By Emily Banks Wooten
“Unlocking the Culture Code: Keys to Developing Amazing Company Culture” was the theme of the program for the Aug. 22 Lunch and Learn hosted by the Livingston-Polk County Chamber of Commerce. Marketing Strategist Crystal Williams and Creative Director Emily Fleniken, both with Lemon Seed Marketing, presented the program.
Lemon Seed is a full-service marketing agency established in 2020 that specializes in strategy and branding for the home service industry. The agency has 27 team members and 54 contractors from across the country and the average age of its team members is 28-30.
Williams kicked off the program with the following statistic – “63% of the American workforce don’t trust their leaders.” So how to combat that?
“Trust. Trust is transparency, consistency and empathy,” Williams said. “You have a culture – but are you defining it?”
She said that transparency is “sharing the actual things. When you’re transparent, teams get closer, solve problems faster and trust grows stronger. You can build transparency by management interaction, team retreats, budgets, goals and having tough conversations.”
Fleniken agreed. “Retaining employees is so much better than training or re-training employees.”
Williams also emphasized the importance of follow-through with goal-setting. “Don’t shoot out a goal and never return to it. That’s inconsistency and inconsistency leads to lack of accountability and lack of progress.”
“Consistency will help foster accountability,” Fleniken said, adding, “bad behavior is easily replicated. Ask yourself – are people afraid of what version of me they’re going to get? We can set the tone. Be self-aware. Are you having a bad five minutes or a bad day? If you’re having a bad five minutes, we can deal with it. If the team isn’t meeting expectations, you probably haven’t made them clear.
Williams talked about empathy. “You have to get to know your team, adjust to who you’re talking to, plan events that appeal to your team, celebrate your team and send handwritten thank yous. This provides personal connections.
“Empathy is hard because people are high-maintenance,” Williams said. She then shared a quote the two women like, ‘You deserve what you tolerate. You get what you reiterate. You keep what you celebrate.’ What are you tolerating? Reiterating? Celebrating?”
Williams and Fleniken emphasized the importance of having a clear mission statement, vision statement and core values and the importance of everyone on the team knowing this information. Fleniken even showed a purse/wallet-size trifold containing this information that every team member carries.
“Being intentional to earn trust is the key to unlocking the culture code,” Williams said.