“Values are the fundamental building blocks of culture, so values-based organizations tend to be culture-driven.”
– John Waid, CEO, C3
Why is being values-based a competitive advantage?
In the image below, KFC is Strategy-Driven and Chick-fil-A (CFA) is Culture-Driven. The well-defined culture CFA has means that everyone knows and lives the purpose, mission, values, and principles of behavior of the company. Why does this matter? Great cultures are about predictable best practice behaviors (not just strategies, processes or systems). Every employee at Chick-fil-A stores is hired and trained to act in a very predictable manner and to also execute great strategies and processes. The bathrooms and floors are always clean. Every leader, manager, and employee “smiles with teeth”, engages you in conversation, and says “It’s my pleasure” after you say “thank you” … every time. This does not happen at KFC, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, or almost any other fast food chain. This is why the CFA stores are full and why cars are wrapped around the parking lot.
Most companies have predictable strategies and processes.
Few have predictable behaviors in their people. This means Chick-fil-A outsells KFC 3 to 1 in 2015 and 5 to 1 in 2020 on a per-store basis while being closed on Sundays. CFA also outsells McDonald’s 2-to-1 per store and just became the 2nd largest fast-food chain in the world (based on total revenue) with less than half the stores. CFA also outperforms all the other chains in almost every element and gets one of the highest CX (Customer Experience) ratings in the industry. They also have a 95% employee retention rate. Being Culture-Driven means that the culture drives the processes and strategies and not the other way around. This is why “Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner” at Chick-fil-A.
So why should you be values/culture-driven? Simply speaking, would you rather be Chick-fil-A or KFC?
How do you work on culture?
Companies and teams that want to be Culture-Driven start by keeping their Purpose, Mission, Values and Behaviors KISS (Keep it Short and Simple) and have them in writing, trained and lived. In order for this to happen, leaders need to change their mindsets and behaviors when it comes to culture from thinking it’s something they already do to making it a major facet of what they actually do.
What culture is NOT:
Culture is not ping-pong tables, happy hours, and lots of generic values on the wall. Culture is the purpose, mission, values, and behaviors well thought-out, written, and lived everyday by everybody. If you are looking for gimmicks, this is not the place to come. If you want real and lasting change with a values-based approach, you have come to the right place.