QuickTake: Culture as a Competitive Differentiator - Modern Distribution Management

Log In

QuickTake: Culture as a Competitive Differentiator

Consultant Mike Marks talks culture as the critical differentiator in periods of uncertainty, and the shift from command-and-control leadership.
MDM Culture QuickTake (Canva via alphaspirit, GettyImages

The secret to navigating uncertainty in the distribution industry is creating a company culture that enables employees at all levels to recognize and respond to new opportunities and threats quickly. 

If distribution executives are able to keep employees engaged and committed, employees at all levels of the company feel more comfortable speaking truth to power, said Mike Marks of Indian River Consulting Group on an episode of MDM’s QuickTake podcast hosted by CEO Tom Gale.

“If all of the employees know what the top three strategic objectives of the company are … and people can see what’s going on and understand it, they’re going to recognize and see these changes,” Marks said of recognizing opportunities and threats in the face of changes in the industry. “The people closest to the work will always know more than the hierarchy.” 

If a company culture enables an employee to raise a concern or suggestion to the point that leadership takes action, that is what will set a company apart in periods of uncertainty, Marks added.

Transitioning to a Collaborative Employee Culture

Creating a company culture where employees are encouraged and empowered to share ideas starts with transparency, Marks explains. “It’s not ‘Do what I say,’ it’s ‘Here what we’re trying to accomplish.’” 

Mike Marks

For distribution companies that have historically been in a command-and-control management structure — but are looking to cultivate a more collaborative environment — leadership can explore ways to give more autonomy to the employees. 

“It’s not the motivation posters. It’s not the foosball table or any of that other stuff. It’s how people are treated,” Marks said.

Check out the full QuickTake conversation — which dives into how a collaborative employee culture is important to the next generation of the workforce — via the audio player above. Find all of our past MDM Podcast episodes here.

Related Posts

Share this article

About the Author
Recommended Reading
Leave a Reply

Leave a Comment

Sign Up for the MDM Update Newsletter

The MDM update newsletter is your best source for news and trends in the wholesale distribution industry.

Get the MDM Update Newsletter

Wholesale distribution news and trends delivered right to your inbox.

Sign-up for our free newsletter and get:

  • Up-to-date news in a quick-to-read format
  • Free access to webcasts, podcasts and live events
  • Exclusive whitepapers, research and reports
  • And more!


articles left

Want more Premium content from MDM?

Subscribe today and get:

  • New issues twice each month
  • Unlimited access to mdm.com, including 10+ years of archived data
  • Current trends analysis, market data and economic updates
  • Discounts on select store products and events

Subscribe to continue reading

MDM Premium Subscribers get:

  • Unlimited access to MDM.com
  • 1 year digital subscription, with new issues twice a month
  • Trends analysis, market data and quarterly economic updates
  • Deals on select store products and events



You have one free article remaining

Subscribe to MDM Premium to get unlimited access. Your subscription includes:

  • Two new issues a month
  • Access to 10+ years of archived data on mdm.com
  • Quarterly economic updates, trends analysis and market data
  • Store and event discounts

To continue reading, you must be an MDM Premium subscriber.

Join other distribution executives who use MDM Premium to optimize their business. Our insights and analysis help you enter the right new markets, turbocharge your sales and marketing efforts, identify business partners that help you scale, and stay ahead of your competitors.

Register for full access

By providing your email, you agree to receive announcements from us and our partners for our newsletter, events, surveys, and partner resources per MDM Terms & Conditions. You can withdraw consent at any time.

Learn More about Custom Reports

Request a Market Prospector Demo

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.