I wrote and rewrote this blog multiple times. Whereas many professionals see culture as a cherry on top for a successful company, AgencyBloc and our founders have always viewed company culture as the bedrock of our success.
There are hundreds of articles touting statistics supporting this belief. Yet, rarely are company cultures nurtured and given the same resources and attention that a high-performing sales team, for example, might. One reason is that nurturing culture is often left in the hands of leadership alone, and when push comes to shove, culture is the last to get time in the boardroom.
Building Company Culture From the Beginning
Company culture is initially born from the value set of its founders, whether overtly stated or simply demonstrated. Herein lies the secret to success. How dedicated are your founders to clearly communicating, consistently demonstrating, and regularly engaging team members to nurture and fulfill those core values?
This early stage is critical. If your founders don’t truly believe, deep down, that company culture comes first and is non-negotiable, it is unlikely you will be building a strong, long-lasting, high-performing organization.
Here’s what our founders had to say about their consideration of culture when first building AgencyBloc:
“Company culture is a critical aspect of any company's success. It was a major focus to bring on team members that embraced the cultural ideals of AgencyBloc in the early days. We often said that we hired first based on cultural fit, then aptitude and ability. It's still important to our growth today, but in the early days, you are forming the foundation that will sustain and foster your culture. It can't be leaders/founders dictating the culture; the team needs to own it.”
—Cory Schmidt, Co-Founder & CTO
“We've always been mindful of culture and the importance it plays in an organization. In the early days with just a few team members, all attention was given to our mission—what we wanted to solve for in the industry. But before even reaching 10 team members, we expanded that document to include culture, which described how it should feel to be a part of our team or a part of the client community. Culture cannot be dictated, only developed and curated by everyone in the org. The original language was written by the entire team and has changed over the years based on team member suggestions and discussions.”
—Adam Lewis, Co-Founder & Board Member
Using Your Team to Inform & Improve Your Culture
After the first hire, every hire joins the effort and bears the responsibility of growing and forming the company culture. Again, at AgencyBloc, we know this is a crucial factor in maintaining an exceptional culture in a rapidly growing organization. This only works if the team building the company believes in their personal impact by upholding the values that guide the culture. They need to see, hear, and feel those values reiterated in their daily professional interactions and celebrate them together.
Here’s feedback from some of our team members on why they believe that exceptional culture is crucial to AgencyBloc’s success:
“Culture breeds creativity and transparency. If the culture is not capable of trust or is political in nature, people will not give honest feedback, and the whole organization will suffer the consequences.”
—Steve Ogden, Sales Manager
“I truly believe that great things happen when every person feels appreciated in their role. This feeling stems back to leadership from day one and has evolved as the team has grown to what it is today. That being said, the success of AgencyBloc can absolutely be attributed to our culture. A person that feels appreciated always does more than expected.”
—Kellie Robbins, Key Account Sales Representative
“We have high standards, and our culture allows us to collaborate better as a team, which helps drive success in our client community.”
—Brittany Liggins, Client Success Manager
“AgencyBloc has always been about initiating and inspiring success—the success of our clients and the success of our internal team. We keep the needs of our users and the needs of our teammates at the forefront of every decision, which over the years has resulted in a best-in-class user experience and an environment where every individual is valued and appreciated.
Our leaders care about us, and we care about each other—not just supporting each other in our various roles but also as people. We encourage each other when times are tough and celebrate wins, big and small. This culture enables us to pursue excellence, dream big dreams, and persevere through difficulties.
Over the years, we've built an amazing product and an amazing team. We will continue to value our clients and our people first, and their continued success will be the proof of that effort.”
—Becky Cox, Software Engineering Manager
“I believe our culture is critical for setting the tone we want to have with clients. We all want the best for our clients because that is what we would want if it were us. It’s being human and wanting to succeed. We know there will be mistakes and things will come up, but we all want to make it work and see it work for everyone. It isn't just a sale; it's a connection, a relationship, and the full experience.”
—Sara O’Brien, Campaign Architect
“The culture at AgencyBloc has been the same since day one. There is a ton of trust and room for people to be themselves at work. In turn, this leads to authenticity in everything that we do. The culture ultimately bleeds into every interaction we have with prospects and customers. They can feel the authenticity and feel comfortable working with us knowing that we genuinely want to help make them successful.”
—Mike Ivory, Intelligence Manager
“A direct line can be drawn between the quality of culture at AgencyBloc and the organization’s success. Our relationships with each other, founded on trust and respect, create a safe place to share ideas and expertise. Out of this collaboration grows our agency as individuals to own the outcomes of the organization—to tear down silos between us to deliver a seamless experience for our customers. When our customers succeed, we succeed.”
—Echo Larson, User Experience Architect
In conclusion, no culture is perfect. That is not the aim.
The aim is to create an environment where people feel so good about their work and contributions that they can’t wait to do more. Our history is living proof that culture matters. That’s why we believe.
About AgencyBloc, Inc.
AgencyBloc is the #1 agency recommended management system, helping insurance agencies secure and grow their business with an industry-specific CRM, commissions processing, and integrated business and sales automation. Headquartered in Cedar Falls, IA, AgencyBloc was founded in 2008.
Interested in joining the AgencyBloc team? Visit our careers page and see our current openings.
by Erica Kiefer on Saturday, June 4, 2022