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Leap Co: Using Culture to Bridge Two Teams

Uncategorized May 18, 2023

It is not unusual for businesses to engage The Culture Fix before they have a ‘broken culture’ or ‘people problems’. This is the case with Leap Co, a Missouri-based business that has grown over nearly two decades to offer multi-faceted support to hospitality businesses. Like many entrepreneurs, Pat Phelan led his business through many iterations, at one point whittling his team down to just one before building it back up to what it is today. In the last few years, as Phelan grew two very separate arms of his business, he realized that the culture of his team had grown beyond just himself. 

Phelan discovered The Culture Fix, and knew that if he wanted to ‘take his hands off the wheel’, he would need to go through this process with his stakeholders- and he’s ecstatic that they did! 

Coaching from afar

With his team ready to overhaul their collective culture, we wanted to dive right into this process! Instead of kicking off in-person, the team gathered on a company-wide Zoom call to begin their journey. Let us tell you, it's not every day that you get such excitement and engagement from 10+ people on a 3 hour call! But in this case, each and every member of their team was excited, present, and engaged. 

Will led these summits virtually, taking the Leap team through the beginning steps of the process. The nature of Leap Co resulted in two separate teams, with very little crossover in their day to day activities. One of the biggest goals from this process was to create a unified set of values and goals as a means to bring those two teams together as one. 

A reaffirming exercise 

As with all culture deep-dives, the process begins with surveys of the current employees and other stakeholders. Before they conducted the company-wide survey, Phelan wrote down what he ‘thought’ they should be, and waited to see how his team viewed their workplace. Check out some of the results: 

  • What would you say is the Legacy of the company’s founders?
  • What do you think the core values should be?
  • What are some of the positive behaviors that just happen naturally in your organization?

Much to Phelan’s surprise, his team led him down the very direction in which he envisioned his team’s values to be. Now it was time to formalize it! 

Formalizing values for a lifetime of success

Phelan mentioned that the most vulnerable he had ever felt as a business owner was when he had to stay quiet, and his team had to describe him and Leap Co. He was proud to hear that he had already cultivated a team with similar values to him, and it was an eye opening experience for everyone- including some of their customers. The next step was creating strong visuals and other symbols to instill these Core Values for future stakeholders of Leap Co. 

Their first iteration of values came from perceived values based on customer input, philosophies, the CEO/Founder, early identified Culture Czars™ and stories that have lasted the test of time within Leap Co. It is always an amazing feeling as a business owner to discover that many of your stakeholders are already aligned with your values. Check out some of the results: 

From these results, they prioritized those that resonated the most, and mapped it out using mindmaps.

Through these iterations and brainstorming sessions, the team created an impactful set of Core Values, anchored by a powerful Core Purpose™: By 2023 Leap Co will have facilitated 300 client experiences so they become more connected with each other, make meaningful memories and live their best lives. For their visual representation, they created a metaphor based on the concept of a journey, implementing a sequence to their values. These values were connected with a rope, a symbol of trust, as if they have each other’s back. Check out their first iteration: 

Next, the team also picked a theme song, Born for This by The Score. Not only do the lyrics speak to the values of Leap Co, but it is an inspirational ‘fight song’ that is sure to spark a flame.

I believe, I believe we can write our story

I believe, I believe we can be an army

We are the warriors who learned to love the pain

We come from different places, but have the same name

'Cause we were born for this

We are the broken ones who chose to spark a flame

Watch as our fire rages; our hearts are never tame

'Cause we were born for this

Finally they created a nominations and rewards system, which is already underway internally at Leap Co. to continue their embracing of this newly solidified culture. With all of these elements combined, this team is set up to have a fabled, valued culture for many years to come. 

In person, hybrid or 100% virtual, a healthy culture remains important

Since completing the process, the entire team at Leap Co has a newly invigorated passion for the business, its impact and their role within its growth. While the journey from having values to growing a valued culture is well underway, the work has really just begun! Phelan is excited to use these tools in the growth of his business, from using Core Values in the hiring and unhiring process, continuing to honor those ‘caught committing’ these values and beyond. 

Whether your business operates 100% in person, is hybrid, or completely remote, it's never been more important to establish a Valued Culture in your organization. In fact, if your business has any percentage of remote stakeholders, I would argue the need for this is even stronger. This is due to the fact that without in person contact, and an office culture, it becomes even more difficult to establish these values and standards within your team. 

If you’re interested in getting a taste of this process, try out our nano course, where you can start your journey toward leading a truly valued culture in just 40 minutes.


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