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Field Sales Solutions share their views on why culture and values are so important to their business…

15/05/2019

To coincide with the move to their new, larger offices in Oxfordshire, dynamic CEO of Field Sales Solutions, Julian Cordy, expands on his view of why culture and values are important; and why the saying, “…our people are our greatest asset, resonates with him. These are ‘nice words’, ‘easy to say’, and applicable to most businesses in some way. He acknowledges that it is a quote which is somewhat clichéd, but it is none-the less, he emphasises, ‘the absolute truth’ in their business.  He does not exclude the necessity of having great systems, policies and processes in place, but accentuates the fact that when their company has the responsibility of representing and driving the growth of some of the World’s leading brands by creating key interventions in-store, it is crucial to have personnel who are fully engaged in order to ensure the success of both their brand partners, as well as that of their own business.

While, he says, there were an estimated 16,000 books published about business in 2017, covering topics such as, Vision, Mission, Strategy and Objectives models and also training courses, he felt that a simpler method was required to encompass what they stood for as a business. He also felt that while Field Sales Solutions had been a leading player in their business sector for many years and had a good reputation for being a ‘safe pair of hands’, historically their approach to management could perhaps have been described as ‘hierarchical’, and that was a culture that he wanted to change. This was particularly the case as he felt that it was a culture that could no longer work due to the rapid growth of the business.   

Cordy elaborates, “Culture is the personality of a business based on the sum total of values, management style, traditions, stories and beliefs that are shared across the organisation. Culture lives in the minds of the employees as perceptions of their experience working to serve customers. Culture, in its most fundamental form, is how employees in a business consistently act when no one is looking.”

He goes on to say that while many elements of culture are unique to certain companies, research has shown that there are some common traits exhibited by high-performance cultures. According to a report he quotes by Aon Hewitt, companies with high-performance cultures are often described as decisive, long-term oriented, proactive, open, transparent, and people-oriented. 

He says that while thinking in this vein, and recognising that their company works with some amazing brands, and also, that they have people in the company who are committed to delivering great service to their clients, one word kept playing in his mind. The word was Pride. He says that he wanted something simple, a single concept to epitomise their Company values and culture, a concept which people would remember, regardless of whether they were based in head office or in the field,  whether they were in permanent or in part-time employment.

So with the concept of pride clearly in mind, Julian Cordy coined the catch phrase that encapsulated their Company values in two small words:

                                                                     BE PROUD

This phrase has 3 key meanings for the employees of Field Sales Solutions, and that is that they should:

1. Be Proud of the brands that they represent. 

2. Be Proud of working for Field Sales Solutions.

 3. Be Proud of themselves and their own development.

And that, in this context, each letter of the word PROUD has a meaning:

PARTNERSHIP      RETURN     OWNERSHIP       UPSTANDING      DETERMINED

These words and their definitions define what they do and how they behave.

Cordy recognises that simply having stated values is not enough without working hard and also finding innovative solutions to keep the stated principles alive. To this end, Field Sales Solutions have their ‘be Proud’ recognition scheme, where colleagues can nominate each other when they have over-delivered on their values. They also hold a   ‘be Proud Oscars’ at their Christmas conference. Cordy says that he re-iterates the message at every opportunity. So whether he is presenting to clients, to a new team, a sales conference or to their field teams, he says that he keeps reminding people about these values.

This ‘be Proud’ initiative has clearly worked for Field Sales Solutions. They report that their staff satisfaction survey has had positive indicators each year, and that the Values always score in the high 90% as being well understood and having a clear message.  Furthermore as part of the initiative, the company invested in larger, more modern office and kitchen space to give the team a workplace that they can be Proud of, which had an overwhelmingly positive response from the team. They found that this positivity reflected in the business growth of the company as well. Cordy says that they continue to grow clients, revenue and profitability, which to him, is the ultimate proof of the success of this initiative.

According to him, this process has taught him to:

  • Keep it simple.
  • Back up the words with support and action
  • Invest in the values both financially and with time.
  • Keep taking feedback and keep learning.

The CEO of Field Sales Solutions, Julian Cordy, has shown by this initiative that in business, by having a value system which is simple, relevant, well expressed, understood and re-enforced, as well as, most importantly, by having an appreciation for the people involved in the business and a genuine concern for their wellbeing, this not only has a positive impact, but effectively becomes the culture of a company. Significantly, he has also shown that having a positive company culture and a happily engaged workforce has a remarkably positive impact on company growth and profitability.

                                “…..our people are our greatest asset.”

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