Thursday, June 4, 2009

BackPocket Culture

Cameron is crazy about culture.

And the impact it has on profitability and performance.

Just so you know, Cameron is not one of those high falutin' academic types who sits around and theorizes about this stuff. He has been there, done that. Got several t-shirts from the trenches to prove it.

He is a brainiac with bootstraps.

As one of Canada's leading business minds, 42-year old Cameron has:

- Helped boost revenues from $2 Million to $105 Million in 6 years (incurring zero debt or taking on outside shareholders).
- Created a PR team that generated 5,000+ stories in those same 6 years.
- Hired 220 people in 4 months.
- Spearheaded the sale, branding, and integration of 450+ franchise locations.
- Taught his psychological theories at MIT's Entrepreneurial Masters Program.

Now branded as the "BackPocket COO", Cameron helps entrepreneurs make their dreams happen by putting systems in place that move a vision forward. After 7 years as Chief Operating Officer of 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, Cameron developed key insights on how a winning culture can be systematized, wisdom he now shares some of North America's hottest companies. During his tenure with 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, this hard working, hammock-loving Vancouverite helped founder Brian Scudamore engineer an internal culture that is the envy of many; seamlessly connecting to an external marketing message that makes a habit of getting noticed.

In exactly 1:08 you will get a sense of what Cameron Herold has helped create.

Canadian Business Magazine ranked 1-800-GOT-JUNK? as the “2nd Best Company to Work for in Canada”. BC Business Magazine rated them “the #1 Company in BC to Work for” - twice. Also during Cameron's reign, numerous MBA programs studied the company, including Harvard and Queen’s University.

Want to know how they did it?

Here is Cameron Herold at a recent workshop, explaining some of the nuts & bolts in creating a world class culture; an integral component for any brand, aspiring to become "seamless".

In short, Cameron recommends:

1. Paint the Picture

Visualize what the business will look like in a few years time. Areas such as Brand Presence, Culture, Leadership, Profitability, Service and Image. Share it with everyone in the company so there is common understanding on direction.

2. Recruit for Cultural Fit

Get the “right people on the bus”. Cameron shares the views of “Good to Great” author Jim Collins that it is essential to get the right people in the right roles. Get rid of those who don’t fit in. Interview over and over again until you are absolutely sure the right person is recruited.

3. Huddle

It's a high energy, seven-minute daily meeting.

The agenda looks like this:

- Good news (corporate and personal)
- Numbers (achievement against goals)
- What does it all mean? (financial achievement)
- Update the news. (what’s happening in each department, what's next)
- Challenges/Frustrations/Systems/opportunities
- Cheer

Cameron readily confesses many of his concepts are influenced by the internal branding strategy adopted by highly profitable, non-unionized WestJet, which earned honors as Canada's Most Admired Corporate Culture from 2005-08. He firmly believes there is no better way to combat a labour shortage than to develop a culture that sticks. As he explains, "If you have that cult-like culture, the company just attracts people like a magnet. You have to create "slightly more than a business and slightly less than a religion".

You might already be thinking how your business and brand could benefit from some of Cameron's crazy ideas.

But, are you crazy enough to actually put them in place?

"It's difficult for people to get rid of junk. They get attached to things and let them define who they are. If there's one thing I've learned in this business, it's that you are what you can't let go of"


jm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jm said...

Great post Gair. Corporate culture is going to be huge in Generation Y employee retention. Just as much as a paycheck, they are looking to be a part of a team, one they can be proud of.

But it's not enough to simply be a part of something great. That novelty soon wears off unless one feels the he or she is making a significant contribution to the team. That's why I like Cameron's recommendation to "Paint the Picture" and share the long-term vision with everyone in the company. It empowers them to become part of the DNA that makes the company unique.

Mike Shanks PSP said...

Thanks for this Gair.