Agency culture becomes increasingly important as the firm grows in size and value. While some may think of the in-office perks like craft beer on tap and foosball tables, culture is really about being clear on what the company stands for.
My guest today is Robert Glazer, CEO of Acceleration Partners, and he’s sharing how he’s building his company’s culture, the lessons he’s learned growing his marketing firm, and how he’s working to create a culture he loves that excites him and his colleagues to go to work every day.
In this episode, we’ll be talking about:
- Results vs. Relationships
- What culture is
- Accountability in building culture
- The 3 buckets of employee problems and how to avoid them
While growing an agency, what’s more important: results or a relationship? On the one hand, if you have a relationship, you’re in a great spot, but if you don’t have either results nor a relationship, you’re more than likely in a rough position. If you had to choose between the two, your chances of retaining a client are probably a lot better if you have the relationship and trust. Results will change, as well as people, but that trust helps to solidify your position.
Having said that, building a relationship among your team is vital to a strong culture—but what exactly is culture? As defined by Robert, “culture is just being really clear about what you stand for.” A great culture is very consistent about what it thinks, what it says, and what it does. It also rewards what it says and does, and the core values hung up on the wall are actually practiced by the team each time they hire or fire an employee.
Part of the culture at Acceleration Partners is accountability, or as Robert puts it, “own it.” From the onboarding process, the value of owning a project from start to finish, as well as the outcome of it, is something team members have to grow comfortable with. Making the culture apparent in the hiring process will help to strengthen it and bring on people who align personally and professionally with your company’s values.
If the employee can’t grasp the culture, they may fall in to one of three “buckets” Robert identifies employees may fall within. The first being the employee is not the right fit, and doesn’t meet the company’s core values. Unfortunately, there’s no real fix for this, so you have to find a way to transition these people out. The second bucket consists of an employee’s awareness and understanding of what they need to do, but can’t do it. A fix for this simply consists of clearly laying out the necessary responsibilities of the role. And finally, the third bucket is a different definition of success by the employee and the manager. Robert describes how he avoids this by having a 6-month and 12-month success plan already in the job description.
Mentioned in this episode:
When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Dan Pink
Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me) by Carol Tavris