Culture, Brand, Leadership – a Trifecta for Success

BY Courtney Huckabay
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There is an epidemic,” Tony Nuckolls told the crowd at the Schey Sales Symposium. “The ‘good enough’ epidemic is our current problem.”

This epidemic is spreading and infecting company leadership, culture and even brand, resulting in a lack of greatness. Nuckolls, who is the VP of training and development for Quicken Loans, gave 8 ways to be great, which I’ll outline later. First, I want to share his thoughts on how leadership, culture and brand work together to form a trifecta of success.

Nuckolls mentioned that there are strong ties between brand and culture. I’m not sure everyone makes this connection, so it’s worthy of some time and thought if you’re working on identifying your brand or establishing your company culture. Perhaps you even want to reinvent and promote your brand because your culture is so vital to what you sell! The example Nuckolls used to draw this connection was Disney. And Disney really drives the concept home.

You should want the ‘Disney Experience’ for your clients and customers and for your employees,” Nuckolls said. Disney spends much time, effort and money on making sure its employees feel the magic. It’s not just on the customer experience side. Therefore, the Disney brand has become the Disney culture. Or is it the other way around? The fact that you can’t tell is what makes it work. The employees are highly motivated to ensure each and every guest feels the Disney magic because they know what it feels like themselves and they are compelled to pass it on. The brand and culture are successfully intertwined and this is a direct result of great leadership.

Culture has to be from the top down,” Nuckolls iterated. “It’s important to spend the time to develop it. Culture trumps strategy.” Nuckolls went on to define culture informally like this: Culture develops organically over time from the cumulative traits of the people the company hires. If your company is seeking greatness – and not just good enoughness – then the leaders have to be the ones who execute it. “Love your people, love your clients – the rest takes care of itself,” Nuckolls advised.

Leaders: Here are your 8 ways to be great, through performance, attitude and consistency:

  1. Passion
  2. Work
  3. Focus
  4. Push (“pressure is a privilege” Nuckolls believes)
  5. Ideas (“be open. Say yes before no”)
  6. Improve
  7. Serve
  8. Persist

Ask yourself, “What’s our culture? Is it defined? Is it formal or informal? What’s our brand? Is it what I want it to be?” Then take the 8 ways and put them into action NOW.