“Culture” is becoming the catch word for virtually every new business book, training program, or speech. There are people out there who want to help you develop a culture of accountability, service, innovation, celebration, learning, listening, sustainability, trust, recognition, teamwork, engagement, and change. The only culture that matters is the one that helps you and your organization achieve your desired results.
What separates the marketplace heroes in every industry from the has-beens and wanna-bes? It can’t be just products, services, or price. Your competitors don’t hire all geniuses and leave you with the dunces. Their computer systems, compensation, and operational processes are not dramatically better than yours. When they discuss strategy, the words on their flip charts are not significantly more insightful than yours. The difference is an intangible. It is a culture where every person at every level is focused on and committed to delivering results that are critical for success.
Someone recently asked me why I use so many examples from political leaders when discussing effective leadership. Isn’t it obvious? Every week elected leaders and candidates give us something that is simply too good to ignore. This week’s example is the brou ha ha over President Obama’s bus trip through the heartland. In case you missed it, a number of people were upset that the President left his “real job” in Washington to ride through the middle of the U.S. on a new tricked out bus while conducting town hall meetings and visiting the Fair. To the President’s detractors, this was a blatantly political act designed to take the focus off of the two leading Republican presidential candidates, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and Governor Rick Perry. Bachmann and Perry were also taking time away from their “real jobs” to ride through America’s heartland on tricked out buses attending town hall meetings and Fairs. The only apparent difference is that they were asking people to give them a new job while on the clock at their current job while the President was accused of asking people if he could keep his current job.
Dishonesty is not new, but let’s be honest—our society has raised the rationalization of dishonesty to an art form. When it comes to the truth, we embellish, expand, enrich, soften, shave, stretch, and withhold. We misspeak, pretend, bend, and improve. We are guilty of mistakes, misjudgment, and truthful hyperbole. We exaggerate, spin, filter, and inflate. However, we rarely—or perhaps even never—believe that we are guilty of dishonesty.
“We don’t trust them!” This phrase has become synonymous with a prevalent, if not majority, response when people are asked about their leader’s ability to affect positive change. Almost continuous rounds of cost-cutting; feelings that [...]
Seventeen days can make a tremendous difference. The date was May 25, 2011. The Dallas Mavericks became the National Basketball Association’s Western Conference Champions for only the second time in its thirty-one year history. The 17,000-plus fans were anxious for a celebration. The team held up the trophy, smiled, posed for the obligatory photo-op, and then exited the arena – leaving ESPN reporter Doris Burke looking for someone to interview.
Right now – as you are reading this sentence – 70 percent of your staff are alienating your customers, keeping you from achieving your goals, or costing your company money that could be used for more productive uses. Scary, huh?
Values – every company hangs them on the wall and distributes them on wallet cards. It is the same for individuals. Ask ten of your friends to list their values, and at least eighty percent will use words like respect, integrity, and honesty. So how important are your values? Will you sacrifice them for the results and outcomes you desire? Are they so important that you would lay down your life – figuratively or literally – to protect them?
Donald Trump commented that President Obama needs to spend less time on the basketball court and more time fixing the economy. All the protests you would expect followed along with calls from all sides that we need to change the culture of racism perpetuated through the use of stereotypes and assumptions. It turns out that there are a multitude of culture problems.
The core of every noncommissioned officer’s commitment is articulated in the NCO Creed. It defines how each member of the NCO Corps views his or her responsibility as a leader. And, there is no better model for your success.
There are a lot of factors that could contribute to your lack of results – time, talent, resources – but for most of us the difference between excellence and mediocrity comes down to accountability. Accountability requires courage: Courage to tell and value the truth. Courage to remain keenly focused on results that matter, and courage to be relentless and unwavering as we look at contribution and behavior. The failure to stem a crisis of accountability places us on the path to mediocrity and worse – irrelevance.
Why do certain companies, brands, and even people stand out in a world where everyone is basically saying and doing the same things? For the most part, we all get it wrong. We focus on the tools – like marketing campaigns, social media, and advertising – and ignore the goal – to make customers want to do business with us. Here are three things you can do to define and deliver an experience that sets you apart:
I published a piece titled “Stupid Has Its Own Momentum” in November 2010. Since then, examples of stupid having its own momentum. have continued ... and continued ... and continued. Stupid maintains its own momentum because there are incentives to do so. Here are three powerful rewards to stay stupid:
Integrity appears at or near the top of every list of desirable leadership traits. We claim it as the mantle of the leaders with whom we agree and decry its absence in those with whom we disagree. You would think a behavior and characteristic so widely accepted as important could be universally defined. So go ahead—take a stab at it. Integrity is . . . It is not as easy as you thought, is it? And that is the challenge: You can’t live or lead with integrity – or expect others to do so – if you can’t clearly define it?
Southwest Airlines faced a dilemma early in its operation—a cash shortage was forcing it to sell one of its four airplanes. The implications are obvious—selling the airplane generates cash for operations and cuts capacity to generate future revenue. Government leaders are facing their version of this challenge in budget meetings across the country. Should we raise taxes and fees in a difficult economy, or do we cut services at a time when they may be needed most?