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A culture of success: Lessons from an Inner City 100 company

This post originally appeared on the Staples Business Advantage Blog

The most-used words to describe company culture in a recent Staples poll

Let’s start with a quick exercise: in one word, describe your company’s culture. For some, that’s an easy exercise. For others, not so easy. After all, while many companies are investing in and building a company culture that matches their offerings, mission and value, there are still companies who haven’t realized the value of culture. While a cohesive company culture can drive employee loyalty and engagement, it can do more than that: it can actually drive company success.

Each year, we look forward to partnering with the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) to recognize the fastest-growing businesses in urban areas around the country with the Inner City 100 award. In 2016, Caduceus Healthcare of Atlanta topped the Inner City 100 list with a 3554% 5-year growth rate, and provided the perfect example of how culture can drive success. On February 8, in collaboration with ICIC, we put Caduceus CEO, Carlos Lopez, in a room with other business leaders in Atlanta to discuss his company’s culture and what it meant for both him and his team. Here are just a few of the tips we learned from Caduceus’ culture of success.

Identify your culture. When asked to identify his company’s culture, Carlos dug deep into his background as a Marine, citing the Corps’ motto: Semper Fi, or “Always faithful.” “That’s what our organization’s about,” said Carlos. “Being faithful to my entire team.”

What does this mean for your business? Purposefully cultivating a culture that is meaningful and true to the leadership and direction of the company makes for a more organic experience and better cultural cohesion.

CEO of Caduceus, Carlos Lopez, talks with WSB-TV’s Jovita Moore

Hire for your culture. Identifying your culture’s not enough. As Staples Business Advantage Regional Vice President Scott Barron said in his opening remarks at the Paving the Way for Growth event, “we’re only as good as the folks that get it done for us,” and it’s clear Caduceus owes a lot of its success to its people. “For me, it’s important that whoever we put on our team fits our culture,” said Carlos. “You could have some very, very smart people but if they don’t fit the culture then they can bring an organization down.”

What does this mean for your business? Culture goes beyond how your office looks, what your executives say, or the mission on your website. Deep down, culture is about employees, and should be considered throughout the hiring process as well as during management and retention efforts.

Maintain your culture. It’s the natural progression of the process. You have the culture and you have the people to support it—but it takes ongoing commitment and effort to make it work. “Loyalty is not something you do once a month. You have to show it every day,” said Carlos of how he treats his employees and how they treat one another. Routines rooted in the tight-knit environment at Caduceus help him to be visible to his employees and to demonstrate his fidelity and loyalty to them.

What does this mean for your business? Establish ways to consistently and constantly reinforce your company’s culture. Your culture isn’t a ping-pong table in the breakroom; it’s how people feel about and engage with the company and one another.

Interested in learning more about Caduceus, along with ICIC’s mission to advance the success and growth of businesses across our country? Know a business that would be perfect for the Inner City 100 Award? Here are a few links to check out:


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