Some people think “culture” is what you get in your yogurt. So called “company culture” starts from the top and permeates throughout your organization. The attitudes, principles, philosophies and values of owners like you and your managers shape the decisions, actions, and motivation of your employees.

The morale of your people and the impressions of your vendors and customers are greatly impacted by your company’s culture. If your staff treats information as a jealously guarded currency, if the division of labor is creating turf battles, if good ideas are being suppressed, or if job preservation is taking precedence over customer service, you can expect to lose your best and most creative people. Your company will be upstaged in the marketplace by competitors who allow and encourage creative ideas.

Each of the following concepts helps you build a positive company culture, and will receive more attention in later posts. Here is a brief summary:

  1. Create Two Divisions. Your employees are either in Sales or Sales Support. Ultimately, everyone in your company gets paid from sales. No matter what their job or profession, make sure each of your people know how he/she affects  sales. Emphasize the point by finding ways to link their compensation to sales. When you keep them up to date on your sales and get their feedback, you will be surprised at the improved team spirit.
  2. Give Your Staff Permission to experiment, take chances and even make mistakes, so long as they document the changes needed to prevent them from occurring again. In the process, they will improve the company’s policies and procedures while coming up with out-of-the-box solutions and innovative improvements.
  3. Improve the Planet. Your people want to make a difference. Show them how your product, sales program, and groups you support are making the world a better place. When they know that they are part of a higher value than just selling a product, they will approach their job with the added enthusiasm, knowing they are making a difference.
  4. Give Congratulations.  Your people are motivated by goal achievement, but also by public recognition. It not only validates their creativity, but it sends a message to the rest of the troops that this type of behavior is identified, appreciated and celebrated. Appreciation builds loyalty, encourages achievement, and builds a productive environment.

Everyone in your company is playing by a set of rules. Instead of letting those rules evolve by divisions of labor, hierarchy, and apathy, take charge of your company culture and build it in a positive and nurturing direction. Culture is not just found in yogurt!

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Who We Are

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.

They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.

Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at

To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact