Leaders who want to stay ahead of the competition create a winning culture where people are aligned with the vision.
Culture of Accountability
In my last blog Random Thoughts on A Winning Culture – Part 1, it was emphasized that unless there is a culture of accountability, mediocrity will reign. If people aren’t accountable and you tolerate blame and excuses, then basically, you’re running a day-care center… holding hands, wiping tears and giving people a “medal” because they showed up.
If you’re ok with that, then stop reading, because the next step is all about taking it to the next level. So if you haven’t mastered or put the wheels in motion to have an accountable culture, the rest of this will be useless.
One of the hallmarks of success is through alignment. It’s been proven that if you align your thoughts, words and actions with the vision or desired outcome, you have a greater likelihood of success.
In the popular 2001 book Good to Great,* Jim Collins writes about the systematic rigor, discipline and accountability that great companies have that result in a winning culture. He compared these companies to a world class athlete named Dave Scott, 6-time winner of the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon. Dave Scott rinsed his cottage cheese because he thought it gave him a competitive advantage of a high protein, low fat, low-carb diet.
Clearly, this athlete had a vision for his future and he aligned his thoughts, words, actions towards that goal…. Down to rinsing his cottage cheese.
Here is a quote from the book about the importance of rigor and discipline related to having a winning culture:
Everyone likes to be the best, but most organizations lack the discipline to figure out with egoless clarity what they can be the best at and the will to do whatever it takes to turn that potential into reality. They lack the discipline to rinse their cottage cheese.
So how does an organization “rinse their cottage cheese?”
It starts by making sure your management team has a similar mindset and rigor for accountability and instilling that with their direct reports and throughout their departments. Next, they need to have a willingness to examine and align departmental policies and practices that are consistent with the vision for the future and core values.
Don’t Do This
Here’s an example of a lack of alignment, discipline and rigor that I experienced several years ago. I was the Vice President of Human Resources for a company that espoused that “our employees are our greatest asset.” Yet, the human resource department leaked confidential information like a sieve and locked the door to the office and had a sign that said: CLOSED! Open 10 – 2.
When I asked why the human resource office was locked and closed, they said they were busy and had work to do.
It took several years to shift the culture of the HR department to a professional, service-oriented team. Because I kept reinforcing the vision, values and held people accountable, some of the original team chose to leave, (voluntarily), and I was able to hire people who were aligned with the vision of the future.
The concept of aligning policies and practices with the vision and core values is applicable to all departments and functions: IT, accounting, sales, service, marketing. And it requires rigor, discipline and a willingness to change.
How willing are you to “rinse your cheese?”
*NOTE: This book was heralded in 2001 for highlighting best practices of successful companies. While many of these practices are still applicable in 2018, some of these companies have been dissolved or are no longer examples of great companies. Watch for my next blog on March 7 on Culture and Integrity.
Marty Stanley is Certified Speaking Professional and 2017 Silver Stevie award winner for Coach of the Year. She works with leaders who want a competitive advantage by having a winning culture. While she won’t require you to rinse your cheese, she will coach you and your team to have a winning mind-set, more focus and the rigor to align policies and practices with your vision and values.
Watch this short video on Marty’s executive coaching services.