“You always need to be talking with your people and understanding where they’re at and making sure that the message is going up and down through your leadership team.”
Culture is the sum total of the organisation’s values and when done well develops trust between people to search for that vision. It is the way you look after your customers, recruit new employees and handle difficult ones. Achieving cultural alignment will provide leaders with the confidence to give their team licence to be more creative and innovative in their own way, without fear of being reprimanded.
Bill Clifton has been referred to as “one of the few business gentlemen remaining in the corporate dog-eat-dog world.” He is the co-owner and Group Managing Director of Banlaw and works at the main manufacturing, research and development facility. Banlaw are global leaders in high value liquid asset intelligence. They operate in Australia, Europe, USA and Asia on the innovation of unified fuel management solutions and services across fuel, water, gas and high value chemicals. Banlaw works within the mining, container handling ports, rail and transport industries for companies such as Fortescue Metals Group, Glencore, Anglo American and Barrick Gold.
I first heard Bill talk about the Banlaw culture through an industry event and made contact with him to learn more about creating a culture to be proud of. Bill tells the story that back when he was conducting his due diligence on Banlaw, he had a couple of the young team members come up and say, “Look, should you take on this company? You worry about where it’s going and we’ll make sure we worry about quality and delivering on a customer promise.”
You know you have got a pretty good start when young people are willing to talk to a potential buyer, trying to encourage them to purchase the business. So naturally, he ‘gathered up’ those guys when he became the owner.
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Creating a positive workplace culture was something that Bill deliberately set out to achieve and it began in the old kitchen, in the old factory, with a group of 10 team members. They sat down together and established an authentic list of values which has become the solid day-to-day framework that they, as an organisation, are proud to stand by. These values provided the team at Banlaw with reference points to test decisions against and they continue to steer them towards making accurate assessments.
The values are:
Now, it is one thing to produce a list of words and another to embed them into core values which underline the foundation of your business culture. Making them live and be meaningful within the organisation is what Bill and his business partner Jeff, are completely aligned with.
These values feature at the beginning of every team meeting, ensure individuals ‘walk the talk’, influence company investments, set high benchmarks and have become the driving force behind peer reviews. The company values also impact the team when it comes to holding each other accountable, a discipline Bill has recently prioritised by investing in Mark Purbrick’s exceptional program designed to improve team performance. This commitment to continued learning gives you some insight into Bill’s character and leadership style.
Join us here on the Culture of Things Podcast to learn how Bill Clifton has taken a set of values and turned them into a benchmark and litmus test for most of the company’s decisions. He has proven that living your values, leads to profit.