I have now been with the company that I work for close to two years, I feel like I’m starting to truly get a feel for the business as a whole and the people within the organization. It has been an interesting last couple of months at work. The company I work for probably has a story like many others out there. Our company isn’t going bankrupt, but is struggling in a bad economy; this is due in part because we are influenced by a number of factors outside our control. Still, we have a group of people that want nothing but the best for everyone involved in the company yet we still just can’t seem to get over the hump.
To solve that, we are going through some interesting exercises as we have grown and we are trying to figure out who we want to be. We have been fortunate recently to be going through some branding exercises and one of the key points made is how many strong brands in the marketplace are built on aligned passionate cultures. That really struck a chord with me because it is something I strongly believe in. Ever since I first read Built To Last by Jim Collins and his concept of “Cult-Like Cultures” I started seeing this play out in every company I’ve worked for. I believe that companies that find success are those that have a passionate culture in which there is a shared vision on what that company should be. What it should be to its customers, how it relates to its employees and how it views their position in the world.
The interesting part I think comes next though, because you can get a group of people in a room and they agree to the mission and vision statements, the core company values and believe they are on the same page. After that work is done comes the execution, now do you really walk what you talk? Too often I see people that want their cake while eating it faster than a group of 3 year olds at a birthday party. At the end of the day, you need to have that shared vision and have the strength of a leader to stick to the plan. I want to hear more people say:
"Yes, that is a great idea and there is probably tremendous value in it, but it has to wait until we get the other things done that we said are really important."
Yet all too frequently in organizations we hear:
"Yes, that is important, I know we are doing other things but we need to get creative and find a way to do both."
Think about your own situation, have you found that your company is more successful when they are all on the same page and executing well? Or is it better to just throw a lot of things out there and see what sticks? As a leader, my challenge to you is to work at creating a culture where what is stated to be the most important is valued as the most important every single day, regardless of how many new shiny objects cross your path.