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In This Issue
Corporate Culture Matters!
Core Values - The Cornerstone of Corporate Culture
Cultures that Embrace Change Enjoy Success
SCS e-xpress

May/June 2014

A Message from Sarah & Chris:             Company culture word cloud image with hi-res rendered artwork that could be used for any graphic design.


The theme of this issue is "corporate culture."  


Corporate culture is a powerful force within any company - either by design or by default.  A company's culture can drive success or become a barrier to it.  Read on to gain a deeper understanding of how a company's culture evolves and how it can impact the firm.  


We hope you enjoy our free SCS e-newsletter.  Please send us your ideas and suggestions for future issues.  Have a great day!  

Where We'll Be

Chicago, IL
08/03/14 - 08/05/14

Keystone, CO
08/17/14 - 08/20/14

Dimensional Fund Advisors Annual Conference
Austin, TX

National Harbor, MD
10/26/14 - 10/29/14

Savannah, GA
4/27/15 - 4/29/15

 Today's Quotes

"Corporate culture provides the human glue that can rally the collective energy of your company toward improvements and accomplishments, or it can be the glue that fastens your organization to the way things have always been."

- Kevin Craine, author


"Coming together is the beginning, keeping together is progress. Working together is success." 

- Henry Ford 


"Success is ½ strategy,

½ execution, and ½ culture."

                     - Yogi Bera


Today's Laughs


Jack walks into his boss's office and says, "I need to talk to you and I"ll get straight to the point. I know the economy is really down, but I have a couple of companies after me, and I would like to ask for a raise." 


After a few minutes of negotiation, the boss finally agrees to a 10% raise, and Jack gets up to leave happily.  "One minute", says the boss to Jack.  "I'm curious.  Which  companies are after you?" 


Jack replied, "The gas company, the cable company, and the phone company!"




My manager called me in one day with good news and told me I was being promoted to Director of Product Efficiency. When I got my new business cards, the acronym read "DOPE."



                                                Golden key to success isolated white background 3d illustration               

       Corporate Culture                      Matters!
As retirement service providers, we spend 40 or more hours at work each week. Many of us spend more time with those we work with than we do with our families. We want to enjoy our time at work and feel that our work is meaningful. When our company's culture is strong - we are happier, more productive, and more eager to please customers. Successful firms have strong and vibrant cultures. Corporate culture matters!
A strong corporate culture reflects the values of the owners, the management team, and the employees.  It also reflects the company's mission and has a direct impact on company policies and strategies.  The corporate culture defines how employees interact with each other and with clients and other stakeholders.  
Corporate culture is often an afterthought - not something we proactively think about.  To increase awareness of corporate culture and more proactively influence the culture, we need to understand the many factors that shape and impact corporate culture, including:
  • Corporate core values;
  • Symbols (logos, jargon, status symbols like corporate cars or offices);
  • Environment (layout, community areas and open space, desks, bulletin boards, objects and artifacts, dress, how employees interact - tone and emotion, email etiquette);
  • Organizational structures (flat or hierarchical, formal or informal lines of authority);
  • Control systems (What is monitored and/or reported?  Where are the strongest controls?  Where are the weakest controls?  Are employees rewarded for good work or punished for bad work?);
  • Power structures (Who has "real" power? How are decisions made?  Is power abused? Who are the "influencers?");
  • Rituals and ceremonies (rewards, celebrations, routines, awards);
  • Stories (reputation of firm, history, "heroes and villains", what new employees are told).
The above list is a good place to start.   Click here to learn "How to Understand Your Company's Culture,"  including how to take a "cultural walk" around your office.   

                                                  Multiethnic Business People Holding Values         

Core Values

The Cornerstone of Corporate Culture



For a firm to succeed in today's fast-paced world, the firm's culture must be aligned with its core values and strategies.  For example, too much discipline at Apple would stifle innovation.  Too many rules and policies for Ritz Carlton employees would limit their ability to make quick decisions and respond to hotel guests' needs.  Core values don't directly drive the business, but they drive the people who drive the business! They set the stage for the culture, and they give a means for judging all behaviors. 


Google is a great example of a successful firm that carefully aligns its culture with its values and strategies. Three of Google's ten corporate values include: "Technology innovation is our lifeblood"; "Working at Google is fun"; and "We aspire to improve and change the world."  As an innovative company that promotes an employee-friendly unconventional corporate culture, Google has earned repeated high ratings on Fortune magazine's list of "100 Best Companies to Work For" by living its values.   Numerous perks and on-site services, including flex time, tuition reimbursement, free lunches, onsite doctors, oil changes, massages, and fitness classes, blend the line between work and home and encourage high productivity by making life easier for its employees.  Employees can use in-office "fun slides" instead of elevators to go down to a lower floor, and conference rooms contain pool tables to promote creativity.  The atmosphere is very appealing to creative, young, energetic employees and makes work fun, and the rewards for Google are big in the way of new, innovative products.  


It is important to live your core values every day. If one of your firm's values is continuous learning, then there should be a sizable budget for resources, educational opportunities, seminars, webinars, credentialing, and other learning opportunities.  If you value collaboration, then create task forces across departments and age groups or organize large group social events to encourage interaction.  Create rituals and celebrate successes that reinforce your values.   


Click here to learn more about "Core Values and the Companies That Do Them Well." 

                                                  One person tries to move a cube marked Stuck in Old Ways vs a group of competitors rolling balls with the words Embracing New Ways to symbolize change and adaptation         

            Cultures that             Embrace Change Enjoy Success 


  There is no such thing as a perfect culture.  Each company's culture is unique and special and evolves over time. However, companies that have cultures that embrace change instead of putting up barriers to resist change are more successful over the long haul.


When a culture embraces change, the company reaps many rewards. First, the company more easily attains its goals.  The best people want to stay, and talented people want to come there to work.  Customer, advisor, and vendor relationships thrive.  The staff is more productive and the company is more profitable.  Morale is high and life is good!


Want to strengthen your corporate culture?  Let SCS show you the way!



What our Customers are Saying...


"I don't know what we would have done without SCS. We were able to accomplish more than we thought possible this year."

- Experienced administrator, retirement services firm



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