Chris Ciulla, Founder and Author of WeCulture | The HR Secret to a Driving Results

Chris Ciulla, Founder and Author of WeCulture | The HR Secret to a Driving Results

Pete the Job Guy
Pete the Job Guy
Chris Ciulla, Founder and Author of WeCulture | The HR Secret to a Driving Results

[This is a direct transcription for your benefit. Please ignore any typos.]

Interview starts at 10:52

Pete: And we also have a great guest with us today and our guest is Chris Ciulla and I’ll be introducing him and just a little bit in his culture. He’s an author and he’s the founder of WeCulture. And we’ll talk about what that is in a minute. All right, but before we go to Chris, let’s go to the original hard worker, Alex Stuckey. Alex, can you share with me a time where either you’ve been a member of or you’ve put together a highly functioning team, a group of people that shared a common goal and they were able to get it done.

Alex: So at firefighters, one of the things that, that we did was after we started was to try to build a bigger team, right? And uh, so I went out and hunted down entrepreneurs like Nathan, who was quite capable of starting his own business and putting it together, but bringing him into kind of the safety of a team because being an entrepreneur, there’s a lot of risk involved in that. And one of the things that I look for in building a team was defined entrepreneurs, but that needed a little safety net. And Nathan was a perfect kind of guy and we ended up building five people in five different divisions like that of entrepreneurs

Pete: and firefighters as a business. You know it guys, a lot of times people, you know, we go through our lives is we’re cogs in a bigger machine. Okay? Alex is the machine. Alex put all the cogs together to build a machine. Alex, you have firefighters. How big did it get in? Like, remember, you were the original, the only guy you, you have founder, owner started the business from nothing. How big did you build it before you ended up selling it, right?

Alex: So, uh, yeah, you’re exactly right. We started out, it was just me and you did it all and, and you, you. The one thing that people don’t understand is when you have a small business, and let’s just call it a small business, when you have a person, it’s the same as when you’re running. Like now we’re running a several hundred million dollar business with 60 offices. Every single function has to be done, right? Right. You got whether you’re a one person team or in our case now your thousands of people on a team, Every single function has to be done. So there’s accounts payable, account receivable going out and doing the physical work, putting it all together. So that’s kind of a misnomer when people think that because you’re a small business, you don’t have all the same.

Pete: Everything’s scalable.

Alex: That’s right. And so what the key was is to build it from day one, like it was going to get to be a billion dollars. Right? And so everybody we hired and everybody will look at on along the way was built with that in mind, that planning and preparation of grow into a billion and today even with our company now, we’re constantly looking to build something that’s scalable and sustainable. And so we’re building teams now and, and, and trying to align compensation, compensation plans to make everybody aligned on that.

Pete: And you know, when we, you know, Alex and I traveled across the United States, all of these different branch offices and whether there’s two people in an office or 20 people in an office or more, everything is scalable. The motions you go through have to be executed and in order for the big machine to work, and that’s just the way it is, you know, and what I’d like to do now is bring in the, the author of a WeCulture. He’s the founder of the weak culture movement. His name is Chris Ciulla. Chris Ciulla. He comes to, he, he, we’re not big enough yet to get Chris to get into an airplane and fly on down and sit across from us. But he’s joining us from up in New Jersey and New York City area. Chris, welcome to hard worker with Pete the Job Guy How are you doing this Sunday morning?

Chris: Oh, great. This is a Sunday. Thanks for having me, Pete.

Pete: Good. I’m happy that you’ve made the time. Thank you for doing that. I know you’re a busy person. Chris. Tell us a little bit of a, what is WeCulture,

Chris: WeCulture is a process that helps people engage and empower teams to drive results. And the basic premise is that you leverage common core values to evaluate talent, attract great talent, and help your teams focus on common goals.

Pete: All right. Now a core values is something I know in business that sometimes life and business gets in the way, right? You join a team and there’s people with different core values and they’re clashing values or the business doesn’t seem to even identify their core values and it seems like you go in with a mentality, but life can be a little bit of a meat grinder. You go in one way, you get ground up and you come out the other way, you know, does your culture help you to identify these core values and maybe even establish them if you haven’t as a business before even as an individual?

Chris: Absolutely. They tend to work together really well. So we call it your. We have three common core values that we establish and pedaled the bike be positive and be honest and ethical and we’re really looking for people to do is to use them to govern their behavior and as we evaluate talents coming in, we’re looking to see if the people coming into the organization share those core values were actually are using it as a qualify a disqualifier so that, that thing about life being a meat grinder and things getting in the way that we don’t bring the wrong people onto the team.

Pete: You know, what are some of the things you look for? For me, I always had a D.I.P rating for what I look for in people because you know, my background is, you know, running staffing companies and, and, and running a sales culture. I look for dip, drive, intellect and presentation. Are they driven? Are they motivated, competitive? Do you know who was it? It was Lee Holtz years ago, said, you know, how do you motivate people? He said, how do I motivate people? I fire the unmotivated ones and the rest handles itself intellect. I’m not looking for the smartest person in the room, but they have to be reasonably intelligent and have to be able to think and speak on their feet right and presentation. You have to, you know, I’m not talking about it’s a modeling contest. When I say presentation, I’m looking for somebody that can think and speak on their feet. They can present well to a small group, a big group or to an individual will be able to communicate the features and benefits of the goods and services that are selling. What do you look for in a weak culture environment?

Chris: So we help our company, our client companies, establish those core competencies because that’s what you’re really talking about in the book. We talk about the four that we have. We have intelligence. Your ability to process information, communication skills, your ability to convey thoughts and understand thoughts that are conveyed to you thought processes, the ability to think on your feet on depression, and then we take a look at drive and you’re absolutely right and your share these things in common. You can’t teach people to want to win and then we have a thought process and methodology on how to measure that throughout someone’s career or their academic career, if they are new to business.

Pete: So well said, and I can, I can hear your passion and enthusiasm. These just aren’t words to you. These are your core values as how did you Chris Chula come to this moment in life where, you know what? I have to write this. I have to put this together. You know, how, how did you arrive at this?

Chris: Well, Pete I am not ashamed to say it started with a point of failure. I worked for a big publicly traded company and , I got absorbed into that corporate culture, climb the ladder mentality where they didn’t have established core values and I lost my way against my own core values. And after nine years of doing that, I decided after I left, I took a break and I wrote down my three core values, which are the three that I say to before pedal the bike, be positive, be honest and ethical. And I swore to myself I’d never stray from those again. And after I implemented weak culture in another organization, someone said to me, Chris, you should write a book. And then somebody said it again, and then I said, you know what, I have content. I want to share this with the world. And I wrote a book and got a publisher and we published it.

Alex: Chris, this, Alex, I, I tell you what, that, that really resonated with me because in both of my most successful times, it came after a failure and/or a termination rate I told the story before about working at the Barnett Bank, which was a large public company and they fired my mentor. And immediately thereafter, shortly thereafter I quit and left to go to go into the fire protection business because I, I, I wanted to work for a place where there were loyalty, right? And, and he had been there for 50 years and there wasn’t any, any cultural loyalty. So when I built firefighters, it was about, you’ll never get fired. You’ll never get terminated. You’ll never have a cut in pay if you come and bring it every single day. Didn’t mean we didn’t fire people or cut people loose, but you were safe and you had a secure environment and knew that – that the company wasn’t going to be disloyal to you. Right, right. Of course. Big Question here. But you know, what, what’s changed? What’s changed nowadays about how you can companies and, and, and, and the workforce needs to engage each other.

Chris: Our generation, right? We were told by our parents, you know, hard work, go to work for a big company. Didn’t quite do as you’re told, climb the corporate ladder

Pete: and then maybe one day we’ll write one day we can work our way up into middle management. Don’t make any waves. Just go out there. Hard work. Keep your nose to the grindstone and one day I can go out and be a middle manager somewhere and maybe do. Okay. Right?

Chris: Absolutely. But things have changed now. Millennials are coming into the workforce and the way they’re motivated is different. Their value status to be part of the greater good. The success of the team, a little bit more collectivism. Right? So if their motivation has changed, I find that a lot of leaders from our generation site that they don’t get it and it’s just the exact opposite. The people were saying that millennials don’t get it are wrong, but we have to do is adapt our management style and how we lead to, to address their concerns. They’re going to be the majority of the workforce by 2020. So we have to find ways to inspire and motivate them to get the best talent that they have available. They’re very talented, intelligent, and hardworking people. We just have to find a way to tap into town, motivate them. And that’s what we coach is all about

Pete: preaching to the choir right now. I’m telling you, because this is exactly every. These are the things that you know, running a business like I do and like some other people. These are the challenges that I face every day. And, and I know your listeners, everybody that’s listened to this program right now where whatever your station is in the workforce, you relating to what Chris was saying because he’s, he’s telling you story. Chris, how does WeCulture help organizations drive results?

Chris: It’s really about getting people focused on everyday behaviors that help each other win, right, and it’s about peer level accountability to the core values. Why don’t you have that mindset in place and people are all working in the same direction towards that common goal. There’s really not a lot that can’t be accomplished, right? Think of all the impossible things throughout history that happened because people focused on the common goal and then just did the test to get there, but 100 years ago on 150 years ago, if we said we could fly, we probably would have been burned at the stake. Now we hop on an airplane like it’s a city bus. Everyday we looked down at our iphones, don’t even think about it. That’s because two people thought they can and they sat there and laid it out and did the test and solve the little problems along the way that got them to that common goal.

Alex: That is spot on. It’s funny because we had the best places to work or award four years in a row and when they came to interview us and they said, you know, how do you get this? How do you get all these people motivated to to give you this best places to work award and you know, they asked to common questions, do y’all have like massage Friday? No. Do y’all have casual work? No. Do you have an in house daycare in house hospital? No. Then what do you do? We teach people exactly where the company’s going and how it’s going to get there and what our core values are and everybody understands exactly where they fit into that, into that, into that environment and so because they know and because it’s in their heart, they understand that they bought into the system. They’re all rowing in the same way every day and they know when they come to work that that, that place is better off when they left and when they arrived that day and that culture is what drove our company to be successful.

Pete: A wonderful story, and Chris, Alex touched on something here right now. Unemployment as we know, is that at an all time low, everybody’s working. Everybody has jobs. This is, you know, very, very low unemployment. Rate it, how does WeCulture fit if I’m trying to attract and retain a of folks this week, culture help organizations to attract the folks, number one in the, also retain them?

Chris: It’s a great question, Pete, and you know, attraction is a big part of what culture is because we don’t keep our core values of secret. We actually advertise what our core values are and then we, through, social media, display our core values out in the open so that people can see it so that when we’re hiring people, not only see that we have a good job, they also see that we have a good culture and that was, it actually attracts the people. People say we stayed the core values as where we’re on social media. People see those core values and the people who share them or not only attract to our job, but there were attracted to our common core values. And then it’s reinforced through retention because if we truly practice them and those people share those core values, then it becomes the thing that makes them stay besides a paycheck.

Pete: that, hey listen, well, so this is a great program. Everything you’ve said is very interesting and I’m sure people are to want to know how can we get more information? How can we get in touch with you or learn more about WeCulture? Let’s, uh, let’s hear you contact information.

Chris: Sure. You can look on, or you can buy a copy of WelCulture on Amazon and you’ll have all my contact information and we include you. And any time somebody orders the book and if they like it, they can talk with me about it. If they decide to read it with their team, I also do ‘author of use’ over webcasts or in person, if it’s in a local market to help them establish WeCulture throughout their organization.

Pete: Very good. Chris Ciulla, founder and author of WeCulture. We thank you for joining hard worker with Pete the Job Guy.

Chris: Awesome. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.

Pete: You do the same Chris, and now it’s time to get a little news, update, traffic, weather, all that good stuff and we’ll be right back.


Chris Ciulla

Interested in his book, WeCulture? Click here.

To connect with CHRIS CIULLA:



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