Episode 189 — AMMA — How to Preserve Your Culture While Scaling Your Business

As your law firm grows, you’ll face new challenges preserving the culture and values that you aim to cultivate. In this episode of The Game Changing Attorney Podcast, Crisp Founder & CEO Michael Mogill will detail how he’s intentionally shaped the culture of his company as it’s grown — and how you can replicate his strategies.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Scale your business while preserving your unique culture
  • Ensure your core values are upheld across your organization
  • Foster open communication and unity, even with a large team
Episode 189 — AMMA — How to Preserve Your Culture While Scaling Your Business
Show Notes:

Scale yourself by investing in your leaders. “As your organization scales, you’re going to have more complexity. If you want to keep your culture aligned, you’re going to also have to be able to scale yourself. The best way to do that, as your leadership team grows, is to make sure that you are aligned with your leaders. I can’t possibly make sure that everybody is doing everything they need to be doing all the time, that they’re behaving the way they need to be behaving, and that they’re aligning with our values all the time — because it’s just impossible. I wouldn’t even have the bandwidth to do it. You know, I have the same number of hours in a day as everybody else. So we rely on our leaders and we have good rhythms where every single week we meet with our leadership team and our executive leadership team and we make sure that we are in alignment. It’s hiring the right people that you can make sure uphold the values that you’ve set, and you’ve got different department heads. So as long as you are in alignment with that department head, with that leader, then they’re going to pass along that same messaging and they’re going to reinforce the same standards — because we make sure that we are aligned on standards.”

Firing impacts culture just as much as hiring. “A lot of times the culture erodes because of who you hire — but also because of who you don’t fire. If you want to preserve your culture, a lot of times initially it’s because of your values. It’s because of your standards. But as an organization grows, a lot of times the reason why culture is strong and aligned vs. the culture that’s not strong and not aligned comes down to how you hire and how you fire. If you want to really maintain culture, show me who you’re firing. If you’re tolerating things, you’re keeping people way past their expiration date, well, then before you know it you start to see standards erode and then the culture erodes.”

The best way to preserve core values. “We are not in the business of changing anyone’s values. In fact, we’re not really in the business of changing people. I don’t know that you can change people. People can decide to change on their own, but it requires a tremendous amount of energy and effort that it just, quite frankly, does not make sense for you to try to change anyone. If it’s against their will, it’s just silly. That would be manipulation. So we actually hire to ensure that there’s value alignment. Our values and our core values in the organization are not the values for the entire world and not the values for every organization in the country. They’re just the values for Crisp. The people we hire, we aim to align values. We make sure that our values are their values, and their values are our values — that we see things the same way.”

How to set a new hire up for success. “Our aim is to make sure that the only reason why someone would not be successful is not because of a lack of information, not because of a lack of training, not because of a lack of development, but just quite simply the ball is in your court. You don’t put forth the effort? That’s on you. I can’t control somebody’s effort. You can’t control somebody’s effort. So that’s really what it comes down to. Then the other aspect that we look at beyond that is that we need to also know that we’re getting the right feedback from the people that we’re investing in and that we’re training and developing them properly. We’re constantly looking for feedback of like, ‘How’s your training going? Give us feedback on your 30-day plan, the 60-day plan, the 90-day plan.’ At our leadership meetings, we’re constantly evaluating new hires and saying, ‘How’s this person performing?’ We know exactly where it is and where they stand. A lot of it is just having the right data and insights to know how somebody is doing and really being vested in them. It’s not like somebody starts and we ignore them. Especially in those first 90 days, we want to make sure that they’re going to be successful, to allow them to start driving value for the organization as quickly as possible.”

Don’t sleep on your culture. “Be intentional. You’re either going to have culture by design or by default. In many organizations, it’s just by default. It just so happened that we got these people in a room together, we worked together long enough, and now our culture is ‘toxic’ or whatever they call it. But in reality, if you can control the culture in terms of making sure that there’s alignment, there’s quality of expectations, there’s standards, there’s consistent meeting rhythms, people have clarity, they’ve got KPIs and targets, then you start to operate on a certain rhythm. It doesn’t mean you’re not going to have challenges. Of course you still have problems, but that’s going to help keep a growing organization aligned and rolling in the same direction.”

University of Alabama
Microsoft Teams
Key performance indicators (KPIs)

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