You Think Your Culture Sucks? Try Working For Oliver Queen

December 17, 2013


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.

Full Disclosure…

Ok, I’m going to admit something here…I’m a fan of superheros.  Maybe it’s childish, but I just enjoy using my imagination and living vicariously through Iron Man or Superman or whoever it is (DC or Marvel).  With that being said, my wife and I are also pretty big fans of CW’s new show Arrow.

In case you aren’t familiar with that show, it’s about a rich 20 something that traumatically loses his father and then gets stranded on a island for 5 years.  Needless to say everyone thought he was dead…but he’s not.

Why am I writing about this?  Because this rich kid eventually inherits a multi-million dollar company called Queen Industries.  Meanwhile, we get to watch while he rocks it as a super-hero (without any powers), but stinks up the joint as CEO.

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5 Ways Oliver Queen Stinks At Being a CEO

Doesn’t show up to meetings.

Leaves in the middle of conversations.

Is too distracted to look toward the future and set a clear vision.

Let’s his personal life interfere with almost everything.

Always let’s altruism stand in front of profits.

What’s The Culture Connection?

CEO’s, owners, executives, and even mid-level leaders often don’t realize their impact on the culture of an organization.  Their habits (good and bad) usually drip throughout the structure affecting everything and everyone.  The higher their status, the more this is true.

Everything they do or don’t do echoes through the hallways and penetrates the lives of those below them.

So, since the guy at the top influences the most people in an organization, he or she has to work extra hard to keep that truth front and center.  Otherwise ego will take over…

He or she also has to work extra hard to stay engaged with the people being led while simultaneously staying connected with reality (not letting yes men fool them).  Otherwise, culture deteriorates.

So, whether it’s Oliver Queen, Bruce Wayne or even Tony Stark, it’s unavoidable.  A leader that is consistently preoccupied with anything other than leading is effectively disengaging the people around them.  This is a recipe for disaster that even a super power can’t solve.

Question: Is your leadership working hard at staying engaged and uncovering the truth?



2 responses to You Think Your Culture Sucks? Try Working For Oliver Queen

  1. Let’s Grow Leaders December 17, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    Having powers doesn’t mean you’re a leader. Great post.