Cultural Erosion - Quartet Service

Cultural Erosion

It’s early December again and again I know what will likely happen. I’ll work way too hard and enjoy the season way too little. Sometime between Christmas and New Year’s I’ll promise myself that next year I’ll slow down earlier and enjoy the season more. On the other hand, I’m blessed to be so busy right now and should take advantage of it while I can. I bet many of you are in the same position and have the same struggles.


In a similar way, Quartet is struggling a little to maintain its’ culture in the face of rapid growth. Growing responsibly and maintaining our culture is important. Let me explain, and try not to roll your eyes at the corny bits.


There are four core elements of our culture; Pride, Candor, Fun and Teamwork. Professional and personal pride is a common denominator of all long term Quartet employees. We’re a relatively small company that provides excellent service. We want to make sure our environment is one we can be proud of and one that we respect. Candor is related to pride, but is worth mentioning alone. We say what we think, admit what we don’t know. This isn’t just ethical high ground. It is smart business. Our retainers compel us to act in the best interests of our clients and candor is key.


Fun is an important part of our job because it is very difficult to provide good service if you’re grumpy. Flex time is big. So are parties. Our staff can do a better job when they are happy. So having fun at work is critical.


Teamwork is a bit of a cliche nowadays, but we don’t know a better way to say it. No one can cover our responsibilities, let alone for efficiency. When we have a services breakdown, we can almost always trace it back to a teamwork failure.


Just as flexible retainer contracts align Quartet’s interests with those of our clients, our internal compensation is aligned with our culture. Employee compensation is based on salary, increased retainer revenues, profit sharing and share ownership. Our staff is motivated to build the long-term strength of Quartet and we appreciate what an important part culture plays in that. Our culture is attracting good staff, which is attracting new clients. We’re in the midst of what academics call a virtuous circle that all starts and ends with culture. We’re not immune to cultural erosion, but our compensation systems and patience protect against it.


All the best over the holiday season.


Robert Bracey

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