Ep #21: Company Culture: Personal Core Values Part 1

In this episode, Dr. Nick & Dr. Nicole discuss how a company’s culture is made up of more than “perks.” A business’s core values dictate how their culture comes to life, even down to the interview process. Be sure to listen to the end to hear why Dr. Nick married Dr. Nicole!

“The only reason you have a productivity problem is because you have a culture problem!” -Dr. Nicole

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Noteworthy Time Stamps:

3:23 Perks aren’t culture

8:45 Self-care as a value

14:30 Injected values

20:43 How we decided on the length of our IGI programs

26:12 Culture & the interview process

32:04 Why Dr. Nick married Dr. Nicole

LISTEN TO THE FULL EPISODE

Dr. Nicole:

This is the Integrative Entrepreneur podcast where it’s not what you do, but how you do it. This is a podcast for entrepreneurs brought to you by entrepreneurs. We have been building a multi-million dollar healthcare business for over 10 years, and we have weaved together some of the best information for the people that are doing the best work in the business. This includes Dr. Demartini, who is a master in human behavior to Verne Harnish, who has created the methodology of scaling up that has scaled many, many of the best businesses that we all know of. We want you to not only have a business that you love, but also a life that you love.

Dr. Nicole:

All right, so welcome back to another episode of the Integrative Entrepreneur podcast. So, we are going to be diving into culture. I find very often people are like, “What is company culture anyway? And is this something that’s truly attainable?” Especially when we’ve worked in various environments that were of the mindset of work is work. Work is never going to be super fun. Work is not going to be something that I ever look forward to. I look forward to my weekends and I do my job in order to support my family.

Dr. Nick:

That was created during the industrial age, where it’s like, you go to school, maybe you go to college, you use your degree, you get a job, you raise a family, you retire. That’s it.

Dr. Nicole:

What I love is Demartini, one of our personal mentors is he said, never let retirement get in the way of your real work. And that was just something that really stood out to me because we have this idea of retirement but I find that so many people are bored, depressed, or all of a sudden all of the things that they ignored with their health, and I guess this is maybe twofold. It’s either they ignored their health and now all of a sudden their retirement is tending to their health, or they’re just so bored and they have loss of purpose that they’re like, “Well, I guess, like old people, I guess we just have to go to doctors all the time.”

Dr. Nick:

Yeah. That could be a whole-

Dr. Nicole:

Separate topic in itself.

Dr. Nick:

… Separate podcast, but really it’s like, just taking a glance at that, it’s because you never set up your life to have your work serve you. And that comes into culture. Another way, it’s like when I first started diving in to understand culture, it’s one of the first things I connected to is it’s really just attitude. A culture of a business as the overall attitude of the business. And that comes back from what are the foundational attitudes of the executives of the owner and that really-

Dr. Nicole:

Top down.

Dr. Nick:

… Yep. And that really creates the culture.

Dr. Nicole:

And I do want to make a discrepancy, or I want to point out a discernment, is that culture is not the same as having perks in your business because some of you might already be in this mindset, thinking of giant companies that we hear about like Google or even Apple, who people are like, “Oh, they have a campus and they have all of these events and they have this crazy cafeteria where they have all this gourmet food and they have a nap room.” And they have just these crazy, “Perks.” So, you have to really be able to understand the difference between perks in a company and what truly creates culture.

This was actually a conversation that we literally had yesterday. I don’t know if you were in the meeting at that moment, but we were talking about perks. We were talking about PTO and we were talking about just some of the requests from some employees as they were going through their reviews and, just simple requests of I would love to have more PTO or I would like to be considered for X, Y, and Z. And I just said to the team, I go, “I know that this is not the context of the conversation,” because no one was like, “If I don’t get more PTO I’m the out of here,” but I was like, “But, in the event that was ever a conversation in the future, you just have to always understand that you’ve had to take a step back because no one’s leaving your company because of PTO.” No one’s leaving the company because they didn’t get their bonus that quarter. They’re leaving the company because they are no longer bought in or invested to the mission and the culture of the company.

Dr. Nick:

I’d like to add one thing to that. That’s a hundred percent true. I’d say the only aspect, so when you look at culture versus perks and when we look at Google and they have this huge profitability margin where they can set up possibly an organic cafe and a nap room and all this stuff, ultimate growth occurs from a balance of support and challenge. So, when we’re overly demanding in an environment, so it’s like Google, you’re in front of a computer for 12 hours a day, whatever your job is, it’s like, that’s a lot of demand and a lot of challenge. So if you need to quick refresher and to be able to lay down for 20 minutes, half an hour, it’s going to allow you to come back and be full present at that computer, they’re probably gaining on that. It was wise of them. Google makes decisions-

Dr. Nicole:

On productivity.

Dr. Nick:

… On productivity. So it’s not being able to compare apples to oranges. They’re two different businesses, our business and Google, and your business. So it’s be able to really look at things as just as evaluation of yourself and what’s going to be able to serve yourself. And I say, serving yourself, it’s your company. So it’s about making the best decisions, being able to have a balance of support and challenge and understanding that perks are completely different. A lot of times perks are for productivity, those things, PTO be able to go out, “Live your hobbies,” that are outside of the inspiring job that you have but it’s also being able to look at what’s the biggest driver of a person, their outlook as well as a business and it’s their attitude, their culture.

Dr. Nicole:

But this is really going to bring us to the biggest point that we want to make here, is your perks or your bonuses, whatever you want to call them, would coincide with your core values. So, one of the things that we-

Dr. Nick:

I’m nodding. I’m nodding my head right now, nobody can hear that.

Dr. Nicole:

So, that’s the thing is that you might be infiltrating certain, “Perks,” in your company because, but it’s because that is the absolute foundation of the culture. So in our company, in Integrated Wellness Group, and really the Growth Institute as well, is it’s practice what you preach. So this is going back to self care and personal development. So, we have a lot of different programs around education. So we constantly have different types of lunch and learns. We are advocating for a book club. We also have both traditional or conventional healthcare benefits, and then we also have internal benefits through integrative wellness group that give both the employees of both companies access to more holistic and alternative care as well. So, those are all things that we feel are really important, but it’s because it upholds the values of our company and it’s accountability to it too, because some people, I was like, “Oh yeah, I definitely do self-care.”

And then, you have someone saying that, but then six months into them working for the company, you circle back in your review and then they’re like, “Oh yeah, well, I haven’t necessarily done X, Y or Z within the past six months.” And you really have the ability now to, it’s not emotional, it’s not prying into someone’s personal life, but it’s like, “Are you truly upholding the values of the company?” Because it’s really important for how you show up to the customer or how you show up from a marketing perspective, because if you’re not upholding the values, then you’re not truly in alignment with what we do and how we offer it.

Dr. Nick:

Yeah. And then in six months we track all of these things internally, but part of the culture is walking your talk. So, it’s being able to say like, “What services have you been doing to recharge yourself, to grow yourself? What books have you been reading?” We track all that stuff and to be able to have it as an organized culture, to be able to grow together.

Dr. Nicole:

Yeah and this idea of values, I think, is something that a lot of people initially have push back to. And they’re like, “Oh, is that really that important? Or I don’t really have time for that. I’m doing real work.” I’m doing air quotes. “I’m doing real work in my business. Or I’m too busy to think about that.” And, for us personally, what I found was we found ourselves getting triggered or disgruntled about certain things that were happening in our business. But we had a really tough time discerning, was this us being emotional? Was there valid grounds to have a conversation? And is this something that we just will dismiss or essentially tolerate? And the reason why there was so much ambiguity around that was because we were not clear on what the values were.

We were, I guess, having inklings of our own personal values and our own personal values was, always go above and beyond, always do the best, don’t cut corners, try to think outside the box, critically think, be a self-starter, but also be a problem solver. Those were things that we embodied and then when we found ourselves getting annoyed or triggered, we would be having conversations and then at one point, Nick called me out and he’s like, “You’re on repeat, it’s the same thing over and over.” He’s like, “This is your own shit,” but secondary to that is it’s not only was my own shit, but it was because we did not take the time to say, “This is the standard for the employees of the company.”

Speaker 3:

And that’s, like what you said, standards allow us to create boundaries and boundaries will be the line in the sand that will pretty much come up to the bullshit there we’re able to tolerate. So it’s like, if we’re tolerating bullshit of if there’s bullshit-

Dr. Nicole:

You get what you tolerate.

Dr. Nick:

Right. But it’s like, if we’re not happy or content with that, then we need to set better standards to be able to have the systems and boundaries in place.

Dr. Nicole:

Yeah. And it allows you to really have objective conversations because if you feel like you’re taking a step back from having hard conversations in your business, it’s probably because you don’t have clear cut core values, but secondary to that is nobody knows what the core values of the company are. So you’re being apprehensive about speaking up about certain things. And like I said before, is you get what you tolerate and things will brew and brew and brew, and they will infect, and they will blow up, every single time. And, these can be small things, they can be big things. But there was even a moment when you think of the idea of a health coach and you think like, “Okay, well, they’re there to really hand hold the patient, or even a business coach, they should be there to really provide guidance and be a major support system to the client or the patient.”

That was even something that we found that the more handholding there was, and the more accessibility that there was, there was a massive disempowerment. So, we realized that even when it came to the core values, it was about empowering people through proper coaching and having that support, but also having that challenge. And it’s just when you’re constantly available to troubleshoot the most minute things, people don’t think for themselves anymore. And we know that this can be disempowering, it’s disempowering with your children as well, is if you’re constantly there to support, support, support, then you know, your child is constantly coming to you and has no idea how to handle a hard conversation at school or a kid being a jerk or a teacher that is not being fair.

Dr. Nick:

You hit so many amazing points right there, and it’s being able to backtrack and being able to say like, the only way we can come up with those intelligent processing systems is to have clarity on our standards and being able to have clarity on those standards, make them objective to be able to come back to and say, am I in or out of being in alignment, serving myself or the business, but really the standards, they’re created by the values and in business, I would say that most businesses haven’t taken the time to be able to get crystal clear on those values. And if they’re not, then their quality of the standards are not in alignment and then there’s just a hierarchy down really, from that above down to the executive aspect down to the employees, even transferred into the clients that there’s inappropriate boundaries which creates a lot of pain points and a lot of fires.

The interesting aspect is that, working the human behavior every single day with clients, is that I think I’ve only had so far to date maybe two, for sure one person came in, crystal clear on what was most important to them, which is freaking wild when you think about it. It’s like, we’re all going around making decisions every single day-

Dr. Nicole:

But we’re all triggered. We’re all triggered on a day-to-day basis.

Dr. Nick:

Well, and the reason we’re triggered is because we don’t know who we are and we don’t love portions of it.

Dr. Nicole:

Well, we’re triggered by people who are injecting their values onto us.

Dr. Nick:

Yep.

Dr. Nicole:

And one thing that I will just say from a personal experience is that outside of business values, when you took me through, and I already had a foundational understanding because we’ve worked with Dr. Demartini, but when you took me through to understand my core values, it was a bit of phases for me, but phase one was just this huge aha moment and this huge weight that was lifted off of my shoulders from a judgment standpoint, judging myself, of judging myself when I was having moments of judging other people and just saying, “Stop doing that. You shouldn’t judge other people.” And just realizing that the judgment was just coming from me, injecting my values onto others. That was just so huge because obviously one of our biggest values and biggest mission is to transform how people think about healthcare, but just realizing that not everyone.

We want to help to provide a different version of healthcare that’s more hands-on and more personalized to the people that want it. I don’t give a shit about the people that don’t want it. They can stay in the realm that they feel most comfortable with, but there is no reason for me to give them energy or to be upset about their choices. It’s just a matter of, I’m here for the people that are going to ask the questions and look for something different. And I just applied this to so many things, from friendships and fights or conversations from the past.

And I just realized, all that it comes down to is either not being crystal clear on your own values, or just constantly getting emotionally triggered when people are injecting their values onto you, but everybody’s entitled to have their own beliefs and their own values. And it’s just, there’s no reason for us to get upset because when people are giving you, “Advice,” or injecting their values onto you, they’re doing it from a place of that’s what they think is best. And it doesn’t mean you have to take it, or you have to even be emotionally charged by it. It’s just like, “Thanks. I really appreciate that. It’s just not for me. It doesn’t suit what I believe and it doesn’t suit what I value.”

Dr. Nick:

Yeah. And then that’s the foundation of making the quality decisions to be able to take quality action to be able to serve yourself or serve the business. And it’s not about… I always do a lot of relationship work with people and it’s like, “They just don’t value what I value.” And it’s like, well, it’s impossible for them. Values her like thumbprints, we all have a different set of values. And to be crystal clear, values is just a hierarchy of things that are from least important to most important to you in your life.

And as you said, it was a journey for Dr. Nicole to get clear on her values. That’s because she was growing and transitioning into almost a different person, a different being, very quickly through how much self-development and growth that she was doing not only on herself and in her business, because anytime we have a pretty massive change, whether it’s something happening internally or in the environment around you, it has a good capability to change your voids. What’s missing most in your life. And as soon as those voids change, your values change, what you perceive as missing actually creates what’s most important, what you want to fill your life up with. So really, it’s like the voids create your values.

And it’s understanding that even business values can shift over time, depending on the vision, where we want to take things. Because really, when you look at business, it’s just supplying the world, really solutions for the biggest problems out there. So as problems can change, really the vision of companies can change depending on how we want to attack and be able to serve humanity.

Dr. Nicole:

Yeah, no, I definitely agree. So when we’re working with students in the Growth Institute is we’re constantly checking back in with values, personal as well as business, because they do change. And sometimes you can feel that in your business, when you feel like all of a sudden you’re putting out more fires or you feel like there’s more issues that are arising, and it could be because the direction of the business or the changes in the business are now requiring you to relook at the values. When we were a smaller company, we didn’t necessarily have the core value, think like a CEO, see it, say it, solve it.

And as we grew as a company and myself, as well as even the executive team got less and less available because we were working on other elements of the business and we really decided that we needed to make sure that we were hiring people and also empowering people to think for themselves to critically think and give them tools on how to do that and to be decision-makers and to be solution oriented, because we’re not necessarily trying to create a company that they’re always needing to go to a higher up to get approval. So it’s really, really important to take that step back and think about what is pissing you off as the CEO or the owner of the company, because the things that are pissing you off and triggering you are giving you signs or inklings of what your core values of your company are.

Dr. Nick:

And like I said, things that you off, that’s perfect, to be able to go into that transition because-

Dr. Nicole:

Well, it’s funny because in scaling up, when I was going through my coaching or going through to become a coach, it was so interesting to watch the coaches, the different strategies to go through to figure out the core values of your company. And I was actually shadowing a group. It was a group of 12 individuals, they were going through a 12 week program. And my mentor, every single time, he was like, “Guys, this is like drinking from a fire hose and it’s a lot of information.” And we actually decided not to do a 12 week program because, for us, it took us at least a month or more to implement all of these tools.

So to figure out your core values, you’re not going to figure out overnight. You can probably come up with a good framework in a month, but then you’re going to circle back, be like, “I don’t know if that’s really it. I think it’s this or a version of this.” But, my mentor was taking these people through the core values exercise, and everyone is so confused. So he’s like, “Dr. Nicole, do you have any insight for these students?” I was like, “Yeah, what pisses you guys off? What are you on repeat about? What are you going home to your spouse and saying like, “Can you believe Sally did this? Can you believe that John did that? I can’t believe I’m dealing with this again.”

And I was like, “That’s how you can reverse engineer what your values are. And obviously, there are points that you can get stuck and there’s points that these tools can help you to refine what they are, but it’s definitely a great starting point.

Dr. Nick:

Yeah. So, the things that you off, that’s what greats resistance and pain in business. So, when we get clarity on our values, that allows us to set up systems, to be able to remove those resistance points. So it’s really like, when we have an amazing culture that’s been created in our business, allows them to be flow. And when there’s flow, there’s more easily growth to occur. On the opposite side, when we don’t have clarity on our values, we’re not really creating a culture for us to grow and develop together, so there’s more resistance, there’s more pain points, there’s more fires to put out.

So it’s really easy to be able to look into a business and say like, “For the most part, do we have a process of flow?” And if so, that’s connected to having an amazing culture. When we have the opposite, when we have a lot of fires and resistance to put out, it’s because we don’t have a very good culture, which the foundation of that is built on clarity values.

Dr. Nicole:

Oh, sneeze.

Dr. Nick:

I thought you got really excited and wanting to say something.

Dr. Nicole:

No, I was really trying to hold that in.

Dr. Nick:

So, another way to look at it is what I said before, is culture is really very similar to our… Now I’m blanking out.

Dr. Nicole:

I don’t know.

Dr. Nick:

Attitude. Thank you. So, when we look at attitude and combine that with culture. It’s like, “What is our attitude? Is there gossip in our community? Is there gossip in our business?” Because that comes back to attitude and that really is a part of the culture. And when-

Dr. Nicole:

Because you get what you tolerate.

Dr. Nick:

Yep. And you also get what you do. It’s just a reflection of yourself. So, if that is your attitude that gets reflected into the culture, and then that just magnifies itself for you to be able to see the bullshit that’s really inside of you to be able to go work on that human behavior, first inside, and then the outside. So understanding that, it’s really being able to get crystal clear on the values. The values dictate the attitude, which creates the culture. And the attitudes-

Dr. Nicole:

And you have to uphold that every single day, every minute of the day.

Dr. Nick:

And the attitude, it’s going to be, is it focusing on problems or is it focusing on solutions? And that down into just every single employee. Are they focusing on problems or are they focusing on solutions? And that really gets to what Dr. Nicole was talking about, is we’re able to step away because we’ve taken the time to empower people, part of our value system, for them to be inspired to be able to grow to be able to solve problems on their own, to not be dependent. And that’s really, I think where a lot of the magic comes into play.

Dr. Nicole:

And some of the things that you can look for to know if your company culture is in trouble is you have the new hire who shows up early and makes sure that the cell phone is put away in their bag. And they’re asking for feedback and they’re checking in and they have a smile on their face. And they don’t abuse their lunch break and they stay a little late if they need to and they go above and beyond for the client. And then all of a sudden, they come in late, they come in with their iced coffee. So, it’s not that they were late because of traffic, it’s they’re late because they put themselves first, they have their running sneakers on at five. So, as soon as the clock turns to five o’clock, they are running out the door and chances are they were probably on Facebook for the last two hours while they were supposed to be working.

These are the individuals that you might have as remote workers right now. And you’re now thinking, “Man, I should really get productivity softwares put on everybody’s laptops.” If you’re having these types of feelings and you’re like, “I don’t think I can step away from my business,” and so on and so forth, you have a culture problem and you could say a productivity problem, but the only reason you have a productivity problem is because you have a culture problem. And as Keith Cunningham says, is fixing culture and repairing culture is not for the weak. It is a task, it is hard, and it takes a massive, massive commitment. And I really will say is that there was a point in time in our business that we did not infiltrate any type of, I want to say any type of questions or screening process into our interview process.

We didn’t know what the hell we were doing were just like, “Hey, do you like wellness? Cool, sounds great. You sound like a great fit.” So we were not necessarily asking the right questions through our interview process. And we brought a lot of people on that on paper looked great, but at the end of the day, they were not a fit for the culture of the company. And you just have to be okay with that idea because not everyone is going to be a fit for your company. And if you do have that one problem child in the business is chances are, it’s not because they’re a bad person or they’re not good at their job. It’s just, they don’t have buy-in to the culture or nobody’s clear on the culture.

But there was a point in time that it was like the worst nightmare came true. We lost six employees all at one time and it was a percent our own fault because we were getting what we tolerated. We were not necessarily having hard conversations. We were not setting standards for who we were and what we tolerated. You lose that many people, you could easily just feel like giving up. And that was never our mindset. Our mindset was, “Okay, this sucks, but we will bounce back because there is no option for failure.”

Dr. Nick:

But it’s also looking at it from a lens of, “Okay, everything comes from a law of duality and cause and effect.” So it’s like, we had six people left. There’s a reason they left. Things were actually, everybody that stayed is happy that they left, because they weren’t that good for it. It was creating that resistance, but it’s like, let’s not repeat history. Let’s learn from-

Dr. Nicole:

But it was also fixing the culture of the people that stayed because that was very jarring to everyone.

Dr. Nick:

Well, and it was about going back and just setting those foundations because you can’t fix a culture when we didn’t have clear evidence of what the culture was and that wasn’t in our hiring system. So, we really went back and I say, in recent time, that was our teacher. That was the lesson that we needed to learn in that moment for us to better overcome that chaos, to be able to create the new structures, new systems, new boundaries. And we’re not tolerating that bullshit anymore, but it wasn’t that we just did the same thing and we’re like, “We’re dictators and we’re not going to deal with this anymore.” It’s like, “No,” like, “Nobody wants to be in any type of relationship like that.”

So it was like, we really dove into the causation, not the effects. We didn’t treat the effects. We treated the cause of it, which was partly us, partly a lack of clarity on the values-

Dr. Nicole:

A lack of leadership.

Dr. Nick:

… A lack of leadership. And then a lack of putting all that together into systems and boundaries to be able to actually serve. Not dictate but to serve.

Dr. Nicole:

And also, I think half the battle with all of this is that you can get clear on your values, but now you have to deliver that and you have to deliver that in a really, really effective way to your team that it’s impactful and that it’s effective and that it’s not coming off on like, “Oh, what’s the new thing that we’re doing now?” It’s really coming off in a way of this is coming from a place of authenticity and integrity to overall improve the workspace.

And after the implementation of this is, this is how we’re going to implement it. This is how we’re going to create this to be the new normal. And these are some of the rewards on the other side, once we’re able to really transform this culture. So, the presentation is probably more of the difficulty and more of the challenge than just the creation of the values.

Dr. Nick:

Yeah. And that’s a big component. So, literally next week we have a full day retreat with the staff and a big part of what we’re doing and the education there is also a lot of review, but it’s clarity. It’s clarity on where we’re at, it’s clarity on where we’re going, clarity on how we’re going to get there, for the most part. And then it’s also clarity on review of a lot of the values of the culture.

Dr. Nicole:

Yeah. Where are we strong? Where are we weak?

Dr. Nick:

Yep.

Dr. Nicole:

And that was pretty awesome, yesterday is going through with our leadership team to prepare for the retreat is, we were showcasing and we’re celebrating what values we’re upholding day to day that are really, really strong but there’s one value in particular that is still a work in progress and we’re not ashamed of that. And we don’t feel badly about that and we’re not going to ridicule our team for that. It’s just, it’s a process. It’s a hundred percent a process.

And we’re also going against, I feel, the programming of the rest of the world. The rest of the world companies are like, “Shut your mouth and do your job.” And we’re encouraging feedback. We’re encouraging having hard conversations. We’re encouraging conflict. And this is completely unheard of in families, in companies. So, we’re inviting our employees to pretty much go against the grain of what most of us have been programmed is the norm.

Dr. Nick:

Yeah. But if you look at what normal is in society, it fucking sucks.

Dr. Nicole:

Yeah.

Dr. Nick:

A normal relationship is going to end up in a divorce. A normal company is going to be out of business within less than five years-

Dr. Nicole:

Five years, yeah.

Dr. Nick:

So, we don’t want to be normal. So, if you want to be just like everybody else, go ahead and do exactly what everybody else is doing. But if you want to really change the potential and the direction of your life and as well as your business, it’s about looking and taking advice from mentors that aren’t normal because that’s the last thing that I would ever want in my life.

Dr. Nicole:

A hundred percent.

Dr. Nick:

Which is really why I married. Dr. Nicole. Had to throw that in there.

Dr. Nicole:

A lot of challenge. So, one of the other aspects that we’re not going to get into, but I want to make sure that I put it on your radar to check it out as one of the next podcasts that you listen to is, just as much as the core values create your culture, also the brand promises, and these are the promises that you create to your customer.

This is something that creates culture because now your employees know what to expect on the delivery to the client. It transforms how they communicate with your client, as well. So we’re going to be diving into part two and talking all about brand promises and what does that mean? And how does that really affect your culture? But how does this also create a culture with your clientele? So, tune into the next one, and we hope you enjoyed the episode and we are happy to have you here on our podcast.

Dr. Nick:

Boom. You’ve reached the end of another episode of the Integrative Entrepreneur podcast. Connect with us at integrativegrowthinstitute.com. Don’t forget to sign up to our newsletter to receive our free materials. See you at the next episode.

Dr. Nicole:

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