This quote was supposed to be made in the context that if you'd want to implement strategy that will effect change in your organisation.
At the same time,
culture is not a feel-good, fluffy thing that is
only reserved for those with a lot of time and budget and
could not figure out better usages of those abundant time
and budget. Rather, culture is about unashamedly
achieving outstanding results.
Hence, this month's topics:
This issue's main article is on "The Defining Elements of a Winning Culture", and it focuses on how you can achieve stunningly outstanding results through a winning culture that you can develop on your own.
The Defining Elements of a Winning Culture
A company’s culture can have a powerful impact on its performance. Culture is the glue that binds an organization together and it’s the hardest thing for competitors to copy. As a result, it can be a lasting source of competitive advantage. Take these examples:
But culture doesn’t always produce great results. In fact, when my colleagues at Bain & Company surveyed more than 400 senior executives from large, global companies last year, they found that fewer than one in four felt that culture was very effective in supporting business performance at their company. The majority felt that their organization’s culture was largely disconnected from what it took to win.
Our research suggests that
winning cultures are comprised of two interrelated and
reinforcing elements. First, every high-performing company has a
unique identity — distinctive characteristics that set it apart
from other organizations. These characteristics give employees a
sense of meaning just from being part of the company. They also
create passion for what the company does.
Southwest Airlines is the
classic example. Under Herb Kelleher’s leadership, the company
became known for its sense of humor, irreverence, and focus on
the employee. This unique identity not only made flying
Southwest fun for passengers, it made its labor force more
productive. Flight attendants, not cleaning crews, cleaned
aircraft between flights, reducing time at the gate and
improving on-time performance. Maintenance workers routinely
devised better ways to maintain Southwest’s fleet of 737
aircrafts, lowering costs and improving up-time. The company’s
unique identity reinforced many of the elements that were
critical to Southwest’s strategy, such as keeping costs low. As
a result, Southwest is the world’s largest low-cost carrier and
is consistently among the most profitable airlines in the world.
Culture is more than just a unique identity, however. The best performing companies typically display a set of performance attributes that align with the company’s strategy and reinforce the right employee behaviors. Our research revealed seven of these:
Few organizations exhibit
all seven of these attributes. But high-performing organizations
typically spike on the three or four that are most critical to
Take Ford Motor Company.
When Alan Mulally became CEO at Ford in 2006, the company
operated in regional silos. As a result, the Ford Focus in
Europe was different from the Ford Focus in the Americas. The
company had too many brands, too many platforms, too many
disparate parts, too many suppliers, and so on. To turn the
automaker around, Mulally focused on building One Ford — a
leadership model based on collaboration, innovation, and a
desire to win (again). With time, leaders at the automaker
started working together to simplify and streamline the company
globally. They rationalized brands, consolidated automotive
platforms, made options and parts more common and designs more
innovative. In just three years, Ford went from losing share and
money to gaining share and making money.
Culture plays a vital role in performance. Winning cultures treat performance as an explicit output and foster an environment that is conducive to generating the best possible results — not just for employees, but for customers, suppliers, and, yes, even shareholders.
Michael C. Mankins is a partner at Bain & Company. He is based in San Francisco and heads Bain's Organization Practice in the Americas.
Need help in developing winning cultures in your company? Simply e-mail email@example.com or call +86-136 7190 2505 or Skype: cydj001 and arrange to buy me a mocha. All information shall be kept in confidence.
Power Breakfast Hour: 15 Apr 2014
Is Strategy Design & Implementation a Science or an Art? (It's Both!)
by Special Guest Speaker Mr. John Antony
VENUE: Crowne Plaza Shanghai • 400 Panyu Road (near Fahuazhen Road) • 上海银星皇冠酒店 • 番禺路 400 号 （靠法华镇路）
DATE: Tuesday, 15 Apr 2014
TIME: 08:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
PRICE: RMB 200 ONLY!
To make this a more conducive discussion, we are expecting a small group of about 15 people only. The room can only take in 18, so please register early to avoid disappointments. Please e-mail your registrations too firstname.lastname@example.org
Company culture changes very slowly, so
efforts to do an about-face are inevitably a
waste of time and energy: Organizations
either declare victory prematurely or, in
frustration, abandon the attempt.
You’re better off thinking of your cultural situation as an underpinning you’ll have to work with over time. It will evolve, but more slowly than other elements of your enterprise, such as a new operating model. You can shape your culture, however—and you can make better use of it by altering or adopting a adopting a few key behaviors.
That’s what one client of ours, a large industrial manufacturer,
did to accelerate its recovery from severe financial distress
during the recession. This example from the past is particularly
instructive because we now have the distance to see how a few
behavioral changes not only improved performance right away but
also are having a longer-term impact on the company’s culture.
At the height of its troubles, this manufacturer was hamstrung
by a risk-averse, slow-moving culture. At the time, the interim
CEO assumed he wouldn’t be there long enough to “turn around”
the culture—and in a sense, he was right. But we worked with his
senior team to better understand the existing culture and to
foster three key behaviors that would improve performance.
First, the management team started making significant, visible decisions—for instance, canceling a major product line expansion—in a matter of weeks instead of years. Next, several senior executives conducted small-group discussions with informal leaders in the organization about which cultural traits needed attention—something they’d rarely done in the past for fear of either wasting time or meddling outside their formal jurisdictions. They also put more in-house people in direct contact with customers more of the time.
Those adjustments have helped the company cultivate three traits—speed, risk-taking, and accountability to customers—deemed essential to its success.
All leaders can learn from this example: Target a few behaviors that will immediately energize the elements
of your culture that
are critical to moving your business forward. It is surprising
how rapidly you can revitalize existing cultural traits if you
concentrate on the right behaviors. Though it takes a bit of
time and patience, viral spreading among informal leaders is a
lot faster than programmatic spreading through redesign. Here’s
what you do:
Jon R. Katzenbach is a founder and co-leader of the Katzenbach Center at Booz & Company, which focuses on cultural and leadership joint research within client situations. He has authored several articles and books, including The Wisdom of Teams and Leading Outside the Lines.
About Directions Management Consulting
Directions Management Consulting is the partner of LeadershipIQ in China and Asia. LeadershipIQ helps more than 125,000 leaders every year through the facts drawn from one of the largest ongoing leadership studies ever conducted is used to help companies apply resources where the best possible results be achieved.
In addition, Directions Management Consulting is a leading provider of sales performance, innovation and experiential learning solutions in China and many parts of Asia.
Using the Belbin Team Role Profiling, Directions Management Consulting helps develop high performance teams and leadership at every level.
Psycheselling.com is the sales performance arm of Directions Management Consulting specialising in conducting training, research and consulting services for sales managers and their team.
Raybattle is the strategic partner of Directions Management Consulting specialising in experiential learning events and management retreats.
Currently, Directions Management Consulting has served clients such as Delphi Packard, InterContinental Hotels Group, LELO, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Roche, Philips Lighting, Carrier, Ingersoll Rand, Kulzer Dental etc.
Directions Management Consulting will increase its efforts to conduct leadership studies in China and other parts of Asia, so that more companies apply resources where the best possible results be achieved in this part of the world.
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