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Treat the soft stuff as the hard stuff.


By: Ross Paterson

Culture is coded wisdom.’

Wangari Maathai

The most intangible of our advanced leadership levers seems to be the idea and practice of building strong culture. The teams we have worked with that got this right, SIGNIFICANTLY outperform the ones that can’t clearly articulate and reproduce their ‘coded wisdom.’ Many SMB owners mistakenly believe the whole conversation is smoke-and-mirrors, business book nonsense.


Culture starts with the personal values and convictions in the heart of the entrepreneur. Those values naturally bleed out into a startup team the founder attracts to the cause. Clarity on values, and behaviors lived-out, are true xcelerators for growth and performance.


If the team grows too fast, the culture can begin to get foggy, diluted. In worst case scenarios, the culture gets completely hijacked when a high-powered executive leader is recruited from outside the organization. If they have not been screened for culture alignment, they will pull the team quickly off course.


Your small business team may already have a culture. To get to the next level, you have to create precise language, repetitively reward the behaviors, and tell the stories that reproduce this culture. A hiring process that doesn’t include rigorous assessment of culture alignment is self-sabotage. We are digging through a book called ‘CEO Excellence’ with many of our clients.


“The ‘soft stuff’—issues related to people and culture—account for the vast majority (72 percent) of the barriers to success.”

CEO Excellence, Dewar, Keller, Malhotra


Treat the soft stuff as the hard stuff.


Remember, small changes produce Xtra Mile returns. You are probably closer than you imagine. Let us know how we can help; we are very good at the soft stuff.


Culture Defining Team Building Session
 What if we could help your team communicate significantly better and help craft the first draft of your values and culture language?
Schedule a free whiteboard session to determine how an XtraMile workshop can help move the needle for your business.