Business Culture for Jim Mueller and Associates

Want to Get the Best from Your Team? Focus on Culture.

This is the second installment in a two-part series. Click here to read the previous post, “Want to Get the Best from Your Team? Start with a Personal Audit.”

Change starts with ourselves

As discussed in my last blog, when we undertake personal development work, our team members notice. They see our commitment and are willing to follow that lead. And it’s important to work on the right things—which include beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that are consistent with our team culture.

For instance, the client I referenced in my last blog is working in a high-producing, get-it-done organizational culture. Her current style is more suited for an academic situation, but that’s not where she works. So, when pressed for a solution to the problem, her habit of thought is to sort it out, consider the options, and describe how it might be done.

But, this approach doesn’t fit the culture. So, she experiences impatience and occasional hostility from the team when she thinks she’s being helpful. In our most recent conversation, we were able to bring clarity to the gap between her approach and the approach required by her company’s culture. It’s not that she is wrong. Rather, she needs to change her approach to be an effective leader in her company.

Answer the values question

What’s the big deal with values?  Whether spoken or unspoken, conscious, or unconscious, underlying values are always present–and seen through the behaviors of team members. Values determine culture. So, if you identify the values that you want, define them, and consistently pay attention to them, you can create and sustain the culture that is right for your organization. The best way to broach a desired change is to engage the team in an honest discussion. What do we want to live by? How do we want to be treated?  What values create a cohesive, highly productive team within the context of the work we do?

Once you answer these foundational questions, making decisions rooted in these values is easier because the group is working from a shared understanding of what’s important. By consistently and explicitly bringing attention to your values, every team member has the opportunity to adjust their style to be productively engaged.

Develop a team charter

Creating a team charter is one of the best ways to lock in your values and the culture you desire. Once a team has affirmed its values, we help them create a pact of sorts, a guiding document that describes what the team stands for, how the team members will treat one another, and how members will align with the team’s values and desired culture. 

High-performing teams take one more step. For nearly three decades, while an executive and then as a consultant, I have helped organizations employ the Axiometrics version of the Hartman Value Profile to transform their teams. The tool is simple to use, yet it provides remarkably insightful and accurate results about each person’s thinking style and approach to decision-making—incredibly powerful intel when bringing a team together for a larger purpose or leading change. It reveals the gaps between expressed values and the team’s actual value profile. By using this tool, you can close the gap between good intention and actual behavior.

If you’d like to have a brief chat about how to apply the Hartman Value Profile in your own workplace for your personal growth or team cohesion, let me know. I’m happy to provide a free consultation regarding how we can help you find effective solutions. Feel free to check out some of my clients’ success stories and how they use the HVP approach to achieve amazing growth. You can also discover more about the Axiometrics version of the Hartman Value Profile by visiting my website

AUTHOR - James Mueller

Jim Mueller is president of James Mueller & Associates LLC (JMA), a national consulting firm that provides services in the areas of organizational development, governance, and philanthropy. Follow Jim on LinkedIn.