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Transcript: Creating a Culture To Be Proud Of (EP28)


Intro (with music): Welcome to The Culture of Things podcast with Brendan Rogers. This is a podcast where we talk all things, culture, leadership and teamwork across business and sport.


Hello, everybody. I'm Brendan Rogers, the host of The Culture of Things podcast. This is Episode 28.

Today, I'm talking with Bill Clifton. Bill is the Group Managing Director of Banlaw based in the Hunter Valley, which is about an hour North of our beautiful Central Coast. The Hunter Valley location is Banlaw’s main manufacturing and research and development facility.

Banlaw is leading the way in the innovation of unified fuel management solutions and services globally. They design and manage these systems for mining, container handling ports, rail and transport industries. Their fuel systems can be found throughout Australia, Europe, the US, Asia and the Americas.

I heard Bill talk about the Banlaw culture through an industry event and made contact with him to learn some more. When we spoke, there was some great real life culture building experience that needed to be shared.

Thankfully, Bill has agreed to do that today.

The focus of our conversation is to share Bill's experience in developing a culture at Banlaw that he is proud of.

Bill, welcome to The Culture of Things podcast.

Bill Clifton: Thanks, Brendan. Yeah, looking forward to it.

Brendan Rogers: Mate, thanks for taking some time in your busy schedule today. I know we were just joking off air about you just need to get the pay runs done so you'll have a lot of happy employees now I take it.

Bill Clifton: Well, they might knock on the door so I'll be right. I'll get some time with you.

Brendan Rogers: That's awesome, mate. Thank you very much. You've been in the fuel game a hell of a long time. Do you want to just tell us a bit about your journey in this game and what brought you to Banlaw?

Bill Clifton: Yeah, sure Brendan. We, been in, well, the family were in the fuel game since 1939. Somehow, I got into the family business once the computer age came. I was at university and all of a sudden, we had to put in a computer back in about 1980. I got involved with the Shell organisation through that and ended up being, you know, involved, traveling with Shell around the country, helping others to set up. And I really enjoyed the business side of things and so, I stayed in that business and I didn't go out. And the good thing about the fuel business is that we came to understand how expensive it is, the cost per litre. We were a consignment agent. We were responsible for any litre we lost so we became really, really good at managing inventory. So as time went by, I moved to Newcastle in ‘87, picked up the Shell business in Newcastle & Hunter surrounds.

In fact, at Berkeley Vale, we used to have the Shell depot down, I think it was Apprentice Drive in Berkeley Vale and we amalgamated and rationalised, so we did quite well. And then, Shell realised how much money we're making and they decided that maybe, they should own the business, so we sold the Shell in ‘97 and from there, I stumbled and did some oil importing for Total and Exxon. And then, I came across this little business called Banlaw. I knew exactly what they were trying to do. They were a manufacturing business. They're making a lot of refueling system components that allowed the mining industry to fill safely, no spill, and you can fill your car at 35 litres a minute. We're filling at a thousand litres a minute on to large mining equipment.

So, and that attracted me, but it was the technology that was the most interesting part. That was like the ability to identify all the fuel consuming assets with a tagging system engineered and built into the nozzle that allowed them to control and secure the fuel as well. So, if they didn't know how to generate the software or what to do with the software and the data once they collected it. So I took everything I learnt in the Shell business, which was all about fuel management, reconciliation and control, and wrote all that into a software system, which now allows organisations like Fortescue Metal Group, Glencore, Anglo American, Barrack Gold, really large organisations on a global scale, use our enterprise software to control and report accurately fuel to a head office level, but also to drill down and see what's going on at a site level. And, you know, I suppose, my days in the fuel industry served me well for this small creative and innovative company called Banlaw. So now, we look at all high value liquid assets, not only fuel and oil, but we're looking at water and gas and high value chemicals. And we now help organisations on a large scale, manage that.

Brendan Rogers: Mate, let's go on to the people side that the fuel game and those sort of systems sounds pretty smart and technical. Let's talk about the healthy side of the business, where the people come in. So can you just describe what the Banlaw culture is and what sort of focus you've put on over the years?

Bill Clifton: It's the sum total of the values you have as an organisation, it's the way you handle difficult employees. It’s how you recruit new employees, but most of all it’s how you look after your customers. It's also, I think, around giving those in your organisation some license to be a bit more creative to perhaps, make some mistakes, not big ones we hope, and that we've certainly made some clangers, but it's about that trust between people to search for that vision and ours has always been, to be the global leader in, it used to be hydrocarbon management technology, but now we talk about the global leader in high value liquid asset intelligence. And that, you know, that sets the tone to where we're going. Do we sell it well enough within our organisation? Perhaps not, but it's probably a process of osmosis. We could do a lot more active development, but I think it's something that's got to come naturally. And if it's something that you're trying to sell your staff and create a wonderful culture, because it's a project than it's a new idea. I think that staff are smart and that they see that as perhaps being a bit shallow. I think it's just something that's sustained over a long period of time that starts to build. But yeah, you can influence and you can direct it. And we're lucky here, we've just had a good bunch of guys for a long time. And that just seems to work.

Brendan Rogers: As the ultimate leader and owner of Banlaw, how do you influence the culture? Like what do you do day-to-day to make sure that this culture is moving in the direction that you want it to?

Bill Clifton: Okay. Well, firstly, I have a business partner, and Jeff is the majority business partner, but Jeff also, he lives in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. So right now, we don't get to see a lot of Jeff, which is difficult. Jeff used to be our distributor in Indonesia and he was our largest distributor. And I guess it’s some kind of vindication of the culture we've built of the strategic product innovation that we've been working for, that he's seen us do some large projects in Indonesia and we've partnered with his old organisation, and that organisation still exists but under new owners. And they continue to work with the mining industry over there to deliver ongoing benefit. So Jeff saw something in Banlaw. And when we were talking one day, and he decided to come and invest in Banlaw. And that was in 2010.

We've had a fantastic trip along the way. So when I talk about what I do, I'm very lucky. I've got a fantastic business partner who thinks and acts exactly the same way. And that is that we like to give our people a bit of room to move. We like to encourage them to be innovative, and a bit creative, you know. Whether it's in our manufacturing facility where we're trying to reduce the manufacturing costs of a component that they're making, you know, we could even be just talking about cents or minutes here. We like to give them that license to try it. And if it doesn't work well, so be it. But if it does work well, that's even better. And same in our software team, they basically have license to run that department. You know, we kind of set the strategic vision where we go, what we want to achieve, we then let them work out how we're going to get there. And of course, nothing in this is new and there's a lot of organisations out there that can do it. But I think it's that consistency, one between Jeff and I, but two, the consistency of allowing a number of people to be a little creative and innovative in their own way, without fear of being reprimanded.

Brendan Rogers: When did you start to think, or maybe you've always thought like this, but that people were so important in this journey and what you're trying to create with your business partner at Banlaw?

Bill Clifton: I think it goes back to when I was doing my due diligence back in 1999. And the company had this great bunch of young employees and one of them is still with me now. Paul Buckton's been with us for nearly 30 years or with the organisation for nearly 30 years. And at one stage there, things were getting a bit difficult. A couple of the young blokes came up and said, “Look, if you take on this company? You worry about where it's going and we'll make sure we worry about quality and delivering on our customer promise.” And these were apprentices and they thought to come and have a chat to me. And I thought, you know, “We've got a pretty good start when you've got young people at that stage willing to talk to a potential buyer, trying to encourage them to buy the business.” And of course, we gathered those guys after I did buy the business.

And I still remember it in the old kitchen in the old factory. We've since moved on to a larger facility, where we sat down and we worked out our values. What values are going to guide us to make the right decisions? And of course, we still have those same values with us today. So I guess it was right at the beginning of my journey with Banlaw, but even in the fuel business, the key thing was trying to make work a bit of fun and enjoyable. And that then perhaps gave me a bit of license to expect a bit more and lift the standard. So yeah, I guess it's just been something that's been around since my days working at Banlaw and before working with people.

Brendan Rogers: How about you tell us a little bit about the values of being more and how that sort of evolved?

Bill Clifton: We had a couple of things go wrong and you know, to me it was obvious. But to, I realised to some of these young guys, it wasn't obvious. So, mind you, I wasn’t that old at the time I bought Banlaw. So we sat down and we just, you know, we had a morning tea. We sat down around the table and we just talked about, and I asked them all to go away and think of a number of words that they'd be proud of, that would allow them to test a decision against that would allow them to, or the words that would allow them to steer themselves to make better decisions. And it was quite interesting, out of the 10 guys that were there, I think it was 10, and we came up with five words, which we've used. We added one later in the piece and you know, the five words were safety. They wanted safety to always come first. And you know, being in the mining industry, it's one quick way to find the road to receivership. If you don't practice good safety. So if you want to put a commercial slant on it, let alone all the human aspects. Teamwork. Our success is built on our teamwork. We want to be trusted. We can be trusted to do what we say and then say what we do. And we've always been like that with our customers. Innovation was the fourth one. It’s the only way forward. And then quality. You know, we're obsessed with quality. You know, making us dependable, not disposable. And then later down the track, we tried a general manager and we realised that respect was a really big value. You know, we want to respect not only our people, but our customers. And so, we respect people and process. Without both, we have nothing.

They’re the six values - safety, teamwork, trust, innovation, quality, and respect. And you know, I know there's nothing there about profit and that I guess to a lot of companies, it’s a bit of a surprise, but that comes, if you get all this right, that comes and people being empowered to make some decisions use this as a compass to test things that they wanted to try or do as a tool for them to make better decisions and, you know, I’ve got to say it’s worked. We haven't always got it right. But it's been pretty good. It's still with us today.

Brendan Rogers: What I'd like to probably emphasise is that they're just words - safety, teamwork, trust, innovation, quality, and respect. What's more important, and this is where I think if I'm listening to this podcast episode is, as I said, they're just words, but how do you actually make these words live in your organisation? What do you do to make them meaningful?

Bill Clifton: Well, we've learned a lot out of the mining, the mining industry went from being a relatively unsafe industry to, and we're talking in a period of about 5, 10 years to becoming one of the safest industries. And it was just a relentless pursuit of safety. And you know, they're to be commended. But so we piggybacked on a lot of the things we learnt in dealing with the mines. So we start our business meeting, every meeting we start is with a safety share. And that is where someone, it doesn't have to be work. It can be at home. It can be a story they've heard. We were just talking about safety and how that relates to people. And if it's a safety share within our business, well, that's always good too, it’s quite often they're not, their stories they picked up usually from other incident alerts that we'll get from other companies and from the mining industry and you know, something that you see that could impact, or that has impacted another business.

And you just think, “Gosh, if that was our business, we'd be devastated.” So, you know, we are very, you know, we haven't had a lost time injury. I think it's nearly, it's over three years. Teamwork, well, we just walk the talk and try to have a no blame, but it is all about teamwork and a lot of peer review. Trust. We just want people to not overpromise, underpromise, and overdeliver, and, you know, that's within, and that's holding each other accountable to deadlines. And if we've got a meeting and someone says, “I'll have that done by next week”. Well, if he hasn't got it done by next week, it's got to have a pretty good reason.

Innovation, well we’ve spent a lot of money on it. We've got an innovation team here. To give an indication of how important that is. We released about two years ago a new product, an overfill protection system. And in this day of COVID, for some reason, it's just taken off and it's going really, really well. And it's sustained us through a pretty tough period that all businesses are going through. So there's a long cycle in innovation and we are guilty of expecting wonderful things too soon. So, but it's saved us here and we still see it as the future. Quality, well, we're quality-assured. Everything's about the quality. We've got a pretty high benchmark for warranty. We only recently had our first ever product recall since I've been here. And even then, it was precautionary and the trust and the goodwill we built with our customers because we did have the recall. For, not a major issue and the way in which we handle it built us a lot of credibility and reputational enhancement, which was good. And then respect. You know, we just respect our people, and we respect our processes day-to-day. I think that's, to me, it's good manners as much as anything, but we just do that every day. And I think that's just the type of people we recruit and hire, they’re just respectful, and want to do a good job.

Brendan Rogers: Let's talk about difficult employees because I know, again, people listen and you know, they think, “Oh, I've got difficult employees.” So let's just go with that one. How do these values and what you just explained help you have conversations with people?

Bill Clifton: Well, the interesting thing about a difficult employee, is if he's difficult about one thing he’s usually, and I shouldn't say just he it might be a she, they're usually difficult about other things too. So, you know, if they're, I don't know if they're cutting corners around safety and they're not observing our occupational health and safety protocols, well, they're probably not good teamwork guys. And they’re probably can't really be trusted either. So, generally, and probably, it goes back to the All Blacks, that book Legacy, which I found fascinating and I probably shouldn't swear. But you know, they have that ‘no dickhead’ policy and, you know, people that tend to want, you know, to do the wrong thing all the time, they don't last long here. And I think that's, you know, we'll tolerate a little bit, but if they're not going to respect the other people here, with working a quality job and being safe and things like that, they don't deserve to be here. So it helps us recruit people, but it also helps us identify people that maybe need to be allowed the chance to develop a career elsewhere.

Brendan Rogers: It's a great book reference. You mentioned legacy as well and I know you're a rugby man. Who do you follow?

Bill Clifton: The Hunter Wildfires. Any team out of the Newcastle and Hunter Rugby Union, obviously then, you've got the chain to the Waratahs and the Wallabies. So what I love about rugby is that it's teamwork. Anyone that's playing a great team sport, usually, there's someone that's usually got some pretty good values and it’s a good head start. Mind you, it's not the only thing, but it's a good head start.

Brendan Rogers: If we pick teamwork, you mentioned peer review a little bit earlier as well, what does that look like? This peer review process and particularly in relation to one of your values, which was teamwork.

Bill Clifton: Okay, well, innovation and research and development, you have to have the peer review. So if you're developing a new product and before you go into a prototype stage, you get, we might get some of our service people, our manufacturing people, our salespeople. And when we get them in the room with the engineers and the engineers and says, “Well, this is what we're going to do. Those are the features. This is the pain point we're trying to fix and save for, let’s say, our mining customers. What do you think?” And just out of that, you get a whole lot of discussion, but not only challenging the engineers, but you're doing it in a collaborative and perhaps a constructive way that builds teamwork, but it also builds trust and respect. And, you know, you end up with a great quality product that comes out the other end probably in another, for about three weeks.

I just happened to stumble into talk to the Production Manager at the same time he's having his little huddle with his Supervisors out on the factory floor. For three weeks in a row, I walked in and they were talking about one person and this one person was a teamwork issue, but he was also a safety issue. And he was showing his Supervisor little respect. And I walk in and here they were on the third week talking about the same guy, same issues. And we made a very quick, or we had a quick discussion and just testing back against our values, we decided that the guy was perhaps not right for us. And that afternoon, he was gone. And I'm not trying to sound as though we, you know, we treat all our people like that. We don't. It's very rare for us to have to do something like that, extremely rare, but it was so easy.

And walked into the meeting the next week and said, “So how's it going, guys?” And so, we haven't got much to talk about this week. Everything's going pretty well. And you know, they were kind of laughing about it. So, they're going from this worried state where they'd be completely distracted by one bloke or one person who really wasn't committed, wasn't prepared to work with the guys and it just took that right out to play. And then, we had a pretty good discussion about some little Six Sigma projects we're doing where we're trying to save some money. So I was going from talking about a costly problem to how are we going to save money and, they just take up all your head space”.

Brendan Rogers: In the development of the Banlaw culture, you know, you've been very deliberate about how you've developed this culture with yourself and your business partner and the team that you've got, are there some specific things that really stick out to you as to what's actually worked well? Like what's actually helped you develop this culture that you're proud of?

Bill Clifton: Well, firstly, I don't think we've deliberately gone about it. And I think that's a key thing. It's just the way we work with people and it's authentic. And our team really like it. There's some things that I, you know, we have to do with a new employee. So we then go through and we look at the way we induct them. You know, their first day at work is, well we haven't always done it very well, but we're really putting some think time into making their first couple of days, their first week here at Banlaw pretty special. And a lot of that is just discussions and a couple of cups of coffee with people and one-on-ones go around and have a chat. And our team tend to start to educate a new employee and the employee starts to feel and understand that, “Oh, ok so this is the way we do it”. But potentially, the most intentional influence we try to have around the culture, but we have a couple of other, we've got what we call a Banlaw Action Register, which is a QA thing that, you know, we put a lot of focus around making sure our team are working all of the register items through to completion so that if someone puts into the system, we call it a BAR - Banlaw Action Register.

They put a BAR into the system that they know that it's going to be addressed. Developing and refining our processes and documenting them, and so you can pin them up on the wall and the guys can say, “Okay, that's how we do this.” I guess they're probably three, four, the key things we do, you know, the actual induction and how we get new people on board, our BAR system and make sure everything's followed up and done. Yeah, I wish I had a pearl of wisdom I could drop, but I think, again, it comes back to this consistency and the completeness of it all. Yeah well, I just don't have a silver bullet I’m afraid.

Brendan Rogers: What you've said is very well said, and that's the real key thing around culture. It is something, it's just how you treat people and how you operate. And it's sort of given what you guys have come up with and you may have six core values, but they are core. They're just who you are, what you do. So you probably downplay it more so than anything, but because you've come up with the right values that are just you, and that's the difference between organisations that maybe are trying to fabricate something versus something that you guys are just doing, because that's just who you are.

Bill Clifton: I guess, in regards to culture today, unfortunately, we lost our Senior Software Development Manager. And it wasn't someone else offered him more money or anything, it was that he felt that he couldn't see the vision out 5, 10 years, which is something that perhaps we don't do very well. So, cause you know we're very good at this year, next year, and the year out. We go three years but with our software development team, it's something that I’ve learnt is that, you know, they're looking further ahead, they're writing software that's going to be commercialised in two, three years time. And in that discussion, when I sat down, it came to be that when I showed him what I put in our board papers, he found that, “Oh, we do know where we're going and what we're doing, but I've only really been speaking that strategy and vision at the executive level, assuming that it would then get talked down in the team meetings”. So I've now realised that I have to get out and go around and talk to all the teams more about where we're going and what we're doing. That was a gap that's only just come up today, and you know, I know it sounds as though we’ve got lots of things together, but I think it just goes to show, you always need to be talking with your people and understanding where they're at and making sure that the message’s going up and down through your leadership team.

Brendan Rogera: Just reminds me of something that a guy, Patrick Lencioni, calls the, not only are you the CEO or the Managing Director or Group Managing Director, you're also the “Chief Reminding Officer”. You can never remind people enough.

Bill Clifton: Yeah. At times, I'm guilty of assuming people know the obvious when perhaps I shouldn't. And I think this is one of those times and it's cost me dearly.

Brendan Rogers: Mate, I want to bring up something that when you and I actually sat down and had a chat, you talked about accountability, that keyword, do you want to just tell us a little bit about this accountability light that came on and maybe you guys thought you were being a little bit more accountable? But maybe weren't, and what that looked like and what you've done about it?

Bill Clifton: We've been growing at about, I don't know, 17% year on year from when we started. And you know, you're bringing in a new team and your work with that leadership team. And as it grows and develops, and to me, it's always about continuous improvement. You grow with people and you tend to become close to them and you support them. But every now and then, there has to be this accountability, including myself. And my Board is now helping me with my accountability, but we had a lot of dates slipping for good reason. There's always a good reason that we're short a resource in this area, or we've got other priorities. And the way we've overcome it, is we've decided that we need to tackle this, not one off, but as a group.

So I’ve been working with Mark Purbrick, at Peoplogica, and he's taken us through this program, which is proving to be exceptional. And the one thing that we have identified is everybody has to hold each other accountable, because it’s just the nature of people. And already, we're starting to see better results and performance and people give and commit to that delivery date. They got to have a really good excuse why they didn't do it because they set their own delivery date or, you know, the deadline. And understanding the economic effect, that knock on effect and how, if you don't get this done by this date, there's an economic knock on effect into some of the other departments, and yeah, we're all mindful of it. We're all working hard and the team will keep me accountable too. In fact, I think they enjoy that part, but you gotta make a bit of fun out of it as well.

Brendan Rogers: Mate, just to make you feel maybe a little bit better. Accountability is the biggest challenge for any team. I think they say that something like 70% of teams struggle with accountability and mutual accountability. So you're not alone.  

Bill Clifton: Well, that's good to know. (Laughing)

Brendan Rogers: Mate, accountability is one of those things, as we've just referred to is pretty tough for all teams, just holding each other accountable. Performance, a little bit easier, but behaviours is even more challenging. What is maybe a couple of other things that stick out for you in this journey of developing the Banlaw culture that hasn't really quite worked out as well as what you'd like?

Bill Clifton: From my perspective as the Managing Director, you tend to think you've got some things under control and all of a sudden, a bushfire breaks out and you realise geez how did I miss that. So I get a bit concerned that as you grow, you can't be as close to everything as you used to be. And trying to keep the office door open so you are approachable, but also trying to get the time to get everything done, trying to find that balance is a challenge. And it's definitely a challenge for our Department Managers as well. But I think it's not trying to tackle some of these issues like accountability as a team, trying to do it one off that doesn't work. And one of the other culture killers is not having productive meetings. And you know, we're not perfect even now, but we're really trying to focus on how we get real. If we're going to pull people into the meeting, trying to make sure they're really productive. And I guess these are all the challenges that every businesses have.

Brendan Rogers: We actually spoke about meetings and how important they are to high performing teams in an earlier episode of The Culture of Things podcast. Mate, what would be this bit of advice you'd love to give leaders just around developing a culture that they can be proud of?

Bill Clifton: I guess it's gotta be authentic. It can't be fabricated. And so, how do you do that? First thing is it's much easier with a small team. And I guess I was lucky I got in when the team was only about 16 people. I think now if I got in and you know, we got something like 85 people and if I was to get in now, it is much more difficult. I think there's an expectation that the Manager has all the answers. And I think the best value I got was asking those 10 guys back in the old kitchen at the old factory to write down their values first. Once we did that, you know, we just didn’t write them down. We discussed them and then we culled them and a bit of think time went into it and then we ran it through some practical examples.

And once the guy’s got that, I think then, you know, we were in a good place. We were in a good position, but there was the guys that I worked with to get the values right. And from there, they've just kind of been a bit of a benchmark and a litmus test for most decisions that any of us make. And when something goes wrong, we go back to that and say, “Okay, well, hang on. How does that cut? What you've done, where's the quality in that? And where's the respect for the process?”

So, yes, I think engaging people, to talk about what values are important to them, and if you look ahead, you know, and define what success looks like when you get there and what are the values of an organisation or a team, a successful team, they've gotta be aspirational, but they've also gotta be authentic. So I think that's possibly where I'd start and work from there.

Brendan Rogers: How can people get hold of you?

Bill Clifton: bclifton@banlaw.com. It's probably the best way, or they could call the office on 49 22 63 00 and they'll get me that way. I'm not trying to sound immodest, but you know, I think we've come a long way at Banlaw, but I love talking to other businesses about their journey and how they get there. So, please call if needed.

Brendan Rogers: I just want to say a massive thank you for giving up your time again today. And I want to read something that I found on your LinkedIn profile as well. So for those out there, you're also on LinkedIn, Bill Clifton. It was from somebody who worked in your organisation and he said, “Bill Clifton, one of the few remaining business gentlemen remaining in today's corporate dog eat dog world, a leader that shares leadership in order to receive it, a leader who actually realises his people are in fact, his number one asset. And as a consequence, receives their unequivocal loyalty.”

Mate, that says so much about you. My short interactions with you, and when I met you face-to-face, I can see you living and breathing that. Just how you approach the whole situation and just how you handle yourself to me today on the conversation as well, there's just an unbelievable level of humility. It's almost like you're just doing what you do, and it's not a surprise to you. And where it’s actually you’re doing some fantastic things around culture. And I know you've been supported in that journey through Mark Purbrick, at Peoplogica, and it's fantastic. You're taking the right steps. You’re connecting with the right people.

Mate, thank you for spending your time and being our guest on The Culture of Things podcast today.

Bill Clifton: Thank you for having me, Brendan. And I hope everyone else out there stays safe and gets through this COVID thing and is successful.

(Music plays)

Brendan Rogers: The best leaders show humility. I think you can hear through the interview what a humble person Bill is. He shares openly what he and Banlaw have done well and also what they haven't done well. He also shared how they recently lost their Software Development Manager. His reflection on this showed another level of humility only demonstrated by great leaders. He looked at himself and what he can do to learn from these recent events and make changes to his own leadership style, to try and avoid it happening again in the future. His learning? Don't assume anything. It could cost you dearly.

These were my three key takeaways from my conversation with Bill.

My first key takeaway. Culture is the sum total of the values you have as an organisation. As Bill said, it is how you handle people, how you recruit, how you look after your customers, how you give people license to do things in the organisation, how you give them room to move and the trust between people. All these things plus more add up to your culture.

My second key takeaway. Core values live in your organisation. In Banlaw’s case, safety is one of their core values. They start every meeting with a safety share, which could be related to work or something they've seen outside of work. Quality was another core value mentioned. They are quality-assured. They have a high benchmark for warranty and overall, they don't cut corners with the quality of their products. Core values are not words or slogans on the wall. They are the fabric of what you do every day and how you operate. They should guide your every decision.

My third key takeaway. Values help you have respectful conversations. Whether they be difficult conversations or not, your values are your framework to link to every conversation. If it is someone not observing safety protocols, meaning they aren't being a good team player and likely can't be trusted, having a conversation around that and linking back to values is simple and respectful. If someone consistently isn't living the values, as Bill says, you may just have to give them the chance to develop elsewhere.

So, in summary, my three key takeaways were: culture is the sum total of the values you have as an organisation, core values live in your organisation, values help you have respectful conversations.

If you have any questions or feedback about this episode, please feel free to send me a message at brendan@brendanrogers.com.au.

Thank you for listening. Stay safe until next time. 


Outtro (music): Thank you for listening to The Culture of Things podcast with Brendan Rogers. Please visit brendanrogers.com.au to access the show notes. If you love The Culture of Things podcast, please subscribe, rate and give a review on Apple podcasts and remember a healthy culture is your competitive advantage.