Culture has always been important to M.V.P Snow N’ Lawn. Serving the surrounding area of Cleveland Ohio, they aim to provide seasonal landscaping and snow clearing services for their community with great service.
Their team, and their commitment to the job, can make the difference between a neighbor being able to get home safely in the winter or not. It’s a responsibility they don’t take lightly, and the nature of their work makes it imperative that they have a strong team able to work together through strenuous conditions to get the job done.
M.V.P. powered through many seasons of hard work with a loyal core team. After speaking with Will Scott, author of The Culture Fix®, owner Tyler Lombardo felt motivated to build on this success, aiming to grow his business through retaining and attracting loyal employees and clients.
“Going in before Will, we already had a team that really cared about us, and delivered a great product to our clients.” Tyler says. “Culture has always been important to us, but I don’t think we had really nailed it down and identified it yet.”
He felt inspired after consulting with Will to push further and transform the simple words “we care” into specific, unique points that would elevate the way they ran their business. He wanted to hone in on what really mattered to them, and use those points to take their culture to the next level.
“As owners you can sometimes fall behind on that maintenance if you don’t put certain systems into play” he says. For any company, this is true. But with the demanding nature of M.V.P.’s work, where unsuspecting storms can lead to long shifts out in the elements, it can be easy to imagine how priorities constantly shift.
At their core, relying on a loyal team of people to show up and commit to getting the job done safely is imperative to their structure. The ideal culture they wanted would strengthen how they valued these team members, the way they operated, and would build a solid foundation for them to grow, aligned with Core Values that made them unique.
So M.V.P. took their culture into the shop for an alignment with a professional from The Culture Fix. We began the process of watering the seed of culture they already had, to grow a system poised to achieve genuine Culture Fulfillment™.
Defining Their Values
The process of defining their Core Values relied on hearing directly from employees. This is a technique that makes The Culture Fix stand out: While workplace culture traditionally pushes ideals from the top down, we take a holistic approach to developing culture with direct input from all levels of the company.
There were a few factors that made the situation unique: Many of the employees, during their career in the labor force, had never been involved in workplace culture training. Additionally, a large portion of the team spoke English as their second language, with a dominant Puerto Rican heritage.
Will focused on breaking through this language barrier, and making each person feel seen and comfortable enough to share their true feelings.
“There was definitely an unknown at how this was going to go.” Tyler recalls. “At first, there was muttering, and a lot of people were shy because they couldn’t speak strong English. But Will was able to get all of us engaged. Everybody on our team just started throwing out these words!”
Owner Eddy Shayeb selecting his favorite CoreVals
Through this moderated forum, communication opened up and allowed Lombardo and his partner Eddy Shayeb to hear first-hand what their team was thinking.
“Pretty soon it became clear that a lot of them had the same feelings.” Tyler says. “We said, ‘Wow, this was said four times, is it safe to say this is important?’ and everyone would go ‘Yes, that’s extremely important!’”
The goal became to connect, listen, and integrate the unique language and culture of their work force into their values. The final result is their stunning CoreChart that highlights the integration of their employees' values, aligned of course to leadership’s values and to imagery that evokes feelings of connectedness and loyalty.
Their CoreChart incorporates the heritage and language of the team. For example, Senorita Pride was inspired by La Borinqueña, the well known superhero of Puerto Rico that many grew up with. Phrases like “Mento Mano” and “A Tiempo” were words that the employees already used between each other, and now, they could be used to re enforce the official values of the company:
Safety, Honesty, Pride, Respect, and Being a Team Player.
While these words may seem simple, they have a meaning specific to M.V.P. in that they came directly from their employees. They had agreed together on what was important to them, and now it was visually represented in a way that resonated with the people who worked there.
A language had just been established to discuss their values and, therefore, they could be held accountable to them. This dialogue proved to be the major key to unlocking positive change.
Implementing Their Core Values
Having clear values established made it easier to reinforce expectations with their current staff. The phrases under each value have strengthened self-governance in their everyday operations. For example, when someone is running late and holding up the team, “A Tiempo!” (On Time!) is used as a quick reminder between teammates to be respectful of everybody’s time.
A teammate who does not exemplify these values would not only be a disservice to the company, but they would directly impact their fellow teammates, who genuinely want to work side by side with another person who tries their best and shares the same mentalities. The language of Core Values empowers them to keep each other accountable and on track to get the job done.
“It just opens up this dialogue when we all agree with these things, that they’re important.” Tyler confirms.
An app they utilized for scheduling is now being optimized for employee recognition. Messages are sent between the entire company, giving “Mucho Respecto” by name to fellow employees when they do something that exemplifies their value system.
Additionally, now that they are identified, Lomarbo and his business partner have been able to integrate their Core Values into their hiring process and client relations, using the language from their poster to step into difficult conversations that otherwise may have been daunting.
“Under these extreme weather conditions, we realized that some of our clients share the same values that we do, and that some of them may not be on the same page.” Tyler says.
When they needed to pull their team from a job due to extreme cold, he was able to rely on M.V.P, 's CoreVal of safety to explain his decision to their customers. Most agreed and told them to stay safe, but a handful emerged who did not quite understand.
When recently hiring their new Operations Manager, they asked questions to determine if their values genuinely resonated with the new hire. Down the road, if something comes into conflict with this, they will be able to have a conversation about where they diverged from the agreed upon values.
They learned that they can begin any of these difficult conversations by stating the clear expectations that their values communicate.
Note too that their CoreChart™was completed by having the all-important CoreTarget™. A numeric target in the future that the team can rally around. In their case, MVP are committed to delivering 200,000 good vibes so that their 1,000 clients feel safe and can enjoy their homes, neighborhoods and communities. This helps the team feel connected and aligned to their purpose and the good that MVP do for the world. Its about the outcome to others, not the work itself.
One more fun fact about the project. The Culture Fix always recommends a theme song as another way to draw on the arts to enhance the feeling of a strong culture. Nominations were invited and a number of songs were considered before landing on the clear favorite: Astronaut in the Ocean by Masked Wolf. With lyrics like “when your brain goes numb you can call it mental freeze” are appropriate when the crews are clearing ice and snow amid freezing temperatures in the middle of the night. “Energy up, you can feel my surge” and “Let’s just get this straight for a second, I’ma work even if I dont get paid for progression” were other lines that made the song a winner for the MVP culture.
What’s Next: Growth
Having the solid foundation of their CoreVals™ and CorePurpose™ in place, M.V.P. can now enter a developmental period focused on values-based foundational growth.
From their website, to their hiring page, to their workplace, to the client roster, their values will be molded into their brand identity.
Integrating their culture into their business strategy will allow them to smartly stack their team and clients - all genuinely aligned with their Core Values.
These system integrations are being set in motion, and the effects will develop for years to come. But already on the work floor, they have been palpable.
“We’ve had some of the biggest snow events in our company history. And everybody is showing up.” Tyler states.
Tyler remarks that it couldn’t have happened without the guidance and structure that The Culture Fix® brought to their sessions. Taking the time, guided by TCF Actuator Will Scott, to finally break down what is important to M.V.P and why, helped a company who loves their employees, cares about their clients, and appreciates their vendors to serve them all better.
Working with M.V.P. was a great experience in utilizing the power of a culture definition and language. By listening to employee values, we in turn were able to help develop an authentic set of values that empowers everyone to align and thrive. It allowed M.V.P. to finally solidify their identity, so they can forge many strong and authentic business relationships to come.
As Tyler says, “We’re looking forward to growing with the good.”
If you would like to speak with Will or one of our coaches about installing The Culture Fix in your organization, Contact Us.
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