How to Use A Culture of Execution as a Competitive Advantage

By Patrick Thean

dateMon, Mar 16, 2015 @ 09:00 AM

AvidXchange, a long time Rhythm client, recently told me a story about how their culture made the difference in accelerating sales. A prospect was considering AvidXchange’s AvidPay solution along with other competitors. Then they visited AvidXchange and met various team members from different departments who would service them if they decided to work with AvidXchange. After their visit, they decided that they were ready to go with AvidXchange. They were very impressed with the people and the culture. “We can’t wait to work with your team and cannot imagine being serviced by a better team!"

AvidXchange has a wonderful culture. Winning Best Places to Work four years in a row is a clear indicator that they have built a wonderful culture where team members love to come to work and make a difference. Now, they have also been able to direct that competitive advantage not just at employee retention, but also at customer acquisition. How did they do this? How does this amorphous thing called “culture” work in such a concrete way to close sales faster?

Let’s examine how culture works as a not so secret weapon for AvidXchange:

  •  Intentionally create a great culture

Culture happens automatically. But a great culture comes from great intention. Start with a great core purpose and core values that shape the behavior of your team into a wonderful work culture. Jim Collins wrote in his book Built To Last, "Core purpose is the organization's fundamental reason for being. An effective purpose reflects the importance people attach to the company's work--it taps their idealistic motivations--and gets to the deeper reasons for an organization's existence beyond making money.”

Your core purpose must engage the hearts and minds of your team. If it does not ignite passion, then your core purpose needs work. People want to join a crusade and work towards a greater purpose. Your core values guides the behavior of your people as they move towards fulfilling the purpose of the company. Don’t allow your core values to just become a poster on the wall. Show your employees how the core values translate into practical actions and behavior. Intentionally create a great working culture by connecting the dots of everyday behavior to your core values and purpose.

  • Work it and Preach it!

Educate your employees on the practical actions and behaviors that your core values promote. Do this often. How often? Everyday if you can. Here are some ideas to help you use your core values to create a great working culture:

  • Daily - in your daily huddle, share one core value how it guides actions and behaviors
  • Weekly - in your weekly meetings, share how a victory connects to one of your core values
  • Performance reviews - Review how people are doing with core values as part of the performance review process
  • Thank you - Thank your team members for their victories and share how this ties to the core values
  • Recruiting - Proudly demonstrate your core values in your recruiting process

Check out AvidXchange’s recruiting video. This video serves more than one purpose. Yes, it introduces AvidXchange and attracts future employees. And it also inspires current employees to live this video every single day. AvidXchange employees are proud of this video. It ignites their passion and excitement about their company every time they see it. It is not easy to have a working culture that becomes a competitive advantage. It takes hard work every single day. So work it, and preach it!

  1. Package it and Sell it

Your culture translates to how employees go about executing their daily work. It translates to how products will be developed and how customers will be served. The powerful idea here is to demonstrate to prospects how it feels to be a customer, how it feels to be served by your employees and your working culture. Just like taking your prospects through a product demonstration, consider how you would take your prospects through a service demonstration. Here are some ideas to help you:

  • Build a service tour. Take prospects on a tour of how they will be serviced by your different teams. Let them see how other customers are being served. You can even personalize the tour by sharing who would be servicing their account when they sign on with you.
  • Celebrate together. Back when I was running an Inc500 company - Metasys - we used to celebrate all our victories with ice cream parties. When clients visited us, we would invite them to join in our ice cream parties. They would say to me, “Patrick, your people are so happy and wonderful. They are having such a great time at work, I can’t wait to work with them!” 
  • Show them customer support. This one is only for the brave! You can show them how your customer support or service teams resolve issues. Often times people realize that how you solve problems and handle difficult situations is much more important than how you handle victories!

This is how AvidXchange uses culture as a competitive advantage. Time to package your great culture and use it as a competitive advantage as well! Share your stories with us as well of how your culture has helped you.



Patrick Thean


Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images