The CFO is often the first to recognize the high cost of chaos. It does not appear as a line item in the financial statements. But, a CFO recognizes the warning signs. Performance, productivity, and profit fall below expectations. Rick McPartlin, co-founder and CEO of The Revenue Game, believes the cost of chaos runs as high as 30 percent of gross revenue in many organizations. That means that if you are a $50 million company, you are wasting $15 million year after year.
Chaos means confusion: both individual confusion about what we are trying to accomplish, and team-wide disasters when people are confused about how we will accomplish it.
A CFO brought me into an organization where chaos reigned. The shareholders were happy with the return on their investments because revenue grew year over year. The company enjoyed a steady supply of new customers. By all appearances this was a very successful company.
However, the CFO was able to detect those early indicators that are always present but rarely captured. He saw that their method of driving new customer growth was unsustainable. He saw that the leadership was aging-out without new leaders being developed from within. He saw that, while they were successful, the chaos, the pace and intensity for this level of success was also not sustainable. He worried that key leaders would burnout or die before building a more sustainable business model. Their success was coming at a very high cost and he knew this model was unsustainable.
The Halpin Companies team started working with this leadership team to gather information and identify alternative approaches.
Fairly quickly, using our methods, we identified a potential future CEO from within the ranks. At first, the current leadership team was disdainful of our recommendation but this candidate did emerge over time as the key player with the greatest leadership capacity. He currently serves successfully in that CEO role.
More importantly, we were able to work with the two top layers of leaders and, based on our recommendations, build a more inclusive and transparent approach to driving new customer relationships.
Through mentoring by the senior leaders and using this more inclusive approach the former #1 sales person was able to build a dozen sales executives with his same level of success.
Using our processes he was first able to articulate his values – he cared deeply about their customers. He then started to articulate his sales approach – he was an extraordinary listener. We then helped him document and communicate his organic sales approach in meaningful and easy to understand ways. Over time, in one-on-one mentoring sessions, he trained each of his key people to replicate his success.
Not everyone had the same capacity but 14 or his 22 colleagues were able to step up. As a result the company grew by 300% in a few short years because of this velocity.
The CFO was thrilled, the shareholders were thrilled and more importantly, this construction-related company was able to sustain the economic downturn and continues to thrive today.
Six of the other colleagues self-selected out of this company with their dignity intact. Why did the go away? They saw that they could not be successful in the new business model. Two other leaders came to the leadership team and asked to take a step sideways or even backwards. They knew intuitively that they could not be successful in the new business model, given their own strengths.
When you harness the power you already have within your organization, the results will be extraordinary. Often our clients experience growth in shareholder value in amounts that were never imagined or forecasted. Building alignment, inclusiveness, and transparency drive success.
The Halpin Companies has been facilitating transitions in organizations of all sizes and levels of complexity since 1995. Our proven methods create work environments and corporate cultures where shareholder value grows consistently. Learn more about our methods at www.HalpinCompany.com
For a complimentary consultation, contact Katharine Halpin at 602-266-1961 or [email protected]
Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce says frequently, “Speed is the new currency of business.”
I say yes, of course. But at what cost?
Yes, we must all be agile, nimble and able to pivot quickly but how has this intense focus on responding to emails 24/7 and making quick decisions, cost us in terms of the quality of our decisions?
I’m pleased to see Dominic Barton, Global Managing Partner of McKinsey, and his colleagues have analyzed the benefits companies realize when they take a long-term perspective.
Today, our world is moving faster than ever. This pace and intensity requires leaders to be more grounded in the long-term view, what is important to them as individual leaders and what is most important to their organization, shareholders, their customers, their suppliers, and their employees. This grounding allows them to be agile while still making decisions in a consistent, disciplined manner.
McKinsey’s research indicates the increased value delivered by organizations with a long-term focus in terms of revenue, earnings, and economic profit translated into higher market capitalization: organizations with a long-term focus added $7 billion more in market capitalization on average than other firms between 2001 and 2014.
See their full report here by clicking here:
We have all been subjected to poor quality decisions made in haste. The world is moving faster than anyone could have imagined, even a decade ago. Strategic Planning is done in 18-month increments because none of us can predict beyond that short amount of time. Because of this intense pace, leaders need the structure, discipline and accountability that occurs when they hold a long-term perspective.
I have seen the high cost that these short-term decisions made on the potential long-term success, as well as the current environment related to people, productivity and focus. Front-line leaders lose too much sleep when they experience unnecessary volatility in their focus. The world around us presents volatility everyday. However, if leaders can maintain a long-term perspective, we can minimize this disruption to our people and our progress.
When a team takes on an 18-month project to build a better mousetrap and those team members sacrifice the quality of their lives and their time with their loved ones to purse their passions inside of this project, they do not take drastic change well.
When C-level leaders have a narrow perspective focused on this Quarter or next Quarter they tend to make volatile decisions that impact the viability and success of these longer-term initiatives.
A short-term focus invariably diminishes morale and employee engagement. Productivity, profitability and long-term success all take a hit as a result.
If I could dictate one thing to ever leader on the planet it would be to prescribe one hour of uninterrupted think time for every person currently in or aspiring to be in any kind of leadership role.
With this one-hour of strategic think time each day, consistently taken, leaders would start to have greater awareness about the red flags and key indicators that are always present but often overlooked.
This one practice would move leaders out of a frenzied and reactive mode into a strategic mode with a long-term focus, a broader perspective and a more consistent leadership style.
We must consider the unintended consequences of our actions and reactions. We cannot achieve a broad perspective without regular intervals of high quality solitude to think and then act strategically with a broad perspective about our long-term vision and goals.
Our economy depends on leaders who make decisions based on a longer-term perspective. McKinsey’s analysis indicates the organizations that held a longer-term perspective added nearly 12,000 more jobs on average than other organizations between 2001 and 2015.
Had all organizations created as many jobs as these longer-term focused organizations, the US economy would have added more than five million additional jobs over this period.
This suggests a potential value to our economy of more than a $3 trillion through 2025. This significant potential can be realized if we can support leaders in giving themselves the gift of regular intervals of strategic think time.
Katharine Halpin has been facilitating transitions in organizations of all sizes since 1995. She founded The Halpin Companies to fill a void she saw everyday in her CPA career. “Transactions and transitions fail to accomplish the forecasted shareholder goals simply because no one is focused on harnessing the power of the original enterprise. Legal and Financial goals become the focus. By focusing on leveraging the original enterprise by getting the right people in the right roles focused on the right priorities, organizations can grow by a factor of 200% to 300%”.
Katharine and her team have amassed a suite of tools and proprietary methods to exponentially increase shareholder value during a transaction or transition.
For a complimentary consultation, Katharine can be reached at 602-266-1961 or via email [email protected] To buy Katharine’s e-book about building in these reserves of time to think strategically, click here.
My baby brother, Uncle Willie Boy (UWB), complained that my new book Alignment for Success, Bringing Out the Best in Yourself, Your Teams and Your Company, did not include a picture of him or a Chapter about him. So…here’s a picture when he was about 5 years old and I was about 10 or 11. He’s in the orange shirt:
My book, my work and my life are based on all the gifts and life lessons provided by my Momma and Daddy back in Vicksburg, MS. Today we all celebrate, what would have been, our Momma’s 84th Birthday, 2/13/2015.
She left us on May 18, 2013 and we are all still processing our grief in a variety of ways.
Because this grief process has been so fascinating to me and because so many of my colleagues, clients, friends and loved ones are dealing with aging parents and their, sometimes untimely, deaths, I’ve reflected on this concept of applying what I know about the value of process to my own grieving.
When I say “untimely deaths” what I really mean is that sometimes our healthcare system keeps people alive who should just be left to die in peace. I believe my Momma and my Granny both lived just a couple of years too long.
Their loss of dignity in those final years and the poor quality of their day to day lives was not worth those extra years, in my opinion.
So many of my clients, a few in particular, think of process as bureaucratic and unproductive. While process can certainly slow down decision-making and results, I find that without a well thought-out, disciplined, focused process, the results will be disappointing or the decisions unsustainable. Worse, without process, we are unaware of the learnings and opportunities for us as individuals, as members of teams, as leaders and as family members.
Given that it’s my Momma’s birthday today and two good friends lost their Dads in the last month, I thought it might be valuable to share my experience of using my beliefs around the value of process to move through my own grief.
I certainly did not set out to bring a formal process to my grief. I didn’t believe I would even experience any grief. My Momma had been so sick and so high maintenance for all 5 of her children, all her birth and adopted grandchildren, her cousins and her friends we all imagined that the relief we felt would cancel out any grief.
At least that’s what I imagined because I was trying to apply logical thinking. We had lost our Dad when he was only 55, in 1984. Because we were all so young and scattered across the globe, none of us processed that grief collectively, or as in my case, properly.
To say that the week of her death was stressful for all of us is, as you might imagine, a significant understatement. None of us had any process or had the awareness that we should put some process or a Plan in place.
My 4 siblings and I did come together by conference call to determine the date of the Memorial Service. While my older sister wanted it within a few days, we finally settled on the following Saturday to allow for a reasonable travel period for those of us who lived away from our hometown, Vicksburg, MS.
That was pretty much the last productive process we utilized that week as we prepared her Memorial Service and her final “let down” party afterwards. My sister, Harley and her husband, Rick fed over 250 people while also housing so many of us that week.
Some of my siblings were still reeling because Momma had donated her body to science and the technicians from the University of Mississippi Medical Center arrived so quickly after her death they felt incomplete. When I asked my siblings why they were so troubled when they had known for more than 40-years that she wanted to donate her body to science, they all had different responses. The best response came from my older sister, Harley. She said that, while she knew of Mother’s wishes, she never imagined she would get the required documentation submitted. Securing a stamp and an envelope were tasks my Momma did not engage in effectively. Harley was not aware than when I visited the month before Momma’s death we completed all required documentation and I got it in the mail when I got back to Phoenix.
We didn’t use much process for all the preparations and I didn’t use any process when I tried to compile her financial records and start to remove the various assortment of durable medical equipment from her home. I did however, stay focused on my Vision that the 5 of us would be even closer when we got through this tremendous loss. That Vision gave me a purpose too. I tried to take even better care of myself in the weeks that followed her death because I saw how ineffective I had been without a process or a Plan.
During August when my siblings attempted to clear out her home there was tremendous friction as everyone processed their grief in various ways. They did attempt to use some process, thanks to my two sisters. I would summarize the primary emotion of my siblings and some of my nieces that week as anger. No one brought their best self, initially, to these gut wrenching weeks. I, fortunately, was not there and was able to remain a bit more objective. I kept re-stating my Vision. I had said repeatedly that I was holding the vision that Momma’s 5 children would be even closer once we moved through the process of settling her Estate. Some of my siblings did not believe this was possible but I kept holding that vision, regardless of the stress and tension.
A full 7 months after her passing. I was celebrating the settlement of her small, yet complex Estate on Uncle Willie Boy’s birthday week-end in late October 2013. All 5 of us, my nieces and nephews and many of their cousins from my two brothers-in-law, all gathered for that birthday party and then at Ole Miss since Katharine Halpin (Kay Kay) DeRosette was Miss Ole Miss for Homecoming. We all thought about Momma all week-end because she would have been so happy for Kay Kay to receive this recognition. However, almost all of us were delighting that she wasn’t with us. We’d spent too many week-ends with her at Ole Miss, MS State and Auburn where she required special accommodations and I don’t just mean a handicapped hotel room.
I only started to apply some sense of a process and a plan on Day 13 of our standard 14-day “stay-cation” over the holiday season in December 2013 and January 2014.
I believe it took this experience of real rejuvenation for me to become aware that there was a profound feeling of sadness and to have the time and space for that sadness and grief to emerge. Prior to this time, I was often at risk for ‘forcing outcomes’ in an effort to close her Estate instead of remembering my Vision and commitment.
We take these two weeks off at the Holidays every year for a variety of reasons.
Most importantly, I believe in the power of investing in myself. I know that I need unbooked, unscheduled, time at home. As a matter of fact, I crave this kind of time. I like to have, on a regular basis, even more time to experience my daily rituals of yoga, meditation and journaling and if I rely just on week-ends to get this extra time, I’m often left feeling a void.
We used to do a lot of entertaining over the Holidays but realized after Momma’s death that the fatigue of her death meant we needed the full rejuvenation, not just periodic experiences during the 14-days. This was a major gift from my Momma’s death for which I am very grateful. That’s not to say that I haven’t felt awkward not spending time with the good friends we used to entertain. We just had to make a choice that honored ourselves and our own needs first and foremost.
I also take this time off in an effort to be a role-model for my clients and to encourage them to take big chunks of time away from the office. My life and career have taught me the power of getting away from work. Now, with most of us attached to our devices during the workday and into the evening, I believe even more that we have this need for time away from work and even structured vacations, recreation and rigid self-care. One of my former coaches, Vickie Champion, always coached me to let go of the rigor of my Rigorous Program of Self-Care that I adopted during my Coach U training that started in mid-1995.
My clients who have adopted this belief too find that their perspective is so much wider and more balanced when they return to the office. When I was a workaholic CPA, I could not see the forest for the trees. I believed everything was urgent and I was the most competent person to do everything. I can hardly believe how misguided I was! When I see people working late in to the evening, I shudder to think about the poor quality of their decisions and the lack of effectiveness in their productivity.
I took Day 14 of our stay-cation as a retreat day for myself since the grief had come up on Day 13. I knew that the emotions flowed better when I was doing my yoga so I did it three or four times over that retreat day. I went back and forth between that and my journaling; much like i am doing today on my Momma’s birthday.
By about 3 o’clock that afternoon I had developed a theme. I realized I needed a theme for the entire year, 2014, so as to honor my Momma every day and give myself permission and the needed space to experience the grief in a positive, healthy way. Stuffing and storing our emotions and feelings are never effective approaches. Especially if we want to bring our best self to life and work and create an environment where others are motivated to bring their best self too.
My Theme for 2014 and now moving into 2015 continues to be:
Faith, Freedom and Fun
My Momma and I shared a deep faith. For her, it was the Holy Spirit and she felt that Spirit and talked about that Spirit daily. She was a life-long Catholic and attended daily Mass on and off during her lifetime. Even in the last few years that she was able to drive she would get out of the house when it was still dark and drive herself and her scooter to early morning Mass. We also experienced, with my Dad, the Catholic Charismatic Prayer movement in the early 1970s along with some hippies and Nuns. That experience strengthened our faith in immeasurable ways and gave us both a place to better articulate and share our faith. In the late 1970s, thanks to my maternal grandmother, we both experienced a Cursillo, a movement within many denominations to deepen one’s experience with a faith community. That’s why I picked Faith first for my theme. My Momma and I had shared so many rich faith experiences together.
I picked Freedom for my theme because my Momma lived her life freely. She was raised during the depression, her family had a history of alcoholism and like so many families in the South, never accumulated much cash. But she never felt encumbered with responsibility or obligation. She did what she enjoyed and she said what she thought. While some people, even one of our Parish Priests, inquired if we might have felt disadvantaged by our Momma’s bohemian approach to life in the 1960s and 1970s in the South, none of her children appeared to be permanently scarred by those experiences that were less than nurturing. For me that included being randomly forgotten at both kindergarten and elementary school. I also passed the Silent Butler ashtray and mixed cocktails at age 5 when our parents entertained.
With freedom, came fun for us and our Momma. We had a nice balance between trauma and excitement. I knew while my Momma had felt a tremendous since of freedom, adventure and fun in her life, I had not. I started at a very early age to take responsibility for things that were not my responsibility. As a result, I knew Freedom was perfect for my theme. It’s the final frontier for me, I hope!
I arrived at Fun because, like Freedom, my Momma had more experiences of fun than I had enjoyed. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve had a great life with lots of fun. For me though, my fun has to be scheduled, planned and on time and on budget. My mother cared nothing of those things and pretty much had fun all day every day; joking with her friends at the grocery store check-out, telling funny stories, singing with her children while driving her VW Bus around town and living her life on her on terms. All of this was under the disapproving eyes of our Dad and our Granny, Momma’s Momma. Granny was the epitome of a fine southern Lady and Momma rarely met her expectations of what an adult female, mother of 5, should look like or act like.
Over the past year I’ve reflected, almost daily, on this Theme of Faith, Freedom and Fun. It’s become another mantra for me to remind myself of my Vision for my life, my vision for my connections with my siblings and for all that I want to accomplish. It’s has also served as my Purpose. It’s not my Why – why I do what I do in my firm, The Halpin Companies, but as a daily reminder of the Purpose of my daily habits and self-care. . Instead it serves as the basis for my Plan of Action for bringing my best self consistently. My plan is based on a program of Self-Care reduced to a few critical but easy Daily Habits. Because of these habits, this Vision, my Purpose and a plan, I’ve been able to work through my grief in a healthy, productive, empowering way that has made my life and career measurably better.
2014 produced a number of significant milestones for me and my siblings and we anticipate 2015 being even better. I feel my Momma’s presence every day, even the days when I don’t get dressed for work and put on my pearls that she gave me on my 45th Birthday.
To feel her presence with me daily, to feel closer to her today than ever before, to feel her hand guiding me to be bolder and play bigger, to laugh out loud more often and to live life more fully, are blessings that I could never have imagined.
I feel as if I’m living the life she always wanted for me. I wore the paisley bow-ties and suits women CPAs and Attorneys wore to work in the 1980s. The only problem with my wardrobe was that I wore those garments way into the 1990s…long after they were not fashionable any more. My Momma was always after me to ‘get with the program’ and wear color and comfortable clothes.
Thanks to my Momma’s death, I saw the need to put a process around these past 21-months, I feel more joy, more peace of mind and more optimism than I ever imagined possible.
One of my clients who is 59 but still has both his mother and grandmother living shared something important with me after my Momma’s death. He said that we never fully mature and grow up until we’ve lost both of our parents. I told him I imagined that my siblings and I would be affected in a profound way but I had no idea how profound and how beneficial this process would be for me.
I certainly feel closer to all siblings over these past months too. What a joy to be able to spend more time with them in more relaxed ways than our Momma’s needs and health permitted. Our connections are more authentic yet more fun than ever before as adults.
Happy Birthday Momma!
What are the factors that drive results?
Certainly getting the right people in the right roles is Priority #1. Without this fundamental in place, you’ll always be in reaction mode.
Once you have the Right People in The Right Roles, you are ready to drive the Right Results.
When someone is not being successful in driving results, it is typically because one of 3 things is missing:
1). Their own personal commitment, or their will to succeed
2). Their skills (see above)
3). The structures that the organization provides.
99.9% of the time it is because the structure is inadequate, incomplete or not easy to follow.
The very best tool I’ve found in my 40+ year career is a Jack Welch tool, Execute to Win: www.etw.com
This ideology, methodology and cloud-based technology aligns your people to strategy and measures not just results but objectively measures each individual’s performance and results related to the culture. For more information about this revolutionary tool or to schedule a demo, email me at [email protected]
Happy 4th of July to our US-based readers. I hope you all get an experience of real rejuvenation over this 4-day holiday.
I find that most of us benefit from regular periods of rest and relaxation. As a matter of fact, I believe we all experience overwhelm on a regular basis and most of us cannot articulate this experience. Our colleagues and loved ones just find us to be crabby periodically!
Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by the enormity of your challenges and the obstacles in front of you?
Do you even experience a recurring sense of fatigue from your obligations?
Consider for a moment that all of this might disappear easily and, even permanently, if we could find a way to let go of the shoulda, woulda, couldas.
Do any of these mindsets resonate for you?
* This situation (fill in the blank) should not be this way!
* This guy doesn’t get it!
* This team is never going to perform!
When we allow ourselves to linger in these perspectives, mindsets, and judgments, we severely limit our effectiveness.
We put up barriers to our best thinking and actions.
We put up barriers between ourselves and our colleagues.
We limit the potential for a positive, productive and timely outcome.
The key for all of us is to maintain the mindset and perspective of a Scientist who is conducting multiple experiments everyday. We want to gather data and the facts. We want to conduct experiments to prove or disprove our theorems and hypothesis. We want to learn from every iteration of every experiment. “Boy, that approach sure didn’t work with Bob!”
The key is to remain curious and fascinated. We cannot let ourselves go to the place of becoming judgmental. Bob will sniff it out as quickly as a dog sniffs fear.
If you have clear evidence that Bob is, in fact, a real idiot, please review our Blog Posts on gratitude. If you like this approach, you might enjoy our free e-book at www.teamalignmentstrategies.com
I hope you get to celebrate your new-found freedom and independence from the judgments that weigh us down and cause fatigue, worry and ineffectiveness.
Decision-making is one of the most important responsibility of leaders, second only to getting the right people in the right roles. Unfortunately, very few leadership teams know how to make decisions that will withstand the test of time. How can we all make better decisions?
They key is to start with the hard facts, objective data that is well organized and easy to understand. Once we have the facts in front of everyone, it is more difficult for any one of us to make up stories based on our own agenda or perspective.
The next step is to establish a process and timeframe for making a decision. The process should specify roles for each team member (facilitator, context provider, decion-maker, etc) and the desired outcome. Everyone should have a clear understanding of the problem to be solved. The process should include enough time and discussion to ensure everyone buys in to the problem statement and objectives. Otherwise, team members might unintentionally sabatoge decisions down the road.
Decision-making like all aspects of leadership is not difficult. But, with all components of effective leadership, it requires getting out of our comfort zone, getting out of our typical distracted states and focusing in a strategic and proactive manner.
I woke up this morning early because I was still energized by my busy Thursday. I started with an 8 am breakfast with a CEO client. We’ve worked together since 2005 and now our consultations occurs at The Ritz Carlton over breakfast. He shares the successes his 1,200 person company is enjoying as well as some significant solutions in his son’s family owned business. How does this leader determine what to focus on? He is guided constantly by his commitment to excellence in business, of course, but also by his commitment to a high standard of gracious living and success for his community, his company, his people and his family. He knows what is important and how to allocate his time and resources accordingly.
I got a voice mail a little later in the day from a former client in DC. He so values connections with others that he stays in touch and reaches out when important events occur in my life. This, from one of the most knowledgeable and influential people in DC in his industry. An industry bombarded with intense pressure to provide higher quality of services at much lower costs while under tremendous regulatory scrutiny.
I ended my work day with my colleague, Barbara Ralston, in a meeting with a long-time client and one of his new executives. This client has been an inspiration to me for over a decade because of his commitment to his people and his family. He shared about coming back this week from the East Coast after taking his high achieving grandson to tour an Ivy League college as well as several other colleges and Universities and NYC, DC and Baltimore. This leader knows how to make time for what is most important to him.
What gives these extraordinary leaders, at the pinnacle of their careers, the ability to take time out to think strategically with me, to celebrate successes and to invest time in growing their businesses, other family members and themselves? They know their values and they use this self-knowledge to guide their day to day activities, their goals and their aspirations for others.
They do not allow themselves to be consumed by the challenge of the day!
What is missing in your life, career, business, and calendar that prevents you from focusing on what is most important?
Do you find yourself reacting to the ‘challenge of the day’, putting out fires constantly, never having a minute to think about the big picture? Okay, so none of us are like this all day, everyday but many of us spend too much of our time in this reactive mindset.
If we want to use The Easy Way, we have to use a different, more proactive mindset.
First we must get out of our comfort zone and use new and different approaches. What got you here, won’t get you there, as they say.
Then we have to get the right people in the right roles driving the right results. We have to do this right now! We cannot transform the culture of an organization from The Hard Way to The Easy Way(tm) without creating a sense of urgency and energy. If you are working too hard, I guarantee all your people are not engaged with energy and enthusiasm. Creating this energy and enthusiasm is the first step.
People are motivated and excited about winning. The Easy Way makes the wins come frequently, consistently and strategically.
I will be blogging about this topic over the next few weeks so make sure to check back in to hear more about The Easy Way to Win(tm).
Culture versus Strategy
Is it really an “either or” situation? Is corporate culture more important than strategy? Or is it the opposite?
Numerous people have written blogs and articles about this topic over the recent months, including me. “Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast” was the title of my presentation at Oracle’s OpenWorld conference in October 2011, as well as a webinar topic for my employer in January 2012.
However, Peter Drucker originally made this statement and discussed organizational culture’s ability to impact strategy in the context of discouraging leaders and managers from making radical changes to their corporate culture or implementing strategies that were inconsistent with their existing culture.
Jack Welch said after his experience with GE’s acquisition of Kidder Peabody, “Culture matters!”
In 2003 a group of researchers at Harvard Business School completed a ten year study examining management practices at 160 organizations. They found that culture can enhance or prove detrimental to corporate performance. Organizations with strong performance-oriented cultures witnessed far better financials growth.
We know that strategy matters as well. Companies with good strategies prosper. Those without good strategies perform poorly or, at worst, close their doors.
Bob Frisch in his article “Culture Vs. Strategy is a False Choice” mentions several companies with winning strategies and corporate cultures — Southwest Airlines and Zappos. He also includes companies that are known as strong performers without superior corporate cultures — McDonald’s and Walmart.
However, what about having a strong corporate culture as part of your business strategy? During a recent Twitter conversation Fred Cuellar (@fredcuellar) suggested this to me in one of his tweets. “My money is on culture as a strategy! Environment regulates behavior!”
Leslie Bradshaw, President, COO, and Co-founder for JESS3 said it best in her video for 30 Second MBA as she describes the importance of culture for her organization.
“…[C]ulture is actually the fiber that brings us all together so that we can execute against the strategy once we have it.”
Fred and Leslie are on the right track and it’s similar to an approach that was used by Ken Olsen in building DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation). The company’s strong innovation culture helped propel it to stellar heights during the 60’s, 70’s, and part of the 80’s.
It was also the same culture that, when the technology arena changed, prevented the organization from adopting a successful strategy that would allow it to compete effectively in the new technology marketplace.
DEC’s strong corporate culture “ate” every new idea, proposal, and strategy that didn’t fit its existing paradigm. The result: DEC went into a downward spiral and was acquired by Compaq, which was acquired by Hewlett Packard.
The relationship between corporate culture and strategy goes further and deeper than most corporate leaders imagine. Not only that, but in volatile markets, the connectedness between these two can be fraught with complications.
If your organization is an incumbent in an industry that has a disruptive newcomer, adaptability becomes paramount. Yet, strong corporate cultures are typically less adaptable. To use Edgar Schein’s analogy, strong corporate cultures possess antibodies that protect them from “foreign” ideas or proposals. Therefore, it is critical that leaders heed Drucker’s warning and remember the lesson of DEC as they attempt to change a corporate culture so that it can function harmoniously with a new strategy.
Culture and strategy must fit and work together to move an organization’s performance forward. Without harmony between culture and strategy, the organization suffers and, eventually, dies.
I wrote last week on my perspective on the requirements for Quantum Leap Results for Teams. Today I want to focus on what it takes for us as individual leaders to consistently generate these kinds of results for ourselves and our teams.
For me, self-care is at the top of the list. Without my consistent self-care, I don’t have the awareness to consistently make good decisions and communicate those decisions effectively and concisely. Just ask my colleagues here at The Halpin Companies. They can give you an ear-full about those times when I have not been faithful to my self-care.
In order to do the self-care like yoga, stretching, hiking, biking, spending time in Nature, I have to value myself as much as I value others. This requires saying YES to my big vision for myself and for The Halpin Companies. As Stephen Covey said, “You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage – pleasantly, smilingly, nonapologetically – to say ‘no’ to other things. And the way to do that is by having a bigger ‘yes’ burning inside”.
I would say the Vision must be focused on the Quantum Leaps. That’s what Covey means by the ‘bigger yes burning inside’.
We have to give ourselves the gifts of self-care and a variety of ‘reserves of time’ to think, prepare, process. When we give ourselves these gifts consistently and thoughtfully, the Quantum Leap Results come! Not only do we create results that are sudden and dramatic, but we generate these results strategically, systematically and almost effortlessly.
Where could you benefit from a Quantum Leap Result today?
What’s missing in your self-care and think time that is needed to generate that Quantum Leap?
What’s the bigger ‘yes’ burning inside? Value yourself enough to prioritize it today.
From my perspective, we all want Quantum Leap Results but we don’t achieve them consistently because of a few simple things.
We must be willing to get out of our comfort zone and have honest, forthright conversations.
We must be willing to shift our mindset about others, our circumstances and situations.
We must be willing to play bigger, create environments where others are able to bring their best self and demonstrate the daily discipline to do it all again tomorrow,
It’s so simple but not easy. Quantum Leap Results require self-care, self-awareness, self-management and self-leadership.
Ask yourself these questions?
What is missing in my self-care? What kind of self-management would be required to generate some Quantum Leap Results?
It is not Rocket Science.
How big do you want yo play today?
As a Team Alignment Expert, I feel confident in establishing my own definitions. Of course, because I am so opinionated, I do this all the time, not just in areas of expertise!
Here’s a really important Katharineism:
High Performing Teams consistently share 3 characteristics….
1) A shared Vision or Common Purpose
2) A commitment by each team member to each other’s individual success (no dog eat dog mindsets)
3) An ability to speak with one voice!
Yesterday while having a Halpin Company Alumni Association lunch with a fabulous senior executive in one of Arizona’s biggest and most successful companies, we were celebrating her Quantum Leap Results. She reminded me that in order to build these kinds of teams, she had to do 3 things….
1) Throw People the Ball in a Way that Others could Catch It
2) Stay in the Conversation….
3) Be Proactive, not Reactive. In order to do this, we both agreed we have to use lots of self-management approaches.
It is always great to celebrate successes but especially with former clients who you worked with in 2005-2008! What successes have you had recently in forming high performing teams?
This is something I intend to reflect on daily in 2013. Dear Abbey (Pauline Phillips) adapted this from the original Al-Anon Credo. It speaks for itself….
Just for today, I will live through this day only. I will not brood about yesterday or obsess about tomorrow. I will not set far-reaching goals or try to overcome all of my problems at once.
I know that I can do something for 24 hours that would overwhelm me if I had to keep it up for a lifetime.
Just for today, I will be happy. I will not dwell on thoughts that depress me. If my mind fills with clouds, I will chase them away and fill it with sunshine.
Just for today, I will accept what is. I will face reality. I will correct those things that I can correct and accept those I cannot.
Just for today, I will improve my mind. I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration. I will not be a mental loafer.
Just for today I will make a conscious effort to be agreeable. I will be kind and courteous to those who cross my path, and I will not speak ill of others. I will improve my appearance, speak softly, and not interrupt when someone else is talking. Just for today I will refrain from improving anybody but myself.