How to Create a Winning Culture by JJ Jackintelle

This is what my friend JJ Jackintelle shared at 10XGrowthCon 2017:

Are you ready to build your business into a skyscraper? Your first priority must be the foundation that will support your structure. How are you going to support this skyscraper? In business, culture is the foundation. It must support your vision or it will become a nightmare. You can have a vision of a “skyscraper” and attempt to build your business, but if you have no foundation, a big wind comes by—a little dip in the economy—and it’s on the ground.

Culture is a word that I’m sure means something different to everyone reading this. I know some of you guys are a business of one. Some of you are a business of 500. Either way, these primary components of building your culture will apply.

1) Clear Core Values

This is the behavior you deem as non­-negotiable. What’s non­-negotiable? Whether it’s your marriage, whether it’s raising your kids, or whether it’s your business, you have core values. You can do whatever you want in business if you’re fair, you’re consistent and you’re clear. The problem with most of us is we’re not consistent, we’re not clear and we’re not fair—we make exceptions.

In business make sure that you are completely clear on what you are going to do. If you start to pick and choose as it relates to your non-negotiables—in other words—it’s negotiable for this guy but not for this gal, then you’re going to end up in court.

I love Chick­fil­A, and the guy that founded Chick­fil­A died in 2014. He talked about the culture, that the culture was first. He didn’t compromise. They still don’t open on Sundays even after his death. He never sold out to his culture, but more importantly, if you want to work at Chick­fil­A and someone comes to that drive­ thru window and they say, “Thank you.” The response is going to be, “My pleasure”, 100% of the time.

Now, if you let Susie say, “My pleasure,” but Tom says, “Hey, no problem,” you’ve got a problem because you can’t enforce your culture, but it is non-­negotiable.

Anybody ever been to Moe’s Mexican restaurant? You ever walked in there? “Welcome to Moe’s” as soon as you walk in, everybody says, “Welcome to Moe’s.” Everybody, the cook, it’s part of their culture. It is non­negotiable. I don’t care how well you cook this Mexican food. If you say, “Hey, you know what? I’m not comfortable, man. I’m shy. I can’t say welcome to Moe’s.”

“Well, then you can’t work here, it’s non­negotiable.” Now again, it’s a 100% of the time. Your core values, your non­negotiables are critical.

I like stickers. This is more than a sticker here, because I’ve been to Grant’s office. This is a non­negotiable piece of the core values at Grant Cardone’s office. He doesn’t care how many deals you closed, he doesn’t care how early you come to work, he doesn’t care. If you are negative, you are gone.

2) Clear Mission

You’ve got to be clear on your mission. Again, if you’re a company of one or 5000, you must be clear on the mission. And don’t tell me your mission is to make money because I don’t think anybody here has a printing press where you’re making money. You’re going to earn the money through your mission. So, it isn’t about making money. I don’t use that term making money, I’m going to earn money. Making money is a mint. Nobody has a mint. What’s your mission?

3) Clear Performance Standards

Don’t be wishy washy or gray. Be clear on the technical numbers or technical aspects that everyone must perform in their job with excellence. I’m a car dealer, so I changed what a first-time salesman needs to sell. “You need to sell 10 cars”, not, “You need to do the best you can.” We opened a Volkswagen store 38 months ago. We were very clear to the team of the performance standards.

“We are going to be the number one Volkswagen store the month we open. Are you okay with that? Do you believe in that? And then we’re going to be a number one Volkswagen store every month after.”

It wasn’t, “Let’s get out there and do the best we can.” It’s about having clear performance standards of what you want for your people. It’s fair to them, it’s fair to you, and it’s enforceable. Everybody gets frustrated with knowing, “I don’t know whether I’m doing a good job or not.” It’s not fair to your people. It’s not fair to tell a car salesman the first month:

“I sold eight cars.”

“Well honey, how is that?”

“I think it’s good, the other guy sold six.”

What a washed-out way of motivating. What a washed-out way of implementing your culture.

4) Core Competencies

Understanding this is very important to your business, to know your strongest capacities as an organization, those that create the greater margins and the difference between you and the competition. Your people better understand them and they better apply them because if not, I’m just another store with a price. Your core competencies are your difference makers. It’s what makes you different.

The key to culture then is your people must share your values, believe in your mission, and have the competence to hit your standards. Do you believe in what I am trying to accomplish? This will again, help you build that skyscraper and maintain the necessary skills, and talents to support the core competencies in your company. They’ve got to believe in it.

Create a culture card. Have your core competencies on it. Have your mission on it. Get everything on it that you believe as a company and are non­negotiables.

I’ve got dealerships in Ohio and Georgia. I can’t interview every manager nor would I want to. I would want my managers to interview them, but it needs to be consistent, so they all submit a video based on an email they receive on our core competencies (on our culture card) explaining to me in a 1-minute video why they think they would fit in my culture.

My human resource man will come to my office, and say, “I just emailed you a couple of videos. A manager in Ohio, they’re trying to hire for finance. A manager for service in Atlanta”. I run through the videos, and I’m not worried about how many cars they sold, how many cars they service, what their background is. I would expect my people to do all that. I want to know if they believe in my mission or can convince me in 60 seconds based on reading the culture card.

It really gets me excited when I see somebody that gets it. I will call that individual. I’ll take that hire a step further. “Hey listen, Tom. I just watched your video, man, you will fit in our company. I completely feel like you’re sincere on what I saw on your video, thank you very much.” No one knows where that goes but it is the final thing I can do to control my culture. This stuff helps make sure your foundation is intact.

Think about a home inspection. Everything that they could find is fixable: the faucet leaks, the garbage disposal doesn’t work, the air conditioning… but if they find a cracked foundation, that deal is done. A cracked foundation, forget about it. The deal’s over. No foundation, no support, and eventually the house will fall down.

Culture dictates behavior. In return, this elevates your results. You must first establish your culture to dictate the behavior. You can delegate a lot, but you cannot delegate your culture. Grant Cardone can’t bring Jarrod in and say, “I want the company to run this way. I’m delegating that to you. But I’m going be this other way or I’m not going be involved.”

You cannot delegate your culture because it starts at the top.

We’ve got a wimpy society, people love excuses, and they feel entitled. You’ve got to take control of your culture before society does, or you’ll be wiped out. The next recession’s coming, it’s just a matter of when. You want to be great? Take control of your culture. If you’ve got a business partner that thinks this way, you think the other way, what are your people going to do? Multiple cultures under one roof will destroy your organization. Make sure you’re with the right people who believe in your culture!

— JJ Jackintelle at 10XGrowthCon 2017

Be sure to pick up your tickets for 10XGrowthCon 2018 at the best price they will be offered NOW.

Be great,


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