I Am Committed To Being GREAT

winning cultures Dec 16, 2021

For CCK Strategies, one of the secrets to their Winning Culture is asking for employees to commit to being GREAT.

CCK’s G.R.E.A.T. building blocks clearly articulate what is expected of its employees, something employees everywhere need to know. Here’s how the company defines what GREAT looks like:

            Goal-oriented: focusing on future value, intentional

            Results-driven: innovative, persistent, and passionate

            Encourager of others: helping others pursue their dreams

            Accountable with integrity: doing what you say, delivering what you promise

            Thoughtful and fair: valuing the whole person

As you learn more about CCK, you’ll find evidence for their Winning Culture and how they embrace their commitment to being GREAT. They have been recognized for many awards in the two decades since their founding in 1997. Recent awards include:    

2017 & 2018 Best Accounting Firms To Work For, Accounting Today

2017 U.S. Small Business Administration Exporter of the Year for State of Oklahoma & Region VI

2016 Governor’s Award for Excellence in Exporting & Export Champion Award Recipient

2016 President’s “E” Award for Exporting Services

2015 Export Achievement Certificate & Export Champion Award Recipient

CCK’s founders wanted to build “a new type of CPA firm;” one that looks for “unique lines of business while maintaining the highest quality in values and client service”. They focus on “international cultures, relationships, and business opportunities while making a difference for their state.”

More than being GREAT, at the heart of CCK’s culture is what Partner Kayce Nelson says “We care about each other.” With employee engagement holding at 90%, clearly, CCK understands that caring comes first.

90% engagement is truly remarkable! That’s over two and a half times the U.S. average of 34% engaged workers, according to Gallup’s 2016 poll.  

Engagement this high reflects successful management practices that help employees do what they do best every day, by providing the best job fit and the best opportunities to use and apply their talents. It reflects a culture of people aligned around purpose and a culture where people feel appreciated and recognized for their talents and for the work they do. It reflects a culture of belonging where people know each other and their families and have fun together.

One of the ways CCK shows it cares about employees is by including Care Coordinator, Cindy Mills, on staff. Ms. Mills ensures that employees’ personal needs are met, such as receiving encouraging notes when they are struggling with a family issue, or cards to celebrate an important milestone in their life, among other personal touches.

Another way CCK cares for employees is by providing the CliftonStrengths 34 Assessment to everyone who joins the team, including interns, within three days of their start date. This assessment profiles the unique talents of each individual, explaining how they are wired for success. CliftonStrengths is used to help employees get to know each other faster and better in an environment that is high production oriented. It also helps CCK integrate people faster into their team and into the company.

The assessment is followed up with an instructional conversation with Ms. Mills to better understand their talent profile. Then they join a class with about 10 people to learn how to use and apply their unique talents and grow their strengths. Each supervisor has been trained and coached in how to combine employees’ CliftonStrengths to pursue daily work and special projects. In addition, employees each select a mentor to help them succeed in their job.

CCK began incorporating CliftonStrengths in 2014 when it employed about 50 people. It has progressively expanded its application to include training leaders and coaching managers in how to best form teams based on talents in order to pursue performance excellence. In addition, Ms. Nelson is a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach and the firm’s Champion for CliftonStrengths. In this role, she guides the class instruction, mentoring, and coaching for CCK’s growing staff, now numbering around 100. 

Ms. Nelson stresses that the application of CliftonStrengths works best in a culture that creates an environment where people love coming to work and have meaning and purpose in their work. It takes an investment of time, attention, and hard work to build and maintain this kind of culture. This investment is reaping rewards for CCK such as low employee turnover, high engagement, and numerous awards, in particular, the top 100 2017 & 2018 Best Accounting Firm in the U.S.


Cynthia J Stewart, principal at EverMore Services, is a strengths-based business coach and consultant working with small business owners to create Winning Cultures. Ms. Stewart organizes and leads SoarTulsa to bring together strengths enthusiasts.

CCK Strategies, CCK Strategies is a Tax and Business Consulting firm that combines a broad scope of expertise with personalized service. With a team of more than 125 people serving clients worldwide, CCK provides innovative solutions and creates value at every stage of a business’s life cycle.



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