Build a Winning Team Culture the EP Way

February 23, 2016
Build a Winning Team Culture the EP Way

Last month Charles and I were in Reno, Nevada, meeting with a new client. We’ve been impressed with their healthy team culture, and we were excited to meet them in person and learn more about what makes them that way.

As we were exploring their website before our meeting, we saw mentions of their mission, but we didn’t think that could be it. Just about everyone lists their mission statement on their website, but it doesn’t usually seem to have an impact on their day-to-day work.

Then we had dinner with the CEO, and he talked about the EP Way (and pulled a card out of his wallet to show it to us). And we met with some members of the sales team, who talked about the EP Way. And we saw posters on the wall about the EP Way. And we met with the leadership team, who talked about the EP Way. And we saw sentences scribbled on whiteboards talking about the EP Way.

Are you sensing a theme?

This is a company that didn’t just develop a mission statement to have a mission statement – they developed a list of 25 Fundamentals to drive the team culture they wanted to build. And they have immersed themselves in these fundamentals so they’re an essential element to how people work.

Interested in building a winning team culture of your own? Here are three tips to build a team culture, based on what we learned from EP Minerals.

1. Keep it simple.

I’ve read a lot of mission, vision, and culture statements, and they can get a little flowery at times. They are often full of high-minded language that is hard to relate to day-to-day actions. That’s not the case with EP’s 25 Fundamentals!

#7 is “Check the ego at the door.”

#13 is “Get clear on expectations.”

#17 is “Get the facts.”

#23 is “Focus on solutions.”

Can you see how that could drive an improved team culture? How many times have you seen a lack of alignment on expectations combine with unclear information and a bruised ego result in a huge problem?

And the statements are short and simple, so everyone on the team can understand them.

2. Collaborate to build your team culture.

While the CEO had the vision to build the EP Way, this isn’t something he did on his own. He brought the team into the process of developing the Fundamentals, and they have maintained a sense of ownership.

It can be tempting to develop culture statements quickly and efficiently, maybe forming a committee and scheduling one or two working sessions to hammer the statement out.

Instead, consider soliciting input from the team. Circulate your draft and ask the team to provide feedback. Meet with key people on the team to get their reactions to your work, and make sure you take their feedback into account.

This will probably take a bit longer, but you’ll end up with something that has meaning to the team.

3. Ritualize it.

Every week, EP highlights one of their 25 Fundamentals. At the beginning of the week, someone emails everyone in the company talking about what that week’s Fundamental means to him or her. It rotates every week, so it’s not always the same person’s perspective. They talk about it in meetings. They highlight examples of how people are demonstrating it in their work.

In the hiring process, they have candidates respond to the 25 Fundamentals. In performance reviews, they evaluate employees against their practice of the Fundamentals.

If you want to build a winning team culture that’s aligned with your mission, you need to ritualize it. Make your mission statement a part of your day-to-day life and hold people accountable to living it out. It will take some effort, but you’ll see the results.


What have you done to build your team culture? Leave your suggestions in the comments!

And if you’re looking for incredible materials for everyday use, check out our friends at EP Minerals!

As you're exploring your team culture, you might discover that you have some problems to solve. Check out our resource on Troubleshooting Sales Problems for 6 specific areas to evaluate.

Free eBook: How to Develop a Healthy Sales Culture

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