As you become more familiar with U.S. Lawns, you begin to see how important culture is to us. We intentionally foster a positive and growth minded culture, one that sets our franchisees up for success and far exceeds customer expectations. The Culture Index plays a big part in how we do that. All employees take this personality assessment as part of their interviewing process as well as all prospective franchisees as part of their discovery process.
What is the Culture Index?
First, what it is not: a test. There is not pass or fail, no right or wrong answers. Rather the Culture Index is a tool U.S. Lawns uses to help us better understand ourselves and others, including our franchisees. The goal of the survey is about increasing self-awareness, understanding what drives individual behavior, in turn helping U.S. Lawns optimize the support we can provide new franchises through radical personalization.
“When we originally started using the Culture Index, we thought it would be a crystal ball that helped us identify who would be most successful with our brand. In reality, we discovered just about any personality type can be successful with the correct systems, support and motivation,” says U.S. Lawns vice president Dave Wells, “Each personality type looks for something different when it comes to support, this helps us understand how we can provide that.”
While there are a few personality traits that can be challenging when it comes to success with our business model, by increasing self-awareness we can increase the probability that the individual will overcome those challenges. By providing personal insight into what an individual’s management style is like, one is better positioned to personally determine steps towards modification.
“It comes down to helping people become more aware of their own personality traits and understanding how to build a team around them that supplements their strengths and balances out their weaknesses,” says Wells.
How is the survey composed?
The Culture Index measures seven work related traits against the main quadrants of personality using a free choice adjective checklist methodology. Those personality quadrants are:
- Autonomy: Those high in autonomy are independent workers who tend to be more future thinking and proactive, looking more at the big picture. They do well with problem solving and projects and are less risk adverse. Whereas someone lower on the autonomy scale prefer to have projects broken down into tasks and work well as a team. They are more diplomatic and prefer to avoid risk and conflict.
- Social-ability: Higher social-ability individuals are energized by people. Empathetic and natural communicators, they tend to make decisions via group consensus. Someone lower on the social-ability scale would be more comfortable working alone. They prefer facts over feelings and their thought process tends to be more quantitative than qualitative.
- Patience: Someone high in patience has laser focus and are usually known to others as punctual and consistent. They are most comfortable in a consistent and predictable environment. They work very methodically and prefer to finish one task at a time. By contrast some one who is lower in the patience construct prefers variety. Consistency bores them and they prefer to perform multiple tasks at a time. They also have an innate sense of urgency and work well under pressure.
- Conformity: High conformity means an individual focuses on specifics and places a high value on accuracy and correctness. Structure and rules are important to them and tend to strictly adhere to them. They do not do well with criticism. Those lower on the conformity scale dislike rules and tend to think more generally and conceptually. By contrast they are unafraid of criticism and are more likely to behave outside the expected norms, making them more “out-of-the-box” thinkers.
How these traits manifest individually and in concert tell us a lot about an individual and their decision-making processes. When we look at the results of an individual’s survey the following are some of the things we are looking at:
- Are they a person who will more naturally steer themselves toward the sales or operational aspects of the business?
- Are they a person who leads from the front of the team or a servant leader who prefers to lead by consensus?
- Are they someone who prefers to follow a system or someone who prefers to blaze their own trail?
The answers to questions such as the above help us find ways to radically personalize the support we provide. We are able to better leverage a franchisee’s strengths, while at the same identifying and better supporting gap areas. We have found the Culture Index to be a very important tool in our success over the years as it allows us to understand ourselves and our franchisees in ways that allow us to be more effective in how we interact with each other and how we provide support to maximize success. We look forward to learning where you land on the Culture Index and how we can help you build a business that is sustainable and offers opportunities for unlimited growth potential. Learn more here.