Edwards decided that her first strategy was to partner with The Pacific Institute®. And, to ensure that there were measurable benchmarks as they embarked upon their culture journey, Edwards used the Organizational Cultural Inventory (OCI®) survey with her staff to assess the initial culture. The results solidified her initial perception that the culture was defensive, rigid, and fear-based.
Since she had previously experienced TPI’s curriculum, Edwards introduced Investment In Excellence® to her department. The program was required for all managers, and voluntary for the rest of the organization. Edwards started the intense culture work first with her executive team and spent two years working with them to align and unite their group. A TPI senior consultant was brought in to facilitate the process of alignment, and they laboriously crafted the department’s mission, vision, and values. As a part of those executive discussions, it was also uncovered that there was an element of fear among the members, left over from past circumstances, and, after reflection and conversation, those limiting beliefs began to be addressed.
Two years later, in 2017, Edwards conducted another OCI® survey to measure their progress. She was thrilled to discover that the results had improved since the last survey.
As a result of the second survey, a culture team was created, which included members from multiple levels of the organization. The executive team and the culture team then went out to every location in the organization and presented the findings of the culture survey. Then, the team created what they called “Culture Cafes” - where the culture team visited every location and set up a café-type environment, with coffee, treats and individual tables. Every single staff member was invited, and the goal was to get input from everyone at all levels of the organization on how to address the findings of the most recent survey.
The response was tremendous! It took several months, but the team received over 6,000 suggestions. There was so much data that they needed to hire researchers to sort and compile all the information. As a result of the department’s monumental work, a new strategic plan was born, with the number one priority of creating a supportive work environment.
Edwards is currently implementing the new plan throughout the entire organization. As she reflects on their work, she states, “Staff are excited. I have received tons of emails from staff after they participated in a Culture Café saying, “We actually feel like you are listening to us and really want our input.” That was one of the criticisms - that it’s a top down organization. Nobody asks us what we think. We have good ideas, and we’re the ones doing the work. So, now we are listening to them and asking them to come up with the plan on how to implement it.” In addition, each location has identified a culture ambassador to maintain the focus on culture. These ambassadors are key to the rollout of the organization’s new strategy.
Energetic Employees, Satisfied Customers and More Money. As Mark Christopher Chevrolet developed a functioning internal culture, their bottom line - stagnant under their old culture - began to rise.
Mark Christopher Chevrolet became one of the 50 largest dealerships in the United States, in addition to 5th best-selling Chevrolet dealer. The 120% sales increase at their main dealership is dwarfed by a 1200% sales increase, from 19 sales a month to 250, at a dealership they bought soon after starting their work with The Pacific Institute.
The culture shift is also reflected in “living a better life at home,” Leggio said about the greater effects of The Pacific Institute training has had on his employees. “Seeing that your employees are buying their boats and new homes, we’re proud of the fact that through this culture change, the employees are legitimately happy.”
Leggio, who now works with his employees to shape how the organization is run, is extending the new Mark Christopher Chevrolet culture out to the surrounding community. In 2001, Mark Christopher Chevrolet was recognized as the National Philanthropy “Corporation of the Year.”
He is also finding that even with company expansion, “The Pacific Institute lessons will last as we live it, walk it and talk it. If you truly apply the principles with The Pacific Institute’s tools and support, it takes you to heights that you never thought possible."