Corporate Culture Change:for Good or Bad?

March 9, 2015

Your company has a culture, whether you know it or not. That culture influences how your employees behave, interact and perform. Ultimately, it affects your operations and how others perceive you.

Corporate culture is a blend of the values, beliefs, taboos, symbols and rituals all companies develop over time. Usually it stems from the personalities of the founders of the firm, but eventually takes on a life of its own. Our culture is something that we’ve been dealing with up close and personal as we’ve grown and reached our 50th anniversary.

For many years, Sea-Land Chemical operated like a traditional company. Its “personality” was derived from the company’s founder and a small group of employees. We were somewhat informal and very entrepreneurial. As we grew, and to facilitate a transition in ownership, we made a strategic decision to create an employee-owned company with a vested Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). This increased our entrepreneurial spirit by offering real financial incentives to employees and by making them owners of the company’s success.

In recent years, we added European and Canadian subsidiaries and significantly increased our staff. We appointed individuals with extensive backgrounds in larger organizations to our Board of Directors to assist with the issues we now face. As we have grown, we have provided coaching and skills training to enhance our management team, thus supporting their efforts in leading the company. We also have instilled a greater emphasis on measuring success and a more formal reporting structure at upper management levels and to the board.

Whether it’s an employee, customer or business partner, our culture is one that cares about each individual. We feel our entrepreneurial spirit of getting things done for others using any way possible while adhering to regulatory, procedural and legal parameters is important. We strive for everyone in our organization to be a success, and feel that this ultimately reflects outwardly on how we deal with others that come in contact with us.

So, the question for me is how will this change affect our corporate culture? How do we add structure to help our culture in positive ways? How do we embody an entrepreneurial spirit without sacrificing our security? How do we proceed with adjustments that will be beneficial to our new employees, while encouraging them to be true contributors to the company’s success?

We are currently working to put our corporate narrative into words so as to better share our culture, internally and externally, as we move forward as an organization.

If you’ve ever struggled with questions like those above, please let me know. Email me at

All the Best,


Joe Clayton

Sea-Land Chemical Company