MSMP 68: Jocelyn Kopac on Company Culture

One of the ironies of discussing company culture is the fact that so often some of my coaching clients who are trying to grow as entrepreneurs describe their company’s culture as what they would like it to be, not as it actually is at the moment.  Culture is the beating heart of any organization and when that’s muddled or off-track, everything suffers.

My guest for this episode Mads Singers Management Podcast is someone who knows that in her core.  Jocelyn Kopac, like me, started her first business in her childhood.  I sold strawberries; she sold farm fresh eggs to city-dwellers from Chicago who were enjoying the countryside.  Jocelyn is a serial entrepreneur and business strategist who works specifically in the DEI field: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion.  In this vein she helps entrepreneurs build and develop an inclusive company culture as well as have crucial conversations with those members of the team who may not understand the importance of DEI.   
Jocelyn is passionate about DEI and helped me understand some things: 
 
  • Diversity is not just about skin color or race but can refer to people being in the military or not, being married or single, or having kids or not having guardianship of anyone
  • Equity is about giving each other the tools to make sure we have equal opportunities to grow and mature as people and team members
  • Inclusion is understanding that differences between us exist, nevertheless, we can and should introduce processes that allow us to cooperate and win together despite those differences (a smart tool I use in this process is DISC)
 
You can guess that this naturally led to a discussion of company culture, and I lamented the fact that so often people talk about the culture they want to have instead of analyzing the challenges with the culture they actually have.  Jocelyn shared the story of a recent hire who lasted precisely one day (Jocelyn did note that she hired against her gut feeling, so she takes some of the blame) because the company culture “spit her (the new employee) out.”  It simply wasn’t a good fit.

Part of their culture is making sure there’s no micromanagement going on and that everyone is bringing their “A” game every day.  She also enjoys sharing the goals and perspectives of different departments of the company with everyone so that they can see the bigger picture, make better suggestions, and ultimately, better decisions.  I couldn’t agree with that perspective more, and is definitely part and parcel of why I prefer to hire from within my organization.
Placeholder Image
Key Learning Points:
1. Jocelyn talks about the first business she ever started...at the age of 7! - 2:47
2. Jocelyn shares the 32-hour workweek she has in place for her team of creatives - 11:36
3. Mads chimes in to share his agreement about outcome-based work instead of time-based work - 15:02
4. Jocelyn talks about how and why she tracks the time of her team - 17:00
5. Jocelyn explains her three strikes rule - 21:45
6. Mads talks about how important it is for culture to be “what actually exists” as opposed to “what people want to have” - 24:25
7. Mads shares the importance of communicating with people in the way that they will understand best - 29:20
8. Mads warns about the bottlenecks that entrepreneurs can create - 34:22
9. Mads shares a management lesson he learned the hard way - 39:45
10. Jocelyn talks about cultivating her team across the different departments of the company - 43:58
11. Mads notes why he prefers to hire internally - 48:45
 
Resources Mentioned: 
Connect with Jocelyn Kopac