Culture Transformation Become a Coach Hire Event Speaker Connect with Us Login

Culture Fulfillment Case Study: Pass The Keys

Uncategorized Nov 20, 2023

“The most important thing that I can do in my job is to set the right culture… I believe it's more important than me making a decision here or there.” - Alexander Lyakhotskiy, CEO and Founder

This case study features Pass The Keys, a fast-growing, London based company specializing in property management and short-term rentals. The company's CEO and Founder, Alexander Lyakhotskiy shares insights about the company’s experience with our Culture Fulfillment Program, led by our Founder & CEO, Will Scott. This case study provides a comprehensive overview of Pass The Keys' culture transformation process and the impact it had on the organization.

The decision to work with The Culture Fix® coincided with the Alexander's attendance at a meeting held by EO (Entrepreneurs' Organization), where Will, an expert in culture development, delivered The Gift of Culture Workshop. He found Will's approach inspiring and decided to enlist his expertise.

Pass The Keys took initiative in nurturing their culture when the CEO, Alexander, realized the need for a clear and relevant set of company values after reading the book, “Traction.” They had created values five years before beginning Culture Fulfillment, but Alexander wasn’t sure they were still relevant or effective.

Identifying Core Values

There was back-and-forth as the team worked to pinpoint the company's core values. But the process was worth the while, as it was instrumental in streamlining their values from 6 phrases into four concise, memorable values: Drive, Evolve Together, Take Pride, and Innovate.

“I'm very happy with the values that we have identified. And I’m also happy with how much more engagement we have from the team, surrounding the values, how much more daily mentions we have about the values and how much more aligned they are with what are much more simple, memorable values than what we used to have.” - Alexander Lyakhotskiy, CEO & Founder of Pass The Keys

Alexander admits when they had 6 values constructed as phrases, even he would forget some of them. Condensing them into 4 values, with two descriptive behaviors.

Take a look at Pass the Keys’ Pre-Culture Fulfillment Survey results.


Before the Culture Fulfillment Program, the data showed that a large portion of employees had difficulty recalling the company's core values from memory. Only a small percentage could fully recite them, indicating that there was room for improvement in communicating and internalizing these values.

After the Culture Fulfillment Program, the data paints a more positive picture. The majority of employees reported that the core values had become more memorable and referable. This is a significant improvement and suggests that the program had a substantial impact on employees' understanding and retention of the core values.

This suggests that the program was effective in reinforcing and embedding these values in the company culture, which can have a positive impact on employee alignment with the company's mission and values. The small percentage who reported "somewhat improved" still indicates that there may be opportunities for further enhancement, but the overall trend is a positive one.

We believe this can be credited to how effectively Pass The Keys created their CoreChart™. The image evokes the feeling of their values, to drive and to evolve. Additionally, they included their CorePurpose™ statement, and created an action phrase that encompassed all four of their CoreVals™: “We drive forward, evolve and take pride together.”

The Story Behind “Drive” & Pass The Keys’ Theme Song

A pivotal moment in the company’s Culture Fulfillment journey occurred when Alexander, the company's CEO, took the floor and shared interpretation of the value of "drive" and its personal significance. With typically uncharacteristic vulnerability, he recounted a heartfelt story about the roots of "drive" within his family and how it directly connects to his "why" and his aspirations for success. This candid sharing deeply resonated with the team, making it their standout moment in the Culture Fulfillment program. This illustrates that when leaders are open and transparent, it has the power to foster loyalty and solidify commitment to core values.

“I was reflecting on why. Why do I have to drive? What drives me? And I think often with these things, they come from your childhood, right? What got me here, why I do what I do. And so, I thought I would share how I think, why I'm driven, and what caused me to be driven.” - Alexander Lyakhotskiy, CEO & Founder of Pass The Keys

In his perspective, "drive" is intrinsically linked to the ability to accomplish tasks efficiently, or, “getting things done.” He’s coming from the vantage point of an entrepreneur, where the paramount importance of getting things done is evident. Execution is at the core of any business, and for Pass The Keys, it has always been the cornerstone of leadership’s approach—more action, less talk.

That's why the song "Adventure Of A Lifetime" serves as the ideal anthem for Pass The Keys. Its lyrics, such as, “Under this pressure, under this weight, we are diamonds taking shape,” aptly encapsulate the core values of the Pass The Keys corporate culture. Here, employees are challenged to deliver their best, and in return, they find a sense of triumph.

Pass The Keys’ employee value proposition has always revolved around learning potential. The company’s leadership places immense personal value on people's growth and development. Thus, their company's ethos encourages individuals to shoulder significant responsibilities, put in hard work, and in return, experience personal and professional growth. It doesn't matter if they've been with Pass The Keys for three months or five years; when an employee leaves, they’ll be a transformed, stronger, and better version of themselves.

“I wanted to recreate a part of the environment that I found at McKinsey, where talented individuals could truly thrive. So, circling back to the song, it underscores the importance of being under pressure to emerge as diamonds. After all, you don't become a diamond without pressure, right? That's the essence of the lyrics that resonated with me.” - Alexander Lyakhotskiy, CEO & Founder of Pass The Keys

Notice & Nominate™ Scheme

Pass the Keys has successfully implemented the "Notice & Nominate™" tool. This has been instrumental in identifying and celebrating employees who exemplify the company's core values.

They regularly conduct monthly updates where values are discussed, and various forums provide opportunities for employees to assess and recognize each other's actions from a values-driven perspective. This organic process encourages a deeper integration of their values within their daily operations.

To facilitate this, they've established a Culture Committee responsible for gathering nominations on a monthly basis. This committee distinguishes two noteworthy categories: "Legend" and "Diamond."

Do the names sound familiar? They are pulled from their theme song, which makes references to legends and diamonds. Personalizing the Notice & Nominate experience is an inspired way to garner enthusiastic participation from the team.

Employees submit their nominations along with explanations for their choices. The committee, consisting of esteemed members, then deliberates and selects whose story will be highlighted during their all-hands meetings. Consequently, every month, we showcase a "Legend" and a "Diamond" of the month, a practice that has proven highly effective in engaging and motivating a broader spectrum of their team members.

Impact on Staff and Appraisal Methods

Pass The Keys believes that culture should be foundational to its long-term success. The CEO emphasizes that people with the right attitude and skill set are crucial, particularly as the company continues to grow. The impact on staff has been generally positive, although not everyone was fully aligned with the new values and expectations.

Since implementing these changes, three or four individuals have left the organization, as it became evident that they weren't aligned with the values and, subsequently, may find greater success elsewhere.

At The Culture Fix® we call this unhiring™. Instead of using the term "firing," we suggest adopting the concept of "unhiring™." This approach suggests a mutually agreed-upon separation, where both parties acknowledge the hiring misalignment and take responsibility for the situation.

Culture is now a vital part of appraisal methods, further reinforcing the company's commitment to its core values. A Culture Alignment Interview was introduced. This interview process was part of the organization's performance review, which was revamped to align with the new values. The CEO noted that the process wasn't linear and came with its share of challenges. However, the outcome was a more transparent and clear sense of the company's expectations, as well as improved cultural alignment.

These values have influenced Alexander’s overall attitude and that is reflected in employees’ performance reviews. Personally, Alexander has come to recognize the importance of acknowledging that making mistakes is a natural part of growth. Without mistake-tolerance, personal and professional evolution is hindered. This effort is aimed at fostering a culture of openness where everyone is comfortable with the notion that we all make mistakes, and sharing those mistakes is the first step to finding solutions.

In addition to adapting performance reviews to be based on the new values, Pass The Keys introduced the values into various facets of its operations, including hiring processes, and recruitment for franchisees.

When interviewing candidates, they refrain from explicitly revealing their values. Instead, they pose questions designed to elicit examples of how they align with their values. For instance, they ask about the lessons they've learned from their mistakes or instances where they took initiative and successfully managed a project. They collect various examples of candidates exhibiting behaviors in line with their values, whether it be going the extra mile for their team or customers, demonstrating a sense of pride in their work, or showcasing their drive by taking ownership of results.

One of their values, "Pride," is explored through questions regarding how candidates measure their success on the job. Those who resonate with this value tend to prefer objective performance metrics rather than solely relying on managerial feedback. They proactively seek multiple sources of validation, indicating a high level of pride in their work.

Another value, "Drive," pertains to taking charge and being accountable for outcomes. Therefore, they inquire about instances where candidates assumed responsibility for tasks that may not have been explicitly assigned to them and delivered successful results.

Overall, these processes have fostered greater cohesion within Pass The Keys. While Alexander shares they haven't achieved 100% alignment with their values among all team members, they have made significant progress. This ongoing process requires continuous reinforcement and development to ensure that their values remain at the forefront of their company culture.

One of the most significant outcomes of their dedication to processes is how the team perceives the sustainability of the company's culture, as assessed through our Pre & Post Culture Fulfillment Survey. Before the program, there was a diverse range of opinions, with no single score dominating the ratings. This indicated that employees had varying perspectives on the effectiveness of the company's approach to sustaining culture.

After the program, there is a clear shift towards more positive ratings. The majority of employees now rate the company's approach as either 8 or 9, with 33.3% giving it an 8 and 24.2% rating it as 9. This suggests that the Culture Fulfillment Program was successful in significantly improving employees' perception of the company's culture-sustaining efforts.

Additionally, there is a decrease in low ratings, with only 3% rating it as 3 and 9.1% as 5, indicating that the program effectively addressed concerns and improved overall satisfaction.

In summary, Culture Fulfillment played a pivotal role in positively reshaping employees' perceptions of the company's approach to sustaining culture. The increase in higher ratings reflects a more united and favorable opinion among employees, indicating that the program successfully nurtured a culture that is more satisfying and effective for the workforce.

eNPS Scores and Survey Results Following Culture Fulfillment

After the program's completion, the company conducted a survey to gauge its effectiveness. A key question was, "Overall, do you feel better about working in the company?" The results were truly reflective of the program's success:

Yes: A majority of 78.1% of the employees responded with "Yes." Employees who once might have felt disconnected, uninspired, or dissatisfied now found themselves embracing a more positive outlook on their work environment.

No: The remaining 21.9% responded with "No." While this is a smaller proportion, it's essential to acknowledge the honest feedback from those who still felt that there were issues that needed addressing. Their responses serve as a reminder that creating an ideal work culture is an ongoing journey, and there is room for further improvement.

Pre-Culture Fulfillment eNPS Score

Post-Culture Fulfillment eNPS Score

There is a noticeable shift towards a more positive perception. The eNPS score moved to a neutral position, with more employees promoting the company as a great place to work. This indicates that the program had a positive impact on employee morale and engagement.

While the percentage of detractors remained the same, the reduction in passive employees suggests that the program helped employees become more decisive about their feelings towards the company culture. This shift toward active promotion is a promising sign, showing that the Culture Fulfillment program succeeded in improving the company's culture, even if there is still work to be done to address the remaining detractors.

Ultimately, The program has not only boosted morale but also likely positively affected productivity, teamwork, and overall job satisfaction. Moreover, it showcases the company's commitment to its workforce, which can improve employee retention and attract top talent in the future. Pass the Keys’ dedication to their people has set the company on a path towards a more vibrant, fulfilling, and supportive workplace culture, proving that investments in culture can yield significant dividends in employee satisfaction and company success.

Lessons Learned and Looking Forward

The CEO emphasized the importance of organizations taking ownership of their culture transformation. They noted that more proactive driving of the process could have led to quicker results. The Culture Fulfillment process is ongoing, and the organization is committed to reinforcing its values, increasing alignment, and celebrating successes. The company sees its culture as a foundation for its continued growth and success.

“There is this famous phrase, ‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast,’ and I fully align with this. It's definitely relevant for us, now that we have almost 100 team members. When you go beyond a certain scale, it's way more important to have the right people with the right attitude and the right skill set than for me to be setting up a strategy of what to do.” - Alexander Lyakhotskiy, CEO & Founder of Pass The Keys

Pass The Keys' journey through the Culture Fulfillment Program highlights the importance of aligning organizational culture with core values. This case study showcases how a well-defined and reinforced culture can lead to more engaged employees, improved decision-making, and long-term success for the organization. As Pass The Keys continues to evolve, it is clear that its commitment to a strong culture will remain at the core of its business strategy.


50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.