23 Mar How Strong Values are Crucial to Maintaining an Uncompromised Company Culture with Jim McGinnis
Welcome to Part IV of our Company Culture blog post series! As someone who’s been around the block, I’ve found a positive correlation between the strength of a company’s culture and its overall success. In fact, I believe that culture is a business’s greatest asset and improving and maintaining that culture is essential to company growth. At Two Roads, our culture impacts everything we do from how we hire new team members to how we treat our Partners to how we interact with each other on a daily basis. (Learn more about our culture here.)
Because company culture plays such an important role in what we do, I wanted to see how other leaders in the technology and accounting world incorporated culture into how they ran their business. Earlier this month, René Lacerte shared with us about how a transparent company culture helps Bill.com build powerful leaders. Last week, Stuart McLeod discussed how Karbon’s company culture is the intangible difference between surviving and thriving. Today, I had the pleasure of talking with Jim McGinnis, Vice President and Leader of the Account Segment for Intuit.
Jim McGinnis is the leader of Intuit’s Accountant and Advisor Group. Jim has led accountant teams since he joined Intuit in 2010 as Vice President of Marketing. His extensive marketing, general management, and global experience will be invaluable as the Accountant and Advisor Group continues to serve as a center of excellence for Intuit’s worldwide efforts with accountants.
Strong values are crucial to maintaining an uncompromised company culture. In this interview, I learned more about how this philosophy is an integral part of Intuit’s inner workings.
CR: Why is company culture such a big deal for you and your company?
JM: Intuit’s culture starts with its values. And our first value is Integrity without Compromise. This is important to me because I only want to be part of an organization that always strives to do the right thing, even when no one is looking. Of course, mistakes are made, but because we share this value, I know they are not intentional, and we work hard to correct those mistakes… the right way.
CR: How have you been able to maintain such a great culture during seasons of fast paced growth and lots of new faces?
JM: As Brad Smith shares, the “fish stinks from the head down,” meaning that when an organization fails, its leadership is the root cause. A great corporate culture works the same way – it is the embodiment and tireless example set by its leaders. Scott Cook, our founder, still walks the halls sharing why he founded Intuit, and what our values mean to him. Brad repeats and incorporates our values into the many touch points he has with employees across all levels: during Q&A sessions, fireside chats, State of the Company presentations and at the beginning of every leadership conference, to name a few. And while I’ve heard Brad talk about our values dozens of times, he also reminds us “repetition doesn’t spoil the prayer.” At the same time, there also is a zero tolerance for managers who knowingly and repeatedly act contradictory to our values. This all adds up to a great culture.
CR: When hiring, how do you protect company culture by adding “culture contributors” as opposed to “culture killers”?
JM: There are many signals in the hiring process. Can the person articulate their own values? Do they say “me” and “I” or “us” and “we?” Can they admit mistakes and take ownership? Do they describe the position they held or the outcomes they delivered? If you have a strong culture based on values, it’s easier to identify good fits.
CR: In a given week, tell us how you actively promote the culture you’ve helped create? How many hours do you spend weekly focusing on culture-impacting activities?
JM: I actively promote and speak to our values on a daily basis. When making decisions, I ask myself and the team how our decision reflects our values: Is it Delivering Awesome for our customers? Does this decision reflect boundary-less leadership and Winning Together? Whenever I present to employees, especially those who are more junior or new to Intuit, I ask the group to share our company mission. Usually some, but not all, can repeat, “To improve our customers’ financial lives so profoundly they cannot imagine going back.” Then, we repeat it together. Twice. Do that enough and people start to evaluate their decisions and behaviors in light of our mission and our values.
CR: With regards to company values and culture, what’s one piece of advice you’d give to a younger version of yourself?
JM: Values first. Culture second. Employees, Customers/Partners, and Shareholders next. In that order. For as our CEO Brad Smith explains: “Shareholders are like food; critical to your survival, but you can go three weeks without food. Customers and partners are like water; you can go three days without liquid. However, employees are like air; three minutes and you are done.”
CR: What’s one simple, practical piece of advice for someone starting a business trying to create/promote company culture?
JM: My advice is to not just articulate your values, but to also write them down! For as our former CEO Steve Bennett used to say, “If not in writing, no shared vision!” Once they are written down, share them with all your employees, talk about them, and reference them in meetings and wherever applicable. For as I described above, your values won’t take hold as part of your culture unless you embody them and live them every day.
If you’re interested in learning how other business leaders use culture to build strong relationships and grow their companies, check out the rest of the Company Culture blog post series!