October 1, 2010

Building Culture at Work

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — agramling @ 12:25 pm

You’d be hard-pressed not to examine your own workplace culture after reading Tony Hsieh’s best-selling business memoir—Delivering Happiness:  A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose. The CEO of Zappo’s outlines the growth of his company from a small eCommerce startup to a billion–dollar enterprise, which is ultimately acquired by Amazon.com.

The Zappo’s story, for those unfamiliar, is about the company’s reinvention of itself through the identification of its core competencies and values. The online shoe seller maintains a legendary focus on service (described as ‘delivering WOW service’) and gives its employees a great deal of autonomy to keep customers happy. Hsieh describes how ten core values form the basis for decision making at Zappo’s and how those values evolved.

The evolution of the company’s culture—not just its end point—offers a key lesson for entrepreneurs. Try as you might as a leader to ‘create culture,’ workplace attitudes evolve and are defined over the life of a company—sometimes by happy accident and sometimes by design. The ideal role of management, as highlighted in Hsieh’s book, is that of a guiding force rather than as strict dictators of corporate rules and behaviors.

Locum Leaders is writing its own story these days as a workplace defined by strong values and happy, motivated employees. The company was recently voted one of Atlanta’s Best Places to Work based on independent employee surveys conducted for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Congrats to CEO Will Drescher and team for their focus on a positive culture.