How to Build A Successful Corporate Culture

How to Build A Successful Corporate Culture

managed services corporate cultureDespite the recession, mindSHIFT Technologies -- like many progressive managed service providers -- continues to seek new talent. From where I sit, finding and hiring the right talent is the most difficult part of building a business. In particular, Amy Katz and I worry about maintaining a great corporate culture at MSPmentor's parent, Nine Lives Media Inc. So what are the secrets to finding, retaining and inspiring the right people?

This article from Inc. certainly caught my attention. It highlights the so-called Denison model, which measures four traits of culture and leadership. Inc. breaks down the Denison model as:

  • Mission, which defines the long-term direction and purpose of the organization.
  • Involvement, which measures the company's ability to drive commitment and to develop ownership with employees.
  • Consistency, which defines the values, agreement and coordination that hold the company together.
  • Adaptability, which measures the company's ability to read and scan the business environment and to respond to change.
To be honest, I've never "consciously" thought about those four traits. But subconsciously, I've always been aware of them. My biggest area of weakness is consistency, because I really don't coordinate big teams well. I'm more of a maverick (not the John McCain type...), who depends on talented folks to managed themselves and check in regularly.

Thankfully, my business partner (Amy) is stronger than me on the consistency side and, well, she's the CEO who holds everything together here. We also tend to agree on new hires. They generally have fun personalities. They're fast-movers. And they're very confident in their abilities.

The Book on Avoiding Bad Hires

At my previous company, it's safe to say the owners employed the No Asshole Rule (sorry about the language, but it was a best-selling book). In that company, you didn't get "in the club" unless someone at the door vouched for you. Not every hire was perfect. But at least there was careful scrutiny before outsiders became insiders.

Looking ahead, I have to concede that I'm a little nervous. When you run a big company (say, 1,000 or more employees) you can afford to make a bad hire or two -- as long as you clean up the mess quickly instead of ignoring the problem. When you're a small but growing media company or managed service provider, every hire counts -- big time.

Let us know how your hires are proceeding. And we'll keep you posted on ours.

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