Beyond the Build


Corporate Culture: What Does Your Team Value?

We are hiring for a new senior level project management position. The process has us thinking on many levels, including how candidates would fit into our team dynamic. I was reminded of a recent conversation with the former CEO of J.A. Jones, at one time the largest construction company in the world.

Several financial reasons lead to their demise, but from our talk, it also sounded like the company’s culture was lost. In his words, they had forgotten “what it meant to be a J.A. Jones team member.” What was it about their earlier culture that drove people to strive to be the best? Was it forgotten or not supported along the way?

To us, it is important that we maintain the right culture and constantly communicate it to both our new and existing management. This is broad, but includes what we believe in, our core values, our corporate ethics and how we expect things to be done routinely. We are continuously reinforcing. The real winning combination is when we make hiring decisions based on good technical abilities, ensuring the culture is communicated accurately and is a fit.

Remember the Blake and Mouton behavioral grid of leadership styles? That to me somewhat defines the foundations of most corporate cultures. Here is my interpretation of their culture styles:

Accommodating: thoughtful attention to needs of people for satisfying relationships; comfortable, friendly organization atmosphere and work tempo.

Authority-Obedience: efficient operations where human elements interfere to a minimum degree.

Indifferent: exertion of minimum effort to get required work done.

Status Quo: balancing concern for people with concern for production.

Team: work accomplishment is from committed people; ‘common stake’ leads to relationships of trust and respect.

I would like to think the “team ” description is what most closely aligns to our working style. Hopefully we communicate this routinely–it’s certainly what we strive for. Where do you fit? Is culture and its communications important to you?



Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.