Could you work side-by-side with your spouse or significant other?
Oftentimes, people are totally for it or totally against it.
Starting a B2B business with your life partner is bound to create some interesting company culture.
One couple who’s crushing it at B2B business and company culture is the founders of Mojo Media Labs, Nikole Rose (President/COO) and Michael Rose (CEO). In the first episode of this four-part series, Culture Eats ABM for Breakfast, Nikole and Michael give us the lowdown on the ups and downs of building a great company culture.
Here’s what we’re unpacking today:
- Realizing your company culture is crumbling
- Finding core values that support your vision
- Finding a team that embodies your core values
The wake-up call
A handful of years ago, Nikole and Michael came to the realization that their company’s culture was an obstacle, not a launchpad.
Nikole: We were really struggling with retaining people. We were struggling with attracting people who were probably good, talented people. Therefore, we were really struggling to keep good clients.
We were able to attract them, but we weren’t able to keep them. So, we quickly realized we were spending all this time, money, and effort to market and to sell to new clients but it was delivered by people who didn’t necessarily care.
It became our mission to figure out how we can turn this thing around and create a great culture.
Michael: Since those early days, it’s easy to say that I don’t think you appreciate a good culture until you’ve experienced managing, leading, or working in a bad culture.
We so much appreciate now that great people produce great results and by doing so they produce their best work.
Making a company culture shift
Nikole and Michael knew that action had to be taken in terms of making a company culture shift. The alternative was watching Mojo go down the tubes.
Michael: I don’t think we can give out a checklist as to what to do. I think it’s unique for everybody, but ultimately, focus on your vision.
We think vision is a lot like music. You can’t describe the sound of an instrument. You have to actually get the instrument and play the music.
We talk about our vision a lot, but also the instruments and the tools that we use so people can see that vision. For us, we really started with our values.
Nikole: We asked ourselves, “What values do we want in our organization for everybody to have?”
It took us many months to be able to not just come up with them, but to live with them and to see if they were the right core values.
Michael: If you just Google search “business core values,” you’ll get a lot of different values to print off and go through. Circle the ones that resonate with you immediately and cross out the ones that don’t.
Nikole and I did that exercise together. It wasn’t surprising that we had a lot of similar core values that we were attracted to. I think we came up with 25 or 30 out of that list and we clearly needed fewer than that. Our goal was to get six or fewer.
We lived with those values for eight or nine months. They were taped to the door. We looked at them every single day.
Any issue that came up through the business on a daily basis, we went to that list and asked, “Does this value represent who we are, and will this value help us make a decision?” Whatever the case might be.
Mojo’s 6 Core Values:
- Conscious collaboration
- Professional development
- Ridiculous results
The team transformation
Michael and Nikole had finally settled on six core company values. Everything from then on out fell in line with those values. However, it proved difficult to transform the current team into what the husband-wife team envisioned.
Nikole: Unfortunately, there were a lot of people on our team at the time who didn’t necessarily embody all of the core values. So, we got to work trying to transform the people that we had on our team to kind of fit the core values.
What we learned is that you can’t teach values. Someone either has the values or they don’t. You can teach skills but you can’t teach values.
That was a tough time for Mojo to go through. Be prepared for that. You may have to go through some of that in case your team members don’t have the culture and the core values that you want. But, it’s worth it.
It comes up in interviews. If you’re ever coming to Mojo to interview, you will be asked questions about the core values.
Michael: One day, many years later, we looked around and saw that we’ve got some pretty amazing people. The talent you surround yourself with when you really live those values is truly something special.
In the next episode…
In the second episode of the four-part Culture Eats ABM for Breakfast series, Nikole and Michael discuss a revolutionary method for building trust and transparency in a B2B company.