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5 Tips to Operationalizing Your Organization’s Culture From One of the Best Places to Work in America

We shared some breaking news on the latest episode of the #FlipMyFunnel podcast

Mojo Media Labs was just announced a winner of one of Inc. magazine’s Best Places to Work in America awards. 

So, what better way to celebrate than to close out our “Culture Eats ABM for Breakfast” series by talking to the one who makes great culture happen at Mojo? 

Ashton Adair, Director of People & Engagement at Mojo Media Labs, came on the latest episode of the show to share her five tips to operationalizing a great culture.

Here’s what we’re unpacking today:

  • Choosing your ‘no matter whats’
  • Adopting organic rituals as tradition
  • Adopting a culture committee
  • Automating the basics
  • Building to scale

This post is based on a podcast with Ashton Adair. If you’d like to listen to the full episode, you can check it out here and below.

Tip #1: Choosing your ‘no matter whats’

Ashton: You’ve got to choose your ‘no matter whats’. Your absolutes. The non-negotiables. 

Mike and Nicole touched on these in a previous episode. But for us, those ‘no matter whats’ are value, our results only work environment, our open book management. and our process. 

Those are the pillars, the values, that our culture rests upon. 

So, when it comes to your business, you’ve absolutely got to set your pillars and institutionalize them. 

And you probably already know what those are. So, it’s just a matter of figuring out how to continually improve them. How to grow them, make them better. 

And how to ensure that every new hire and every legacy team member knows exactly what these pillars are and how they integrate to their role.

Tip #2: Adopt organic rituals as traditions

Ashton: These are the fun things that make working at your organization unique. 

For example, at the beginning of every year we have a Mojo rally where we bring everyone down to headquarters. We focus on team-building, having a good time, learning from our partners, meeting with our clients in person, and ensuring we’re working to meet our annual goals. 

We also do a Friendsgiving every Thanksgiving. 

And we designate a Slack channel to be the ‘love channel.’ That’s a place where we get to recognize our peers when our clients or partners send us some love.

Those are just a few of the fun things that we like to do. 

But here’s something to keep in mind:

Be okay with the fact that some things you come up with are going to totally flop. Let those go. Don’t work on making something a tradition if your team just doesn’t like it. 

Tip #3: Adopt a culture committee

Ashton: One time we missed celebrating someone’s birthday. And that was the worst feeling. 

But that’s when I realized that I don’t have to do this alone. And the best way to grow a culture is to ensure that it’s instilled and ingrained throughout your team. 

So, we formed a committee. And we don’t just come together and say, “Hey, let’s just loosely talk about how we have fun together.” Instead, we all work together, but everyone has a special responsibility they take charge of on the team.

For example, one team member is over recognition and milestones. He keeps his eye on the calendar to make sure we don’t miss anymore birthdays. We other members who are focused on things like team building, wellness, and community outreach.

Mike: And if you’re listening, you might be going, “We can’t do that.” Or “My folks would never join a culture committee and come up with great ideas.” 

But you know what, we had that too. For years we just tried and tried to delegate culture or take it on ourselves and we just couldn’t get to the next level. But over time, if you continue to live your values, you eventually get the right people. Right? 

Tip #4: Make your life easier

Ashtone: It’s 2019. So, use tools to automate and centralize everything. And, at a bare minimum, make sure you utilize tools to automate at least the foundations. 

You can focus on your culture and do all of these things that we’re talking about. But if you don’t set your foundations — like if you miss a performance review or a merit increase conversation —  then all of this is for not, right? 

So, just make your life easier and automate what you can. 

Tip #5: Keep it simple, silly

Ashton: You never know where your growth journey is going to take you. So, keep it simple. Make sure that the culture you’re building is scalable. Especially if you have an awesome culture, as that will start to propel you forward a lot faster. 

So, make sure that whatever you build is going to work if you have 25 people or 100 people. You might have to continually improve or evolve your culture, but don’t waste your time building something that won’t stick with you as you mature.

So, there you have it. Five tips to operationalizing a great culture from one of the best places to work in America.