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customer who wanted services that Four Seasons doesn't
offer. Instead of turning them away without a solution,
employees recommended another company - a competitor
- who could help. He says that in this way, the company was
able to stay true to their core values, specifically integrity
and developing partnerships, while ultimately serving the
Sofillas notes that employees at ECORE feel cared for
and supported by leadership, and this inspires them to
consistently go the extra mile for their clients. They have a
good experience at work, and that experience is shared with
their clients.

At Four Seasons Family of Companies, Nelson Longenecker,
Vice President, Business Innovation, notes that the
development of the company's culture was very intentional.
It all started with shaping a mission and core values to reflect
the beliefs and methods of doing business that leadership
desired for the company. To accomplish this, a leadership
group was tasked with developing the mission and core
values. During the process, the group talked with customers
and suppliers, requesting their feedback on interactions with
Four Seasons employees. After compiling their replies, the
group chose the company's core values based on the best
qualities observed by clients and suppliers. As Longenecker
states, these were the behaviors that already defined the
company, and what they were already living on a daily
basis. Setting these as core values reinforced behaviors and
interactions that were favorable for the people the company
Garnet Sofillas, PR and Communications Manager of
ECORE, says the key to their thriving culture is that the
company is family-owned. She stresses that treating each
employee like a member of the family encourages an open
environment where everyone, at any level, is encouraged to
have a dialogue with leadership. In addition, the company
is proactive in supporting the causes that are important
to their employees. This type of care and support fosters
meaningful connections and a deeper understanding of
fellow coworkers.
From these examples, it is clear that at its core, culture starts
from within. It is defined by the actions, beliefs and morals of
a company's employees, and the way each person interacts
with those outside of the company. Shaping culture begins
with recognizing and reinforcing the best elements of your
But, why is intentionally creating and enforcing culture so
important? How can your business benefit from evaluating
and developing a culture with intention?
In reply to this question, Longenecker tells a story about a

28 | LANCASTERTHRIVING! | Summer/Fall2017

Starting with an intentional development of a mission
and core values to live by is a single step along the
reinforcement of culture. When you have designed and
developed a culture that is true to the way you want to do
business, how can you maintain it?
Craig Kauffman, Regional Vice President at BB&T Bank,
explains that "the challenge is to institutionalize culture over
time, and develop an environment where the associates,

and ultimately clients, embrace these qualities to the point
where they become the defining attribute of the business."
He stresses the importance of keeping your mission, vision
and values top of mind for all employees, and ensuring that
decision-making at all levels is consistent with your values.
Kauffman says that while "senior leadership is ultimately
responsible for accelerating the impact of the culture,
employees are responsible for stewarding values and
making them a reality in the lives of clients, associates
and communities."
But getting to a point where culture is ingrained in the fabric
of your daily business interactions can seem daunting. In
truth, it will take time. Culture can't be created overnight. It is
crafted through the actions and decision-making processes

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