For a business to be successful, many entrepreneurs first focus on creating a business plan, generating capital, developing a product or a service and building strategy and marketing tactics. But according to Phil Hauck, who has facilitated programs for CEOs and business leaders for 25 years, one of the true key elements to business success is implementing a positive company culture.
Hauck spoke at the Green Bay Packers Mentor-Protégé Program training camp session on Wednesday, Jan. 24, at Lambeau Field. His presentation, attended by dozens of local businesses and nonprofit groups, focused on how leaders can define company culture and integrate it into an organization successfully.
"We've heard 'culture eats strategy for breakfast,'" said Hauck. "How do we create that culture? Culture is a whole bunch of habits. How do we make sure to get rid of the bad ones and retain the good one?"
Similar to the Packers, Hauck said, there is no true offseason for business leaders; entrepreneurs must continuously prepare for success and take advantage of opportunities as they arise. To continue along this path and foster an environment of learning and growth, businesses must ask themselves critical questions.
"You have to go back to your organization, start with a blank sheet of paper and figure out: what differentiates us?" said Hauck. "Great leaders are great storytellers. They can tell the story of your organization."
Kelly Ellis, executive director of the Einstein Project, attended the training camp session and could relate to the struggles of maintaining a positive, enriching company culture. In her work for the Einstein Project, Ellis and her colleagues provide hands-on materials and help for teachers in their classrooms.
"We had the same culture for a really long time and realized we were kind of resting on our laurels," said Ellis. "We asked for feedback from our current employees and asked them, 'What do we want to be?'"
Ellis said the Einstein Project took a step back to make sure the organization was aligning with their values and creating an environment based around those values.
"When you interview prospective employees, you can ask questions that relate to those values and see if they fit into that culture," Ellis said. "If you can look for a certain response, that's how you know they would be a good fit."
The company culture training camp was one of many events hosted by the Packers Mentor-Protégé Program, which was established to pair emerging companies in northeastern Wisconsin with established, knowledgeable, and committed mentor companies. The program aims to foster relationships between area companies and business professionals in order to spark economic development and job creation.
The next Packers Mentor-Protégé Program training camp will be held in March. For more information on the program and how to attend events or apply to become a mentor or a protégé, please visit packers.com/mentorprotege.