We believe sharing is a great way to give back to our industry. That’s why we developed, promoted, hosted and underwrote the inaugural Marine Industry Culture Summit.
“Amazing,” “energizing” and, most often, “inspiring” were words attendees used to describe the summit, held Jan. 14-15 in Orlando, Fla. One attendee even said a few weeks later, “It was impossible to sit through the Culture Summit and not leave a changed person.”
Our Correct Craft team has seen the power of an effective culture first-hand. Culture has been critical to the growth of our company, and we are determined to do what we can to share with others, including competitors, the powerful ideas and principles that we have learned.
The bottom line is that culture drives results in a big way. And not just in a feel-good way; culture directly drives and improves financial results. One of my goals with the summit was to be a proponent for the idea that companies need to view culture not as an expense, but as an investment. We also wanted to show that culture is an investment with a huge return, including financial.
Based on comments we heard, most of our attendees — which included CEOs of boatbuilders and equipment makers, marine engine company executives, marine retailers, yacht brokers, association executives and multiple human resources staff — heard that message clearly and planned to take it back to their companies with the goal of creating a more effective organization.
I kicked off the meeting with an overview of culture and why it is so important. We discussed that to effectively begin developing and implementing a healthy culture, we must shed being a “knower” and become a “learner.” We talked about how to have an effective team and the importance of providing our teams with clarity before explaining the Correct Craft culture pyramid, which is the foundational representation of our corporate culture.
Kris Carroll (Grady-White CEO), Duane Kuck (Regal CEO) and Paul Singer (president of Centurion and Supreme) discussed what they have done to develop effective cultures at their companies. Others from our Correct Craft team explained how we developed and integrated our culture, before wrapping up with an exercise on how each attendee could begin to reshape their own organization’s culture.
We also had a couple of authors at the event, which everyone really enjoyed. Wallace “J” Nichols, who wrote the book Blue Mind, spoke on the first day. His ideas about how water is integral to human existence and how boating makes life better were appreciated. They also contained a tremendous amount of potential energy for our industry. He reminded us that ultimately what we do — make products that individuals and families use for enjoyment — is because of an innate human love for the water.
On day two, industry favorite Brant Hansen spoke about his book Unoffendable. Brant is an intelligent speaker who brings humor and humanity to discussions about big topics. His talk was a big hit with the crowd.
Some of the key concepts we discussed at the Culture Summit:
• Culture is the No. 1 driver of results.
• We (and our employees) must be learners, not knowers.
• Culture is not an expense; it is an investment with a huge return.
• We need to know our “why” — Simon Sinek’s book Start with Why.
• When you build your people, you build your business.
• Results come from people’s behavior, and people’s behavior comes from their beliefs.
• Every company has a culture — be intentional about it.
• Caring for team members gives courage to deal with performance issues.
• We must “do the hard things.”
• Culture attracts or repels what matters most to a business: people.
• Blue Mind is a powerful concept, and boating gives access to it.
• We need to be Unoffendable.
It’s difficult to discuss the Culture Summit without sounding boastful or as though we’re trying to promote Correct Craft, but that wasn’t the intent. Transformational is a big word, often used for life-changing events, but my impression is that our summit was transformational for many who attended. Nobody there was trying to sell anyone on their companies or products, there was a minimum of business jargon, and I found the discussions authentic, honest and, frankly, eye-opening. I think they did, too.
In the weeks after the summit, we have heard from many attendees who are working what they learned into their own businesses. Several have said they are starting a “reading” culture at their companies, asking employees to read the books we discussed at the summit. Others said they are using what they learned in their meetings as they develop new cultures for their companies. Many said what we are doing will be the start of an industrywide transformation.
Here are some thoughts from attendees I have heard from since the summit:
• The Culture Summit gave me the opportunity to consider the changes needed for me personally and my company. It won’t be easy, but I am excited to try.
• The Culture Summit left me in awe.
• What I learned is truly valuable. It will make me a better husband and father, as well as a better leader.
• The summit was thought-provoking, informative, inspirational and very retainable. Any person with a business could surely get a lot out of this.
• The Culture Summit was possibly the best meeting of this type I have ever attended.
I’m hoping this first summit, which involved a tremendous amount of preparation and thought by our team, will not only have a direct impact on the companies that attended, but also a ripple effect across the entire industry.
If we want to make sure boating is the preferred outdoor activity and attract the best people to our industry, the best way to get there is by developing a great culture. I said this multiple times during the two-day summit, but it’s really true: Culture drives results. n