Our Culture and Your Machines

February 17, 2021 | Troy Clark

The famous management guru, Peter Drucker, is cited as having made the claim, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” We’re big on strategy and I bet you are too. But, we have found that the DNA of our company culture is the driving force of all our strategy. What is that culture and what does it mean for our customers and colleagues that count on us for dependable dealings?

The team at Clark Machinery Sales has one common thread among each member: relentless desire to improve. If your company has that same emphasis you know how transformative that can be.

I grew up thinking I didn't need goals, and that good things would come my way if I was just nice enough. Moral living was the goal, and my church life provided the framework for that. But goals? That was just one more thing to work on, one more chance at disappointment. What if we set goals and didn’t hit them… then what?

Enter Dan Hoch with Peak Performance, Coaching and Consulting. I liked his golf game but didn’t think we needed anyone to meddle in our business affairs. How wrong I was. Eventually I realized our growing team of machine dealers required more focus, more structure. Something to shoot for and a means to get there. We brought him on as a coach and much has changed since that time. More than that – business became fun.

Dan introduced several healthy ingredients into our already positive culture. We were not meeting monthly, let alone implementing real HR procedures. Being a small company much is overlooked because of the apparent ease of immediate communication. But we soon found the joy in setting specific time aside each month to celebrate personal and professional victories in our monthly meetings, and moving on to revisit annual and monthly goals. S.W.O.T. exercises became commonplace. We discovered our team had a hunger to periodically study the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats in various transactions and company behaviors.

Each team member now sets goals for the year, shares those goals with the team, and the team works to help each member achieve them. Nice to have cheerleaders as your colleagues. And those goals often flow from the corporate goals that the team establishes in the annual January Strategic Planning Meeting (our SPM).

Our first SPM was an entire weekend where we pulled apart the company: every procedure, every thought, every tradition. Like tearing apart the motor of the lawn mower and rebuilding it valve and gasket, we started a tradition of treating our company like a start-up company each and every year. Nothing is sacred except the way we perceive each deal and treat each participant in the deal.

This constant pursuit of improvement has become an all encompassing attitude at Clark Machinery Sales and has shaped our Mission statement – “We partner with our customers to provide solutions that improve their lives.” From this internal drive our fantastic team strives to grow personally, professionally, and ultimately constructed the tenants of our Vision Statement. And it clarifies and drives our Process.

Call us sometime if you’d ever like to talk about The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People or The Go-Giver. Talk to anyone on the team – they’ll each jump in. These two books were our first “Book Club” reads and they also shaped our culture.

So how does all this affect our ability to sell a machine? It doesn’t, but it has revolutionized our approach to each customer, each transaction, and each detail. Our culture of constant improvement allows us to take responsibility, remove snags in the process, and admit when we are wrong. It also leads us to vendors, partners and customers that are like-minded. It just makes life easier and better.

You can work with our competitors, and many will do a great job for you. (Full disclosure – we do not have the corner on excellence.) I’m just proud of my team and have seen how our culture at Clark Machinery Sales has affected each of our team members, our brand, our process and our customers.

Tell us the best thing YOU like about your culture. I’m sure you’ve seen the ripple effects at your place of work, too. Let’s both keep striving to be the best we can be and leave our mark on this world in a positive way.