How Penrod Encourages Positive Thought And Action
A key pillar here at Penrod is “Positive thought. Positive action.” It’s what we look for when we hire, what we strive to help our people develop; it affects how we lead, events we hold, and even how we design our office spaces.
Think we’re crazy? This culture of positivity, it turns out, keeps our employees engaged and is one of the main reasons our customers love working with us. Because mindset will always affect action, we do everything we can to keep our culture positive.
Company culture predicts performance better than strategy. When we strive for a positive workforce and work environment, it helps our people stay motivated and looking toward the future.
As people join us, we pinpoint what they are best at and take advantage of those skills. The people with the strongest soft skills — like empathy, engagement in their role, trustworthiness, communication, leadership, and a positive mindset — rise to the top of the company and to the forefront of our customers.
We constantly hear from our customers about the energy and excitement that emanates from our people and how it differentiates us from competitors. These soft skills help our customers feel safe. We could have all the Salesforce expertise in the world, but without our enthusiasm and transparency, our customers wouldn’t have quite as much confidence that they made the right decision.
We polled our staff on what leadership looks like to them and while answers varied, a few stood out: a leader is a person who is confident but who cares personally, a person who can communicate — not just talk but also listen, and who exudes humility and helpfulness.
These are the skills we want to instill in each employee. Everyone at Penrod has to be a leader because we are leading other companies to success.
The Founder’s job
Everyone leads, but only two of us were founders — Chris and me. It’s our job to ensure that our culture remains intact. That means always making decisions around our culture and core values. More than anyone else, we have to be transparent, open, and honest to keep a positive culture.
A key component of emotional intelligence and a quality every founder should have is the ability to remain positive in the face of adversity. As the founder and CEO, I have to have hard chats with employees, customers, and the company. My ability to communicate with positive body language and verbal language will affect the outcome. During these tough talks, I have to show empathy, give a solution, and look to the future because it’s a good one.
Hiring for culture fit
Another job of the founder is to ensure we are hiring for cultural fit. As Penrod has grown and people see what we’ve accomplished, they want to join in. But because our culture is our first priority, we don’t just fill the job with the first person who has all the necessary experience. We look for someone who will both love our culture and be awesome at what they do. Sometimes the job doesn’t get filled immediately because we wait for the right person.
Find negative influences
In the company, the founder has to identify people with a negative influence. When we can, we try to provide training or try to work with them to help them change, but sometimes we don’t always have the tools to help them grow. In those cases we have to let them go. Sometimes even high performing people don’t stay here because they can’t stay positive.
Reward positive people
The best part of my job, though, is when positive action means I get to reward people who are performing well. I’m always on the lookout for people who excel in their role and have a positive mindset.
Penrod’s environment is built for learning. By always providing new avenues for learning like ongoing Salesforce training, leadership retreats, and monthly hobby hours, we promote a sense of curiosity which keeps our people positive and engaged.
Four times throughout the year we host Quarterly Kickoffs when all our employees from throughout the US come together to learn, grow, and see the big picture. During the year, our people have their heads down and can only see the present. I am working on things that won’t be realized for another 90 to 100 days, or even longer, but the rest of the company doesn’t always see that. For that reason, at our quarterly events, I try to give them the airplane view. They leave feeling inspired and excited about the future.
Another way we help our work environment stay positive is by always looking forward to the future. We do this by holding on to some events that have become Penrod traditions over the past few years.
By far, our most fun event is a costume party that we hold every summer here in Milwaukee. We also throw a Christmas party complete with tree decorating contests and awards for who’s dressed the most festive. Throughout the year, we celebrate employee anniversaries, hold a black tie event, and a yearly kickoff in a remote location featuring an awesome cover band. These events give our people something to look forward to and get excited about.
The place we come every day to do work can dramatically affect our mindset and our performance. When we open a new office, I design an intentional space, a place that feels warm and inviting but also professional, a space that reflects our culture. Everything even down to our furniture, wood, flooring, and lighting selections creates a different mood in each space. Depending on their emotions, our people can enjoy quiet, engage in play, or collaborate with other employees.
Positive Thought, Positive Action Dictates Where People Go At Penrod
Positive thought and action determine whether people remain the same, get promoted, or are let go. Their outlook and mindset, their ability to remain positive in both good times and bad reflects their career path at Penrod.