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Create a culture of respect and trust

Our April issue of Blueprints is full of interesting and timely articles. My favorite is the one dealing with talent development, because it deals with people and how to assist them in growing personally and professionally.

Dealing with people is the key to business, especially the produce industry. Positive relationships with vendors, customers, and work associates help make a business successful. Relationships, in turn, are built on trust and respect. And, completing the circle, it is the culture of a business that sets the tone for how to deal with people.

A business leader knows that respect and trust do not just happen. It requires hard work and starts from the top down. Leaders and managers need to not only talk the talk but walk the walk, exhibiting how and what to do.

Even more so, the leaders of an organization must decide early on what type of culture they want. It should be part of the company’s mission statement and clearly spell out what the business stands for—and needs to be lived, not just talked about.

If the culture is not based on trust and respect, talent development becomes secondary to forming an atmosphere in which individuals are considered to be valued.

Today’s workforce, especially younger associates, value freedom and flexibility. They also want to believe what they do matters and is important. Yet, it has been my experience that respect and trust are valued at all age levels.

This is the place to start when building and enhancing your business. Talent is clearly important, but it is the culture that really matters and sets the tone.

Jim Carr is the President and CEO of Blue Book Services Inc.