I am blessed to be able to see deep inside organizations and the people that have the responsibility to lead those businesses. Sometimes I see amazing cultures that are filled with incredibly engaged team members and equally engaged customers. Sometimes I see the opposite. What is the difference?
In organizations that I see that are in ‘Crisis Mode’ (and sometimes, every day is crisis mode), leaders are seemingly running around every day like their hair is on fire. Everything seems to be an emergency. Ranging from critical staff quitting, to quotes not getting done on time, or partners and vendors not showing up, unhappy customers, invoices that are wrong, accounts receivables that are long overdue and sometimes, all of it at once.
Sure, Organization Design experts might find that the leaders and the business do not have structure and processes that are replicable, and employees do not have clarity around direction, roles and responsibilities, expectations and success measures. And sometimes that is true. In other words, ‘Systems’ that takes the guess work out operations. However, I have seen amazing cultures, engaged customers, industry high profitability and high growth from organizations that have ‘Systems’ issues as well.
Amazing cultures and the rockstar performance of their businesses all have crystal clear around their ‘Purpose’. Everyone in the business knows what the organization’s ‘Why’ or purpose is. They know why customer buy from them versus the competition. They use the company’s purpose or ‘Why’ to aid in making decisions from everything to the partners and vendors they work with to product or service roadmaps. Every leader and every department within the business works towards a single purpose versus working for their own department in a silo that does not care about anyone else in the business.
Vancouver (Canada) based Great Little Box Company was recognized in 2017 for having the best culture. OK folks, they make cardboard boxes. They don’t build rockets or develop life saving apps. They make boxes. But here’s the thing, I have been in the offices of the Great Little Box Company over 50 times and here is what I saw each and every time I was there:
When I see the other cultures with their leaders running around with the daily fire burning, there is almost never any focus on purpose. When I am in those businesses, I see:
What kind of culture do you want to have…
Robert Murray is a Vancouver, BC based Business Strategy Consultant, #1 Best Selling Author, International Keynote Speaker, and TEC Top Speaker of the Year for 2018. For further advice, insight and inspiration on how to unlock your inner leader, connect with Robert on LinkedIn.
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