During an impromptu meeting recently, Robb Woolsey, CEO of Rural First, and myself were discussing culture development within a company’s infrastructure and how important a trust in your team, as a small business owner, is so important. Great leadership teams create the culture, and that culture, when developed properly is key to attracting great talent. New strategies within Rural First are now being implemented to create one of the best cultures in our industry, and that focus is on making Rural First a great place to work. Because that is what a business is. It’s people. Although the initiative is in it’s early stages, I’d like to touch on four areas we are developing.
First and foremost, keep hiring great people for the leadership team. Robb’s the captain; his team drives the ship and keeps it afloat. It is important at Rural First that we select those with vision. They don’t just think for themselves, but for everyone. Like before, a business is people, so the teams need to think selflessly, not selfishly. “What’s In It For Me” doesn’t exist in a leadership team, because the building of a great culture within will return much greater rewards, both financially and socially, through the hard work of developing a great place for great people to work.
The Rural First leadership team is currently meeting regularly to create new policies that are employee benefit focused. Not just pay, but about the things employees can appreciate as soon as they join our family. Things like times for personal development, flexible schedules and other concepts to make employee satisfaction a reality.
These policies I mentioned are nothing if they are not documented. Who we are as a company needs to be seen, by everyone in Rural First, and externally as well. It’s more than a business plan. It’s our identity. What do we stand for? Why are here?
As we move forward, the team at Rural First is defining those things through a plan to create Living Documents that include core values, a rich company overview, employee handbooks, sales procedures, and training materials that will come together to become Rural First’s Policies and Procedures. A set of guiding principles that will lead, develop and change as Rural First grows.
- Social Engagement
Located in The eFactory within the downtown area of Springfield, MO, it is easy to get wrapped up in the social calendar of networking groups and to forget the bigger picture. Tunnel vision is not productive, nor does it give you a good sense of the world around you. Rural First is dedicated to expanding it’s reach, both in giving back to the community it is located in and going further out to the communities that use our products.
A Rural First initiative to expand our reach is in place, and in just the next few weeks we have exciting news about a relationship Rural First is forging with a local university to help develop important skills of some talented students. Other plans are also in the works and this new dedication to give back will benefit our internal employees but also reflect CEO Robb Woolsey’s endearing belief that we have a responsibility to do so.
- Be Smart
You are only as good your word. It is easy to say we are doing these things, only to drop the ball. Mistakes happen. Not everything works. But be smart about it. Failure rarely comes from working hard and doing what you promised. Failure comes from not listening to your team. Failure comes from not listening. Failure comes from not planning. Failure comes from not following through.
We promise at Rural First, to work hard both for our employees but also for you, the customer. We promise to follow through and do what we set out to do. Most importantly, we promise not to fail, because we are going plan, work hard and make the culture at Rural First a place where great work is done by great people.