– When your normally-opinionated employees go silent: People will tend to offer their opinions (good, bad or otherwise) when they believe that the organization will take them seriously.

Whether their speaking out pertains to a specific item/process or the overall work environment, once they go silent, you can be pretty sure that you have a toxic environment.

There is no culture, nothing binding the people together.

They’re afraid of speaking out…believe that no one is truly listening & willing to (make) change…and have just given up hope!

And “speaking out” is NOT necessarily criticizing nor complaining.

It’s people feeling comfortable enough to speak their minds, share their opinions & observations, in the hope that it’ll be beneficial.

When those people start to go silent, you have a MAJOR culture crisis on your hands!

Ya gotta keep your eyes & ears open as well as maintain an open mind.

None of this “Well, I don’t see any rioting or protests so everything must be OK!” nonsense.

Not only is that dangerous, but it’s also BLATANTLY STUPID as “OK” is simply not enough to keep your employees happy & convinced to stay (and grow) with you.

Just like it’s a very poor philosophy to think that “Oh, my people know how much I love & appreciate them” UNLESS YOU ACTIVELY TELL THEM & SHOW THEM!!!

Assume nothing.

Hopefully, you guys found something useful here today, even if it was (just) confirmation of stuff you already knew & employed.

Never underestimate the immense power of CULTURE!

Thank you so very much for listening!

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