How to build a true family business by focusing on culture first.

“The best leaders know there is only one response to a compliment about their achievements, and that is that they’ve got a great team.”

Thomas S. Bozzuto, Chairman, The Bozzuto Group

To build a great culture, you have to have a great team. To attract the best team members, you better have a great culture. So which comes first? In my interview with Jamie Gorski, Chief Marketing Officer for The Bozzuto Group (a real estate development and construction company), we talked about what it takes to build a place where people want to work. Such a pursuit requires building culture from the top town and means embracing diversity and redefining the idea of a family business.

To truly affect culture, the values must start at the top. In a revelation about the deep importance of culture, Tom Bozzuto (chairman of The Bozzuto Group) changed his title to Chief Culture Officer. I found Tom’s move so profound and important that I followed his example and am now called the same. Without a solid culture, you don’t have anything to build on. Words matter and in keeping with their values, The Bozzuto Group also renamed employees, who are now called optimistic achievers. No company will become one of the greats without a great culture and The Bozzuto Group defines being the best as providing “an unparalleled experience for those whose lives we touch.” They recognize that employees are the brand and seeks to hire only people who fit the culture. They follow Hilton’s example of making hires based 60% on being a fit with the culture and 40% on skills.

As the new CEO, diversity and inclusion are Toby Bozzuto’s highest priorities because he recognizes that you have to have diversity in order to have innovation. Stephanie Williams, President of Bozzuto Management Group, is the first African American to have this high of a title in the building industry. Ms. Williams had started at an entry level position and worked her way up. Jamie Gorski said everyone recognized her brilliance and that she was 100% deserving of the position. The move represents The Bozzuto Group’s values because if you look around the room in a leadership meeting and realize you’re all the same, you’re missing out.

While The Bozzuto Group is a family business, they’re also redefining what it means to have a family business. They want employees to love working there so much that they want the people they love to work there, too. That’s a whole new level. They encourage their employees to have family members work for Bozzuto as well. They have one family where 7 different members of the family all work for Bozzuto. When employees have vital friends at work people and feel it is their company, they want their family members to work there too.

In a testament to how The Bozzuto Group’s approach of putting culture first is working for the company, The Washington Post recognized the The Bozzuto Group as a top workplace in July 2016. Mr. Bozzuto is most proud of this because it is a testament to how the employees have made the company’s core value their own. This honor came from a survey that went to all employees all over the nation and the results show that people love the company’s culture. Their responses showed they appreciate that it is fun and friendly; thoughtful, family oriented, focused, and performance driven. As their website says, “This will be our legacy.”

This post originally appeared on Builder online

Here’s to earning what you’re worth!

About the Author: Winner of 3 Stevie Awards for being the most effective and sustainable sales and sales management training programs in the world, Jason Forrest, CEO and Chief Culture Officer has also won a Stevie for being the top sales trainer in the world, out of 40 different countries. Other awards he has received are Training Magazine’s Top Young Trainer of the Year and his book, Leadership Sales Coaching, won Selling Power’s Best Books for Success award. Jason currently serves as 2016 Chairman of the National Speakers Association’s Million Dollar Speakers Group. Find your program today by contacting us at 1-877-755-3001

FPG is focused on mastering the art and science of human performance. A global leader and designer of sales, management, customer service and executive training programs, FPG is a dedicated team of individuals committed to helping you and your company succeed. It is named Best Place to Work in Fort Worth, TX by FWinc, and is ranked by Inc. 5000 as on the nation’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies, 2016.


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