Culture is tough. It’s not easy to explain. It can be elusive and subjective. It can always be better and it can always be worse. Just in case you think yours can’t get any worse, try working for CEO Oliver Queen at Queen Industries. I’m pretty sure that his leadership style is the poster child for absentee landlord.
Archives For Leading
Leading people is how you build a successful company. Leading well leads to loyalty, growth, innovation, and profitability. Finding ways that you can be a better leader is what this categroy is focused on.
Organizational culture is something that just exists. It’s not something that many of us want to try and change. It does change, but it’s not usually in our control. Over time…rules change, people change, and boom, culture changes. However, there is a magic that can happen when groups of people are determined to make something happen. In the case of automaker Ford’s turn around, that’s exactly how they did it.
Check out the short video below of an interview with VP of Marketing James Farley, where he talks about this decision:
Many Hollywood movies have inspired us with their version of “leadership” over the years. Maybe none more than those focusing on ship captains or submarine captains at the helm. That’s why when I saw this video posted over at http://greenmango.cc/blog/ I was truly intrigued.
This video is based on a real story of a submarine captain that was faced with the challenge of flipping decades of leadership dogma on it’s head so that he could literally turn the worst performing ship in the navy around to be the best.
In currently reading his book (“Turn This Ship Around”) and hope to share more with you soon. In the meantime, please enjoy:
If you’ve worked for someone else for more than five minutes, you’ve probably gotten your proverbial hand slapped for one reason or another. Obviously you lived to talk about it and likely learned a lesson or two about your boundaries in the process. But getting your hand slapped doesn’t always mean that you did something wrong. Sometimes, it’s exactly the opposite!
Recently, I watched a team of people agree to start an initiative that they didn’t necessarily believe in. Their boss was so passionate about the topic that the team didn’t have the heart to tell him that his idea was probably too lofty and most likely unattainable. In the weeks that followed, I watched that initiative fall apart. What a waste…or was it?
Having a business named “Corporate Culture Revolution” gets me into some pretty interesting conversations. Whether I’m being mocked, argued with, or praised, eyebrows are usually raised (along with occasional voices). It’s alright though, I wouldn’t have it any other way!
The point being, I often hear reasons why written examples of leadership & culture don’t mean squat in the real world. They just aren’t practical in the time constraints of doing business. So, many leaders will give up on even trying to learn. Instead, they will focus on more practical problems & solutions for their business. Of course I don’t agree with this approach, but I do understand the challenges and pitfalls of attempting to apply unlimited theories in a limited world, focused on practical results.
Not every battle is worth the cost of winning. Sometimes the casualties of corporate skirmishes can be ugly! There are many situations where “letting this one go” means swallowing your pride while saving the team or the mission. With that being said, retreat doesn’t necessarily mean losing; it may mean survival!
For some time now I’ve been struggling with the question written in the headline above. I’ve personally worked in an organization that seemingly had endless profits and resources, while I’ve also worked in one that was struggling to break even. Obviously the one with endless resources had the advantage, but maybe it’s not as simple as you think.
A Vacation Story
Like many families here in the states, my wife, two children, and myself took a family trip last week. For us, it was an opportunity to visit my wife’s family in the heart of French speaking Quebec. This is always a unique experience filled with cultural epiphanies and typical travel frustrations.
However, instead of complaining about some of the lousy customer service experiences we had while interacting with dozens of businesses over seven days, I want to take a different route. Instead, I’d like to share with you a highlight of the trip, which we had as the very first and very last experience of our journey.
I recently witnessed a crazy phenomenon at a company that I’m working with. It was powerful, it was ugly, and it was made up of individuals who were seemingly out for blood. I’m calling it a co-worker coalition.
I don’t believe any of the resulting issues were intentional. However, when the same people spend a lot of time together complaining, frustrations can brew. This type of “gossip” is a cancer that WILL manifest. In this case, that is exactly what happened.