Speed walking to a meeting with Jay Dettorre down the halls of the Western Reserve Masonic Community is always an experience. You will stop to pick up a leaf that blew in, or to greet each and every staff member you pass, or talk with each resident who comes by. He knows them each by name and story and they are clearly thrilled to see him. Â Whether it is an invitation to pull up a chair in the beauty salon by the ladies getting their hair done, or a joke told by someone in the dining hall, Jay is always there with a smile and an appropriate response. Â The culture in this place is amazing.
Imagine for a moment what he has to accomplish. Â His immediate customers are his residents and they have to be comfortable, safe, taken care of and be able to live their lives the way they choose. But then, you also have to figure in his service to their families because as we age more and more people are involved in our care. In addition, you have the community and the Masons who all have opinions on what he’s doing and how. He has to answer the cold, financial questions about caring for our older population as well as manage the real caring that goes on. And THEN he has to dream of the future and set the strategic vision for the organization.
So other than a huge respect and admiration for Jay, what’s the point Kath? Â Well, in your business, how much is your culture on purpose and how much has happened by accident? Â By nature Jay is an engaging and thoughtful person. It is part of why he has the job he does. But you have characteristics that are why you have your job as well. Â Do you remember what they are? Â Do you review customer interactions in the context of how your culture is being communicated? Â Not to belabor the point, but for instance. If Jay asked one of his residents to help another, they would do so because that is the culture he has built among his customers. Â If you called a client and asked them to help another client, would they agree? Â Are you enough of a part of their organization that you could do that?
Or think about this. Each time you pick up the phone, what are you thinking? Â “I don’t have time for this call” or “What does the caller ID tell me?” or “Cool! Who could this be?”. Â You know there are people out there that say, “cool! I have YOU on the phone”. Â Do you give that feeling to your customers? Â Or do they hear, the caller ID told me it is you – what do you want?
Culture has to be deliberate and it carries through to more than just your internal team especially if you are a small business. Â Your customers should be able to describe your culture and have it match your strategic goals. Just like Jay’s.