Some businesses don’t have a single cultural value—and it can be the reason why most of them end up failing.
Today, you’ll realize how IMPORTANT this is to run your business (and your life!)
But what on earth are cultural values?
I learned about this from my mentor, Andy Frisella.
If you know me, you know that I’ve been a religious listener of his podcast, the MFCEO (and yes, it stands for what you think it stands for)
Andy is raw and real, and above all, Andy cares. A LOT.
And if you’re reading this blog, chances are you do too…
Andy taught me the importance of cultural values to lead your business and team or run your own life.
He talks about the example of Harley Davidson.
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Imagine what you think about when you hear “Harley Davidson?”
If you’re like me… you picture big bikes with big middle-aged tattooed guys with beards.
What Harley Davidson sells is NOT motorcycles contrary to popular belief.
What Harley Davidson (and all GREAT companies) sells to an extent… is CULTURE.
I’m talking about BELONGING.
My guess is that people don’t buy Harley for being a “superior product” any more than people buying an iPhone over Android because it’s a “superior product”
Sure, there might be nuances in product features….
But the truth is this:
People buy products from brands because of what they represent and how it makes them feel.
Cultural values embodied creates a community of belongingness.
You see, everyone craves a sense of community.
While that might sound obvious…
What’s not obvious is how powerful cultural values are in driving a sense of belonging.
And as a result?
What do you think of when you think of Apple?
Well for me, I think “hip, high tech, luxury, upper class, expensive, sleek, sexy, best of the best”
If you watch Steve Jobs’ keynote in 1997, (https://youtu.be/keCwRdbwNQY)
You see the first thing Steve says is that “To me, marketing is about VALUES…”
This man was truly ahead of his time!
I recently read Marc Benioff (founder of salesforce.com) mention how he believes businesses of the future MUST be built on cultural values.
While businesses of the past operated fine without them and the only ones with strong cultural values were truly only the forward-thinking ones (the best of the best)…
Successful businesses of the future MUST thrive off of cultural values.
Why is this?
Well, I have my personal thoughts.
I believe our world is evolving to be ever more a purpose-driven place…
You hear people talk about how millennials aren’t inspired by just money.
They’re inspired by their purpose.
And that’s true!
I think cultural values are just an extension of that evolution… of people wanting to belong to a community that represents what they stand for!
People no longer just want to work for a paycheck.
Once their basic necessities are met, they want to feel like they belong to something bigger!
Another reason I think as I picked up in Benioff’s book (Trailblazer)…
—is that as human beings and even as leaders…
We are inherently “imperfect”
No one can be perfect ALL the time and make every single decision correctly.
It’s the nature of being human!
But that’s why it’s important to have cultural values.
Values that don’t change or bend with the times—to be the guiding north stars in our lives.
In essence, great companies have cultural values to help them make decisions.
Marc Benioff shared an example where his company, Salesforce, was going through a crisis and had to make a decision.
And the cultural values were so strong in that company that when Marc made a decision that went against the cultural values, the employees themselves started to protest and rebel.
This shows you how POWERFUL cultural values are.
“We do it THIS WAY… because THIS is what we STAND FOR!”
At Saleslucky, we have our cultural values listed proudly on the front page. It’s one of the first things you see when you land on the website.
- Doing the Right Thing
- Genuinely Helping People
- Selling With Integrity
- Growth & Reaching Our Full Potential
Let’s go over these to know how each can impact a business.
This one is pretty self-explanatory.
As human beings, NONE of us are ever perfect.
That’s the thing about being human.
Inevitably, we make mistakes and fall.
That’s why it’s so important to have values that guide us as opposed to our own whims and desires.
Doing the right thing oftentimes means doing the thing that’s NOT to our immediate benefit in the short term.
Notice how I said, “in the short term.”
That’s because I believe in Karma, or God, or whatever you wanna call it…
I believe when we put good out into the world, it eventually comes back to us.
I talked about this in my previous posts as the law of cause and effect.
This is value #1 because it encompasses so many things…
And so many problems can be solved just by asking the simple question, “What’s the right thing to do here?”
We here at Saleslucky stand for GENUINELY helping people.
Salespeople have gotten a bad rep, through both movies… and well, shitty salespeople.
I remember my previous manager said that as salespeople, our biggest competition is bad salespeople.
While I disagree and think that our biggest competition is the previous version of ourselves and what we are capable of…
I do understand his point.
He’s saying that to be a good salesperson, you really have to stand out.
Because salespeople have traditionally gotten a bad rep.
Whether selling is your profession, or you sell indirectly, or you’re a business owner (in which case selling is definitely your profession!)
—the heart of all effective selling is solving a problem and helping people.
It really is that simple.
I remember Bruce Lee once said:
“Personal growth isn’t addition, it’s subtraction”
In other words, oftentimes, it’s not about learning more…
…but unlearning the lies that society taught us.
And after being committed to personal development for a number of years…. Boy, there are many.
I always tell people that if you can just forget everything society/the media has taught you about selling…
And just understand that effective selling is really about helping people…
You will be better off than 95% of salespeople out there.
Again, whether you’re selling directly or indirectly, we here at Saleslucky are about genuinely helping people and making a real impact.
What do I mean by Selling with Integrity?
It means doing what we say, and being people of our word.
I remember Gary Vaynerchuk…
(if you don’t know who Gary Vee is… Google him!)
He said that the core fundamental truth that his dad taught him about business is this:
*Gary pretends to spit on his hand, reaches out, and shake the other person’s hand*
In other words?
Being a man of his word is EVERYTHING to Gary.
—and it means EVERYTHING in business.
Another mentor of mine, Andy Frisella, has mentioned that business at the highest levels is still done “on a handshake” to a large extent.
Our word means EVERYTHING.
If we SAY we’re going to do something, you get BET it’s GOING to HAPPEN.
When you develop this habit inside of you, it becomes a superpower.
We don’t lie.
We don’t deceive.
We don’t pull a fast one over others hoping they’ll never find out…
At Saleslucky, we sell with integrity.
I believe that our potential is an ever-expanding thing.
It’s similar to the horizon if you will.
You can see the horizon, but as you walk closer and closer….
The horizon only extends further and further away.
Because your vision keeps on ever-expanding.
And I believe that’s the same thing with reaching our full potential.
I know Tony Robbins has said that the only things that will truly fulfill us at the end of the day are who we’ve become (Growth) and what we’ve given (Contribution).
And in a time like this that we’re going through today, I’ve had a lot of time to think about these things, and I can say that they feel more true for me than ever.
If I’m honest, the things I’m MOST proud of are who I’ve become, and what I’ve given away.
I had a thought the other day, that it’s funny.
When you’re young all you want to do is earn money and “be successful”.
But the older I get, the more I realize all I really want to do is give this money I’ve earned away… I know it sounds crazy… and you might think I’m lying.
But it’s the truth.
The more I give, the more I want to give.
I have a feeling that at the end of my life I’ll probably be giving most of my money away.
Here at Saleslucky, we are a special breed of people who will NEVER settle for less than what we can be and what we can do, achieve, and give.
Here at Saleslucky, we value and appreciate diversity.
Let me share with you a little about my background.
I was born in a city called Chengdu, China… in the province of Szechuan.
We’re known for our spicy food, panda bears, and pretty girls.
Although I would like to add some of the nicest people in the world as well.
When I was 6, my family moved to Canada, and then to California when I was 10.
In 2018, I moved to Medellin, Colombia, and absolutely fell in love with the culture and the people. (And the pretty girls – just being honest)
I guess what I’m trying to say is… having traveled and lived in different places…
I thoroughly believe these experiences have enriched my life and provided a priceless form of education.
I would say that the most interesting (and my favorite) people are not only the most real and down to earth ones…
But also the ones well cultured and often times well-traveled.
You don’t necessarily have to be well-traveled to be “diverse.”
The cultural value of diversity simply means that you embrace who you are.
You embrace your individuality and your differences.
Here at Saleslucky, we reject conformity—but love uniqueness and the differences that make you… YOU!
It is Ralph Waldo Emerson who said,
“Your genuine action will explain itself and will explain your other genuine actions. Your conformity explains nothing.”
This brings us to our last cultural value.
Authenticity is a word used often these days, and I think it’s partly because of a global awakening happening.
But aside from that, being authentic simply means being real.
As I mentioned in the last point, we here at Saleslucky reject conformity for conformity’s sake.
That’s not what we’re about.
We’re about knowing ourselves, and being true to ourselves.
Our values, our desires, our strengths, our areas of growth, and what makes us come alive.
To borrow Emerson’s words again, we understand that…
“There comes a time in every person’s life when he or she realizes that envy is ignorance and that imitation is suicide. And it truly demands something Godlike in her, who has cast off the common motives of humanity, to trust herself for a taskmaster”
We here at Salesucky believe in authenticity because we understand that to fulfill our own potential means being the BEST and BRIGHTEST VERSION of ourselves…
…and that doesn’t happen by copying another person.
That happens by being the best version of ourselves.