Utilizing Cultura and 5 Values for Small Business Success
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Make it about making a difference not making a dollar

There are many things that business leaders look to, to help them grow their business or get brand loyalty. Sometimes they think it is hiring that hot shot from the Ivy League school, other times they try the new systems overhaul and when they are really desperate they call in the calvary of consultants.

However, I believe there are things that they may be overlooking that are much simpler and cost effective to implement and it’s right under their noses.

What is it?

It’s taking a lesson from Latino cultura which has shown distinguishing values that could benefit business owners regardless of who their target market is.

As an educational leader working for a Latin American university, I’ve learned that business is not “business as usual” in the American way.  In the U.S. it is all about getting the most done in the fastest amount of time without regard for relationship building, “we have clients to visit,  a product to push or an idea to market!”

However, the Latin American way is based more on what is known as Personalismo which boils own to getting to know you and making you feel comfortable before getting down to business.

It shouldn’t be a surprise though that Latinos are being looked at for business models since more companies are realizing that there are just too many Latinos in the U.S. to ignore.  Research has even been done to validate the way Latinos contribute to organizational culture and I believe some of these values can be integrated into our current businesses and organizational practices.

It’s especially important to ponder if you factor in the fact that most Americans hate their jobs and it’s usually because they don’t feel connected to their co-workers. Workers that hate their jobs eventually look elsewhere, turnover costs businesses money.  You should care about that!

Five values we need to explore are:

1. When you are here you’re family.

They value relationships more than your meeting time or your agenda. They seek to get to know their co-workers and their families. They like to celebrate milestones and gather for that yearly company picnic where they can be recognized for all that they do for the company. Do your employees feel like they are family?

2. Family make better workers.

Latinos believe more in the personal connection than the credentials on paper. Trust, loyalty and past service is what they value most and want the company they work for to trust their judgment when they refer someone to a position. After all, they want the addition to fit in to the “family” and wouldn’t recommend someone that they feel couldn’t do the job because it is their reputation on the line.  Do you have a referral program for employees where they are rewarded for adding to the corporate family?

3. Acknowledge the family.

Most Latinos value family (and God) above all else. They work because it allows them to do more things for “the family.” They stay later than usual because it provides the overtime funds to go on that cruise with “the family”. They want their employers to care about their families and understand that family comes first. Businesses that are flexible with work at home options, flex time and generous paid vacations will find that employees are willing to work for less money as long as they have more time for the ….family!

4. Be a leader not an Ogre.

Latinos respond better to leaders that have vision and inspiration, who show they care versus talk endlessly about how much they care with no real signs showing it. In actuality, all employees rather work for someone who inspires loyalty, gives value to their voice and celebrates their contributions. As the quip aptly states, “your vibe attracts your tribe.”

5. Make it about making a difference not making a dollar.

Latinos want to be about something bigger than them. Money isn’t the most important thing to them, making a difference is. They want a sense of purpose but when you come to think of it, most employees want to wake up in the morning with a sense that what they do matters. Communicate how what your business does everyday is making this world a better place. Be specific. Watch people rally around that cause.

If businesses begin to practice some of Latino cultural values in the work place, there will be less turn over, more company spirit, less absenteeism and more productivity. Who knows, it may create a stampede of people clamoring for a chance to be part of the “family”.  Que cultura rica!

Related articles: 

Dr. Les “Coach” Fernandez

The Culture of Positive Thinking at the Workplace

What is Your Company’s Reason? 

Many Leadership Styles, What’s Yours?


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