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Four Takeaways from “Building a Winning Culture: Inspiring Innovation & Driving Growth”

VORR Ron Harvey & Michelle Isabel

Our latest Voice of the Retail Revolution webinar takes a deep dive into company culture and explores its impact on employee engagement and customer loyalty.

“When you think about business success, culture will either help you win or it will sabotage all of your strategies,” says Ron Harvey, cofounder and VP of Global Core Strategies and Consulting. “You can spend a lot of money on strategic planning, but you should invest just as much, if not more, into creating a culture that can see that plan come to life.”


A certified leadership coach, speaker, trainer, and facilitator — Harvey talked to Michelle Isabel, Brookfield Properties VP of Business Development, in the latest installment of our Voice of the Retail Revolution webinar series, “Building a Winning Culture: Inspiring Innovation & Driving Growth.” 


Here are the top four ways to build a winning culture:


1. Value collaboration

According to Harvey, a collective collaborative mindset that embraces open, honest communication is the foundation of a positive workplace culture. “We win together, we lose together, we figure it out together,” he says. “When people work together across all boundaries, so you don’t have silos, retention rates get higher. Relationships accomplish more.” Collaboration also builds trust — the more teams and individuals work together, they more they naturally trust each other. And the greater the trust, the stronger the likelihood of people delivering high-quality work and nurturing relationships that foster innovation.


2. Focus on work-life integration

Work-life balance, based on the idea that professional and personal lives should be separate, has increasingly been replaced with work-life integration, which sees no separation between the two, viewing daily activities collectively to create a sense of harmony. “People want to be able to live their lives, be themselves, take care of their families, go on vacation, and they still do just as great for the company,” Harvey says, noting balance can’t always be compartmentalized into neat blocks of time. “There are times when I’m putting 90% of my time into my business,” he notes. “Then there are times when I’m putting 90% of my time into my vacation. And I want to be able to do that . . . I want to enjoy all my life, versus just a slice of my life.”


3. Commit to diversity and inclusion

More than just policies and programs, diversity and inclusion are cornerstones of a culture that respects, listens, and responds to employees’ unique needs and perspectives. While they are interconnected concepts, they’re not the same thing. According to Harvey, diversity is about representation, while inclusion is about how different perspectives are valued and integrated into a workplace culture. “Diversity itself is making sure you’re not missing someone from the table,” he explains. “It’s more than just race — that’s the place where we get stuck at. And inclusion is allowing people to not just be in the organization to keep a seat warm, but to have an opinion.” Research has shown that a diverse and inclusive workplace leads to higher revenue growth, greater innovation, and higher employee retention. “Diversity and inclusion have to be the main ingredients in the [culture] cake now, not just the frosting,” Harvey adds.


4. Build programs with purpose

Initiatives like Procter and Gamble’s Widen the Screen campaign — which addresses systemic bias and inequality in advertising and media — abd Gap Inc.’s ASCEND program — designed to help minority leaders realize their potential through mentorship — to our own Partner to Empower program, which provides resources for Black- and minority-owned business owners looking to open a retail store at one of our shopping centers, all help companies create a reputation as a place where people want to work, and as a brand that consumers want to buy. According to Harvey, programs with purpose increase brand loyalty. “It’s a great way to tell customers who they are,” he says. “And customers are paying attention.”


Both consumers and employees value companies that have a strong sense of purpose — and that starts with a healthy company culture. “Culture matters at the end of the day," Harvey says. “You can see it and you can even feel it if it’s not winning. Culture is a business imperative. You have to pay attention to it and be intentional about creating it.”


Winning culture image

"Culture will either help you win or it will sabotage all your strategies."

- Ron Harvey, co-founder and VP of Global Core Strategies

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