New Startups Have Nothing on This 127-Year-Old Family-Owned Business

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Article | Accountability Insights

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Read the original article published on Inc. Magazine: New Startups Have Nothing on This 127-Year-Old Family-Owned Business

Curtis Lumber Co. is one of the 3% of family-owned businesses that have made it past the fourth generation. In fact, they’ve made it even farther: surviving for 127 years and recently employing its sixth generation. It established its lumber and building material business in 1890. That means it has survived major historical events from The Great Depression to The Great Recession and everything in between.

So how does this family-owned business survive–even thrive?

It all comes down to three things.

1. Workplace Culture Is a Priority

It’s not unusual to walk into a Curtis Lumber retail location and speak with an employee who has worked for the company for 25 or 40 years. Retaining employees this long is a dream for businesses owners!

What makes Curtis Lumber so successful is the sheer level of buy-in that they’ve received from some of their most senior employees. How? The company keeps employees engaged by investing in its culture and creating positive employee experiences. While some business owners invest all their time and resources in action plans and growth initiatives, the company takes culture initiatives seriously.

The leaders take culture even more seriously.

When they brought in Partners In Leadership’s accountability training, the leaders adopted and emulated the principles to demonstrate to employees just how dedicated they were to creating a positive culture where employees felt empowered and valued.

2. Transparency Builds Trust

Transparency surrounding key metrics is paramount to Curtis Lumber’s success. They publish a “Key Result Report” on the company’s intranet, and all employees can access it to monitor their contribution to the company’s top three desired outcomes: sales, profitability, and being an “employer of choice.”

Managers are also armed with the language and knowledge to discuss those metrics with their direct reports. That way, employees can align what they’re seeing from a data perspective with what they’re actually doing on a day-to-day basis, giving them a firm sense of what actions and approaches create results.

3. Allow Teams to Foster Accountability for Themselves

Curtis Lumber gives employees a voice in how to shape their own culture of accountability. The company firmly believes that this individualist approach advances rather than hinders the collective goals of the organization. This flexibility has resulted in happy, empowered employees who have the tools to make the company thrive.

Tune in to Breaking Silos – Building Trust with Curtis Lumber to discover more secrets to starting and running a successful business that beats the odds.

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