Friday, August 23, 2019
Written by: Ninja, Liberty, and The PDT
Featured image by: Ninja
Move, Inspire, and Wow
Most business owners are unaware that the key element to a successful company is its culture. Company culture is the personality of a company and defines how your employees work. Culture is established through the work environment, as well as the company’s mission, values, and beliefs. At Pixel Dreams, we are always striving to find ways to better ourselves which is why we were excited to take part in Roma Moulding’s Culture Tour at their headquarters in Woodbridge, Ontario. The culture presentation was hosted by their visionary CEO, Tony Gareri, who’s mission was to deliver value through educating us on the power of company culture.
Tony, a.k.a. the Chief Officer of Wow, explained that to improve a business, one needs the constant mindset that unconventional methods bring about unconventional results. You cannot be doing the same things over and over again and expect different results.
Before we get into the juicy details, let’s talk about the powerhouse that is Roma Moulding. Roma Moulding was co-founded by John Gareri, (Tony’s father) in 1984 as an out–of-the-garage business. With only an 8th-grade education and a ton of determination, John was able to take a small home business and with the help of his son, turn it into what is now the second biggest framing company in North America. Roma Moulding’s story is a prime example that a lack of money, education, and resources, are just excuses that shouldn’t stop you from doing what you want to achieve.
Blinded by the glasses of disengagement
It wasn’t always all sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows for Roma Moulding. During the Great Recession sales for frames plummeted. Consumers could no longer afford homes, let alone luxury home decor. When Tony took the lead at the company, he was looking to make things better but he didn’t know how. After a chance encounter and reading a book called Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh, Tony headed to Las Vegas for a four day workshop with Zappos; which forever changed his perspective on workplace culture.
We learned effective leaders don’t rate themselves 10/10 if those they are leading are below a 10. Leaders serve their teams, not the other way around. Yes, some team members may be inexperienced but what you need to remember is that everyone on your team is a leader and has just as much to bring to the table and inspire others. At Roma, Leadership meetings are on Mondays at 10 AM and are led by a different team member each time.
“I don’t know about you but I don’t want to start my Mondays off with a boring meeting about KPIs.” said Tony. A requirement before each meeting is to share something with the team that personally inspires them; this method helps peers better understand their colleagues.
A path to profits, passion, and purpose
In Latin, “culture” means “to care” and company culture is about caring for your team. If the survey says 71% of employees hate their jobs, then things are looking grim. Work should not have to hurt. To get your business soaring, you need to put the people first, not the profits. “But I want to make money!” you say, we know… and you will. When you care for your team they begin to care for you and that in turn will have them determined to see you succeed; they’ll work harder and better to bring the company business, thus increasing profits.
In 2011, Tony had his first ‘All Hands’ meeting, which is posted on youtube. A new era of company culture began. Eventually a set of Core Values was developed from a series of emails sent to employees asking what they value. Together with the team, Tony was able to cut down those responses to 100, then 50 and now 10 core company values that hang around all over the office. These 10 values are used to guide all decisions..
“Our values are made for the people, by the people. They aren’t mine but I subscribe to them.”
– Tony Gareri.
Great company culture propels the company forward. Remember, as you rise through new levels, you’ll find new devils. Be prepared. Remind your colleagues that they will always get their say, but they won’t always get their way. Change is inevitable; but change can lead to progress. As you create a company culture, you will encounter the following types of people:
- Believers: team members who believe in you and your vision 100% and are willing to follow you.
- Proofs: team members who need to see action to believe in you (e.g. “I give him 6 months”).
- Culture Vampires: there will always be those who constantly doubt the decisions you make.
CEOs are usually the last to know who the Culture Vampires are in the company, so executives must listen to their Believers when they express a valid concern.
“I tell people the truth because, by the way, they already know.”
– Tony Gareri.
The first year Roma went “unconventional” they faced legal actions, found some Culture Vampires, and 25 people left the company. As a business owner, you need to accept that not everyone will buy into your vision and that’s okay; let them go. The people you want to have surrounding you should be engaged and determined. Everyday you ask a dis-Believer to leave, your culture gets stronger. When you are considering new hires, remember that the interview begins before the interview: when the prospective candidate first came in, did they treat your greater politely?
Before you welcome a new member to your team, do your best to talk them out of it. Why? They’ll understand the reality of what it is to be on your team and it’s their choice whether they want to give it their all or hit the road. Doing this will save you a ton of time and grief. Once they’re on board, they are family; so treat them like rockstars.
Happy to Host!The Roma Team welcomed Kal S and his team from Pixel Dreams to our headquarters on Friday, where we…
Roma Moulding’s mission is to “Move, Inspire, and Wow” and we at PD can definitely say we were moved, inspired, and wowed beyond our imagination over the course of this extraordinary Culture Tour & Talk.
After taking in such extensive information, the question we must ask is, Where does Pixel Dreams go from here?
We left the tour totally inspired to do more. Lucky for us we already have years of culture enrichment at our company. Each one of us has a laptop. Our office is already quite open-concept. All of our core team members have taken Predictive Index. We have established core values, weekly action items, and leadership breakfasts. And now we have some more great culture-strengthening ideas to consider implementing:
- Win of the week
- Champagne celebrations
- ‘I wish you knew’ board
- P.E.C. (Personal emotional connection card)
- Roma’s Wish charity (Burger smash, egg-Russian roulette, 50/50)
- Roman’s Adventures (gnome on vacation)
- Huddle rooms
- Mission trips (to leave this World better)
100s of people this year have flocked over to Roma Moulding to get a tour of the facility. We appreciate the fact we were one of them! We look forward to learning more from Tony and the Roma Moulding team. A big ‘shout out’ to Olga Cenic, the Director for Culture and Talent; thank you for showing us around. And kudos to the company culture mastermind himself, Tony Gareri, for spreading so much knowledge. Wow.