EPISODE 67 — Culture Starts at the Top: LIVE from the EVOLVE Summit
In this special episode, filmed LIVE at the EVOLVE Summit, guest host Jessica Mogill sits down with the Game Changing Culture Panel, featuring Reza Torkzadeh, John Martin, David Craig, and Mark O’Mara.
The panel covers a wide range of topics, from how they have each built cultures of excellence to the value of Kolbe and PRINT® assessments in their hiring practices.
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2:28 – Culture is everything. [Reza Torkzadeh] “Every organization and every company has culture; it just depends on what type of culture you want to have — and it starts at the top. You get to decide what your core values are and who you are as an organization, then figure out how you do those things every day.”
6:29 – Intentional culture makes or breaks a firm. [Reza Torkzadeh] “There was a point in our hiring process where we were just looking for warm bodies. We were scaling so quickly, so we’d just put an ad up on any job boards, look at resumes, interview somebody for 20 or 30 minutes, and they all sound great because they’re lying. Then you hire them, and three months in you realize that this person is completely contrary to how they were sold. And so there came a point where we lost more than half of our staff in one day. We were growing and scaling and everything was great, except all the drama and the BS. Now we’re extremely intentional with culture and what it means to hiring. So now it’s very difficult to get through the process, but by the time a candidate does get through, we know all about them. It’s not a complete guarantee that it’ll work out, but it is so much better than what we had before. And now we’re attracting better hires who are motivated, encouraged, and want to be part of something great that we’re building. That’s made all the difference.”
8:09 – PRINT® and Kolbe are the legends of the map. [Mark O’Mara] “PRINT® and Kolbe are essential when it comes to picking an employee. I have weaponized them because I have everybody’s Kolbe and PRINT® in a book next to me on my desk. So if we see any concerns with certain staff, we can check their scores and make sure we know who we’re dealing with. It’s like having the legend on a map. You don’t know where you’re going without it. Those two metrics give us the insight as to how to get where we’re going in a way that makes sense and does away with the unnecessary costs. A lot of conflict generally comes from not knowing how to use other people’s strengths.”
12:38 – PRINT® reduces conflict before it even starts. [David Craig] “I had never considered how different people were, so I always looked at things from my perspective. I got into a heated discussion with a fellow attorney and we decided to look at each other’s PRINT® scores and soon realized that we had not been communicating effectively with each other. We were really wasting our breath and our time. Now I have a great team of people who complement me, but we have to learn to talk to each other. Sometimes we forget that, even with the PRINT® scores.”
14:18 – Give your team a vision to follow. [Reza Torkzadeh] “Our greatest asset is our people. Our firm wouldn’t be where we are today if not for the incredible people who are dedicated to our vision. Our ‘why’ is that we get to change people’s lives every day, and our team fully buys into that. So whether it’s our receptionist or our senior managing attorney, they know that their work changes lives every single day. That keeps everybody engaged. We also have a lot of community outreach initiatives. They want to be a part of that and they’re really proud to be on a team that does that. When we say we care about people, it’s genuine.”
21:52 – Set up a good worker to become a great one. [David Craig] “I’ve changed people’s positions based on their assessment scores. I’ve had people who were successful and could do any job but weren’t set up to be happy long term. So we’d look at those things and talk to each other and then put them in a different position where they’re going to love what they’re doing and be even more productive for the firm. Sometimes it takes us a while to figure that out, but it’s exciting because we end up with key players who are going to now play key roles because of where we place them.”