Home Business Magazine Interviews Dr. Randy Ross, author of Remarkable!
There is a buzz in the marketplace today about the power of a strong culture. So, we sat down with Dr. Randy Ross, a catalytic coach and culture guru to get his take on why the marketplace is enamored with this subject and to find out what can be done to shape the culture of any business into a transformational environment.
HBM: So what is the big deal about culture?
Dr. Ross: “I believe that culture is the single most important differentiating factor between you and others in the same space. Technology had leveled the playing field. For the most part, there is little difference between offerings in almost any vertical. We are seeing a continued narrowing of margins between offerings and price points. What you do no longer separates you from a thousand others. How you do it, in terms of delivering on service and building relationships, is what culture is all about.”
HBM: How would you define culture?
Dr. Ross: “Simply stated, culture is the collective expression of the values, beliefs and behaviors that individuals bring to any endeavor. The key focal point is values. Organizations spend enormous amounts of time trying to modify the behavior of team members and even attempting to inform their belief systems. However, if there is not an alignment of values, then any attempts to change beliefs and behaviors will be short-lived. We call values alignment valucentricity.”
HBM: That’s an interesting term. I’ve never heard it before.
Dr. Ross: “That’s because we made it up…but a great word! Valucentricity means that when an individual’s values resonate with the values of the organization, then powerful movements of good can be ignited because of that unity. When values are aligned, then a circuit is created through which energy can flow to light up the world. It’s like lightning in a bottle.”
HBM: So, how do you get this valucentricity?
Dr. Ross: “Well, first its important to understand that good culture cannot be reverse engineered. You cannot break it down into a formula. It is far too fluid and dynamic to be encapsulated. But if you could, it might look something like this: Remarkable People + Remarkable Culture = Remarkable Results.”
HBM: There is no doubt that hiring the right people is critical in improving culture. But, that’s easier said than done. How do you suggest that happen?
Dr. Ross: “Hiring quality people IS the fastest way to infuse new life into an organization. Simple to say; difficult to do! Hire for values fit above competencies, experience or education. Someone can be highly competent, have great experience and a stellar scholastic record, but if that person’s values, beliefs and behavior do not align with your brand, then you are shooting yourself in the foot by hiring them.
And while we are talking about hiring, be sure to hire slow and fire fast. The best organizations take their time in hiring to make sure that the values, beliefs and behaviors of each prospective team member matches that of the enterprise. It’s not enough to simply embrace certain propositions. Each person must embody the right values. This takes time and ample observation to ascertain correctly. And, when it becomes obvious that there is not values alignment, don’t linger long about moving a mismatch out.”
HBM: Good advice. So, let’s talk about the culture piece. How does someone focus on culture when the demands of a small business require so much time and energy?
Dr. Ross: “Entrepreneurs are pulled in a thousand different directions. I certainly understand the time and resource constraints of a small business. But, you cannot emphasize enough the power of a strong culture. Wherever people come together, you are going to have a culture. As we have said, it is an expression of what people value, believe and how they behave toward one another. The question is: Will you have a culture by design or by default? The single greatest role of the leader is to intentionally craft a compelling culture. If any leader takes their hands off the helm of culture, then they will wake up one day and have a culture by default that neither they nor your clients find attractive.”
HBM: So, how do you define a Remarkable culture?
Dr. Ross: “A Remarkable culture is a place where people believe the best in one another, they want the best for one another and they expect the best from one another. All three elements are critical: (1) Trust, (2) Deep Compassion and Connection, and (3) Accountability. When these three elements are present, you are well on your way to crafting a Remarkable culture.”
HBM:What is the single best piece of advice you could give to help move any organization toward this type of compelling culture?
Dr. Ross: “Understand what it means to truly be a value creator. Most people don’t fully grasp this concept. Oh, we talk about bring value, creating value and adding value, but very few really know how to do that. This is because, at our core, we all tend to be value extractors. We seek to position ourselves to extract as much value as we can from every endeavor. Listen carefully to the conversation at the next networking event you attend and this will become painfully apparent.
Value creation is about bringing more to the table than you take away. It is about possessing an abundance mentality. It essentially is a belief that collaboration always garners more results than competition. It is about moving from a ME perspective to a WE perspective in every encounter. And when we move from a consumer mentality to a contributor mentality, then we create value, inspire hope, spread kindness and ignite movements of good. Remarkable cultures inspire people to bring their best self to work every day by placing making a difference above making a dollar. The funny thing is that when you make a difference in the lives of others, you will make a dollar. Because people will gladly pay full price for those things that they deem bring true value to life. So, if you want to be profitable, focus on bringing more value to everyone you encounter!”
HBM: Your recently released book, entitled Remarkable! plays all of these principles out in a fun narrative, which you describe as a Leadership Parable. Who was your target audience for the book?
Dr. Ross: “We targeted business leaders. Whether an entrepreneur with a home-based business or the CEO of a multi-national enterprise, the principle apply to all. But, the biggest reward for me is to hear people talking about how these principles have transformed their personal lives as much as they have their professional lives. When the truths that we share help make someone a better spouse, parent, community leader or coach. We know that they will also be bringing a better self to work. And, we want to help people lead meaningful and purposeful lives at home and in the marketplace.”