If entrepreneurs and CEOs had a nickel for every piece of advice given on how to build a better culture, they would have at least enough spare change to buy several bagels and thoroughly destroy the point of a bagel by slicing it as though it were a loaf of bread--just like we (allegedly) do here in St. Louis.

(Side note: If the threshold for outrage has been lowered to the way a bagel is sliced, the Era of Social Media will be even rougher than we thought.)

That said, here are few more nickels on building a better culture:

1. Stop treating the ongoing wave of new Millennial and Gen Z employees as though it were an invasion.

Every year, more people are born. Several studies show it just keeps happening--even if more than a few people rolling off the assembly line are undoubtedly defective.

And every year, some of the people born roughly 16-22 years ago join the labor pool.

Like births, it just keeps happening.

Young workers and new generations are not a necessary evil. They are the inevitable product of the constant march of time. Embrace, respect, and integrate younger employees--and save the sniping about how much better your generation was for the pinochle games we'll all one day play at the retirement home.

2. Look for talent with unconventional backgrounds.

There are two ways to learn to think out of the box.

The first is to gain out-of-the-box experience by occasionally pursuing paths others aren't willing to take. The second is to learn the term "out of the box" from the MBA program you're still paying off.

Too often companies dismiss talent with unconventional backgrounds.

That is a mistake.

"Some of our most successful graduates come with prior professional backgrounds that have nothing to do with programming or information technology," said Ola Ayeni, founder of Claim Academy. "However, unconventional experience often leads to more innovative employees. Don't toss a resume in the trash just because it looks different than every other resume you receive. That's often a reason to hire--rather than reject--an applicant."

3. Do not tolerate jerks--no matter how talented they are.

Steve Jobs was not successful because he was petty and mean. Instead, Jobs was successful in spite of his many, many personal flaws. As hard as it is to imagine, Jobs' potential was limited by his personality. Yes, in business, Jobs accomplished more than you and I likely ever will--but he could have done so much more.

Imagine what he would have achieved if he hadn't spent so many years exiled from the company he founded.

Now, imagine what your company could achieve if it traded talented and awful team members for talented and kind team members.

4. Think of your customers, clients, and users as actual human beings--rather than customers, clients, and users.

Businesses that think of customers as widgets with wallets will almost always have awful cultures.


Because they will inevitably think of their employees and other stakeholders like widgets with wallets, too.

Need an example of a company that clearly thinks of users and customers as something less than human? Cast your eye toward Facebook and its careless approach to user privacy, including a recent data breach that affected more than 50 million users.

"We call it the New Golden Rule of Business," said Dr. Ross Federgreen, founder and CEO of CSR Privacy Solutions, a global data and privacy-protection consultancy. "Every company from Facebook to your local insurance agent needs to treat customer data as though it were their own. The law requires it, but more important, customers expect to be treated like human beings, rather than credit card numbers."

There it is: Embrace the wave of younger employees, look for talent in unconventional places, stop tolerating jerks, and treat your customers like humans.

It's simple advice, really.

And if you follow it, your organization will gain a lot more than just a few nickels.