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Creating the Vibe

Understand the importance of a winning culture and involve the entire team in the process.




QUICK QUESTION: How many books, articles, or videos have you gone through that talked about the importance of building a “strong company culture?” If you are like most business folks, that could be a big number. Here’s the question: If we all know the importance of building a strong culture in our businesses, why doesn’t that really happen?

The reality of the situation is that businesses these days need workers. With such a low unemployment rate, attracting, hiring, and retaining great employees is extremely difficult. This is why companies often can’t be patient in who they hire and add a new employee who might not be a good fit.

“Hey, we have work to do,” they say.

Then, they hire someone who can fog a mirror and is a “warm body” instead of someone who is a good fit and aligned with the company’s core values. Not too long after that, amid multiple intense managerial conversations, write-ups, and disciplinary procedures, the employee either quits or is terminated. Time and money were wasted.

Raise your hand if that sounds familiar. It’s no wonder the industry has such a big problem with this idea.

What Is Company Culture Anyway?

I like to think the best way to describe “company culture” with the phrase, “People like us do things like this.”


From the lowest employee to the company’s owner, the culture shows up in the team’s attitudes, standards, shared values, behaviors, and accountability. When these things clearly are defined and are the expectation of everyone in the company, you have a winning culture. Consider these points:

  • Winning is clearly defined.
  • All team members respect each other, and everyone is treated fairly.
  • Employees have challenging and meaningful work.
  • Team members understand the company’s goals and direction.
  • The company operates with open, truthful, and robust communication.
  • Team members support each other and make the workplace fun and enjoyable.

Take a minute and consider your business. If you agree that your shop doesn’t have a winning culture, what is missing from the bullet-point list above? Is that something you can put together with some teamwork and brainstorming?

Again, your company culture is defined by everyone in the business. It is not “what the owner says it is.” It’s the reality that is naked for all the world to see.

This starts with who you allow on your team. Inserting a warm body into the mix simply spells disaster. You can do better.

What are your company’s values, beliefs, behaviors, norms, diversity, and inclusion ideas? If you asked each of your team members to write their versions down, would the answers basically be different? Or the same? Would the answers be a positive reflection on the company?

For some, this is a scary thought.

Where Do We Start?

Change must happen. Whether you are starting from scratch or wanting to improve your company culture because something feels like it is missing, there are some ideas that you should consider.

Begin by establishing clear values and the mission behind the company. In other words, your job is to get everyone working toward common goals. Some examples of these could be:

  • We want to be the best place to work in our area.
  • Our goal is to put the concept of sustainability first in everything we do.
  • For our shop, we solve our customer’s problems.
  • The shop is dedicated to helping others in need in our community.
  • Our mission is to be the best screen-printing shop in the city.

These are great statements, but what do they really mean? What are you willing to do to achieve these ideas? Will you not hire someone who isn’t a good fit?

Are you willing to do the hard things and changes required for a winning culture?

This is getting past the transactional nature of business and going deeper into what type of customers you want, the work you want to do, and the team employed in your company to make things happen. Essentially, this is the search for common ground and clarity in purpose and goals.

Warning: This is Difficult

ProTip: This is difficult, gravitational pull, philosophical heavy work.


Even if you haven’t voiced it, you already know this because that’s the reason why it was skipped over for all these years. It’s awkward even to discuss it sometimes.

Here’s the good news. You don’t have to do it in one day. Start where you are with what you have. Have a sense of humor about it. Bring in your team.

To build a winning culture, your leadership challenge is getting your team to shape the culture from the ground up. What strategies and processes will need to be built? How will you remain flexible and resilient when things get tough?

There is going to be difficulty. So be ready for it. Discuss how your crew will deal with conflict and how you can reinforce positive behaviors. Consider how you will measure the effectiveness of your culture-building with surveys, feedback mechanisms, and discussions.

You Can Do It

Building a great company culture is achievable. It is a steady drumbeat of work to get everyone on board and working together toward your common goals.

Bobby Harris, owner of K&B Promotions in Arlington, Texas, says, “Having a good culture allows us to focus on executing our strategies instead of micromanaging the day-to-day activities of our team members.”

K&B Promotions is a good example of a business in the industry with a winning culture. Bobby has been working on this for years and, like a winning sports team, has assembled a staff that meets the company’s vision and expectations.

Why is a Winning Culture Important?

The famous business consultant Peter Drucker once said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” It isn’t a throwaway line.

Highly engaged employees and a winning culture produce greater customer satisfaction and retention. If you keep your employees happy, then they will make your customers happy.

A winning culture becomes an upward spiral of success.

You must carve out time and effort to work on this critical idea. A winning culture isn’t going to construct itself or appear by osmosis just because you walked into your office.

The best place to start with this endeavor is by simply defining the outcome you want to achieve. That’s your destination. Once established, work backward and chart everything needed to make your goal a reality. You can do it!



Let’s Talk About It

Creating a More Diverse and Inclusive Screen Printing Industry

LET’S TALK About It: Part 3 discusses how four screen printers have employed people with disabilities, why you should consider doing the same, the resources that are available, and more. Watch the live webinar, held August 16, moderated by Adrienne Palmer, editor-in-chief, Screen Printing magazine, with panelists Ali Banholzer, Amber Massey, Ryan Moor, and Jed Seifert. The multi-part series is hosted exclusively by ROQ.US and U.N.I.T.E Together. Let’s Talk About It: Part 1 focused on Black, female screen printers and can be watched here; Part 2 focused on the LGBTQ+ community and can be watched here.

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