Just like overtime, the types of products/services you provide are often culturally overlooked. Don't make this mistake. You see, this aspect of your company is extremely powerful, especially when you're first starting to build/define your culture.

Now your products / services will fall into one of 2 categories: Revolutionary or Time Tested. And one of the biggest mistakes you can make, is assuming they fall into a specific category because your company operates in a certain industry. In a previous article, I mentioned my time working in the marketing field. Being new to the industry, I initially thought that all marketing firms fit into the revolutionary category. Well, I was wrong. I ended up working at 2 different companies and the truth was, both agencies sat on the opposite sides of the revolutionary/tried and true spectrum.

The two companies were successful, but their cultures were very different. On one end, you had the tried and true firm, which was filled with mostly established professionals, who had earned their status by developing certain skills throughout the years. The revolutionary agency on the other hand, was filled with newcomers, who were willing to take on new tasks and learn new skills. This was absolutely needed because the revolutionary agency would update or add new software every few months, and the staff needed to be adaptable.

So, despite being in the same field, everything was different about the two - even the dress code (jeans and tees vs. button ups and slacks), and it all stemmed from the type of products/services they offered.

Accurately Determining the Category

The best advice I can give is to study your competition and the tools they use. This will give you a clear signal as to which type of products/services your business offers. Additionally, you'll uncover some strengths and weaknesses within your company and the businesses you contend with. It's a truly valuable practice to undertake.

To make sure you maximize your efforts, here's a few ways to gather this key information ...

  • Call Them (Yes - this actually works)
  • Explore Their Website
  • Look at Their Social Media
  • Survey Customers
  • Watch Who They're Hiring (LinkedIn could give vital information)
  • Go to Conferences They Attend

Once you've study the competition and placed your products/services into the correct category, you can begin to understand specific qualities a person will need to thrive inside your company's culture. To get you started on your list, I've put together some common traits that belong to each type of product/service (These are not all the traits and they are not exclusive to each product/service, they just tend to be found within the type they're listed under).

Traits for Revolutionary Products/Services
  • Adaptability
  • Problem Solver
  • Curiosity
  • Proactive
  • Willingness to take risks / fail
  • Persuasiveness

Traits for Tried and True Products/Services
  • Deep Understanding of the Field or Specific Task
  • Respects the Chain of Command
  • Loyal
  • Disciplined
  • Reliable
  • Hard-Working

Again, these are not all the traits, but they will give you a strong foundation. And from that foundation, you'll reveal other aspects of your culture.

Let's use the revolutionary agency from my earlier story as an example. They add new software every few months, so they need individuals who are adaptable. Now in order to be adaptable, management agreed that employees have to be comfortable. To be comfortable, they determined that staff should be allowed to dress casually. You see how it all stems out from the products/services they provide. That's why this is so important.

Of course, each firm is different. So just because your company is considered revolutionary, it doesn't mean your employees can dress casually. You still have to work with clients who expect certain standards or your staff may require a uniform to properly perform their tasks.

So my last bit of advice for this section would be - In order to have a strong culture and optimal performance from your staff, you have to find a balance between your employees' traits and the nature of the job. This time spent, is absolutely worth it.

Suggested Follow-ups:

Article By: Tom Kieley

About the Author

Tom is the creator of Fulfillingly. He absolutely enjoys giving people the tips and tools they need to find a satisfying career or dependable employee. Tom does
this by combining years of experience with incredible outside sources.

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