As a corporate anthropologist and culture change expert, I am fascinated by Stephanie Breedlove’s story, one of the amazing women I write about in my new book, “Rethink: Smashing The Myths of Women in Business.” Get your copy here. I also did an On The Brink podcast interview with Stephanie back in 2017. What makes her story so important, and so relevant for the times, is that her success came in large part from a belief that if you strive to bring out the best in people, that brings out the best in your company. I’ve heard this many times from women entrepreneurs and I think it is something that women in business do particularly well when they’re building their companies. To get the full story of how Stephanie bucked her parents’ advice and started her business anyway, then sold it for $55 million, read my book. For a taste, I offer this synopsized excerpt below. Don’t let anyone hold you back from realizing your dreams!
As Stephanie’s company Breedlove & Associates grew, she realized she had to hire people who would be enabled to grow out of their jobs
What I love about Stephanie’s approach to building her business is that she also very intentionally built its culture. New employees had to be self-starters and be willing to take risks to build their skills and add value to the organization. To create an environment where this kind of development would happen, Stephanie and her husband Bill instituted training at every level, from new hires to newly promoted.
Set expectations and create accountability
Stephanie stresses the importance of establishing clearly-defined core principles and then holding your people accountable to “living” them. It was this bar-setting and accountability that enabled Breedlove & Associates to grow from a struggling start-up to a multimillion-dollar company only a few years after she and Bill took the plunge and became entrepreneurs.
Creating a successful business begins with a culture that can breed and nourish success
What makes people “people” is their cultures and the stories they share while living their lives. If you don’t create a culture in your company, people will make one up, and it may not at all be what you want it to be. It will usually consist of a set of habits, beliefs, values and behaviors that reflect what matters to them and not to you or your customers.
With Stephanie’s company, employees embraced her culture and became part of it. They went all in and lived it. When a business succeeds, it is often because its culture has become its brand, and what it promises to customers is also what its people live every day and deliver at every touch point. Stephanie believes that you are only as valuable as the perception your clients have of your value, so she built in a feedback loop from her clients so she could gauge if her people were delivering on their promise and that their efforts were always improving.
As Stephanie says, “Culture is something I believe is truly a secret to success.” I couldn’t agree more.
Are myths holding you back? Let’s smash them together
Are you doing what you love to do? Or are you ready for a happier, more fulfilling life, personally and professionally? Here are some things you can do now to better understand where you are today and why you might like to Rethink where you are going in the future:
- Join our Facebook group, Rethink with Andi Simon, and meet other women who are also rethinking their life’s journey. Women helping women. Once a month we have a Roundtable
where we exchange ideas and learn from each other
- If you haven’t already, grab a copy of my book “Rethink”
- Read my blogs about women breaking barriers and leaping over obstacles
- Listen to my podcasts and podcast videos
- Visit my website www.andisimon.com
- Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. As always, we’re here for you.
From Observation to Innovation,
Andi Simon, Ph.D.
Corporate Anthropologist | Author | CEO Simon Associates Management Consultants