Last week, I gave you ten questions to consider as you start to move toward the next stage of your life. So, how did you do on your pop quiz? Many of our readers struggle with the many challenges as serving leaders. The one that impacts almost every leader I work with is how to build an ownership culture in their organizations. As founders, they assume that that everyone would run the organization the way they do. They do not invest significant time developing an organizational culture. It’s not taught in most college programs and I haven’t seen many entrepreneurs invest in learning how to get their team members more involved in developing a stronger organizational culture.
If you scored less than 90 on last week’s quiz, you might want to consider how important organizational culture is to your long term success. When I think of the most successful organizations in the world, all of them have a strong culture. In many high growth businesses, the culture is so strong it quickly ejects employees who do not share similar values of the organization. In Jim Collin’s book Good to Great, he shares the key idea that you must get the right people into your organization doing the right things to be a great business.
The question I’m always asked is how do you know if someone will fit into the company culture? After talking to many CEOs over the years, I came up with a short answer that I learned in the military. The answer should be that it’s better to dodge a bullet than to take one. Seems obvious, but so many growing companies try to hire everyone and anyone to help their growth without even thinking if the person will work well within their organization. When you look at the hiring practices of many businesses, it becomes clear that the stronger they are at hiring people who fit their organization’s culture, the better their organization becomes. NO exceptions.
We’ll spend more time about defining your corporate culture in future blogs. For today, think about your bad hires, people who didn’t work out. I’ll bet that many of these hires were people who you liked and thought you could change to fit. This seldom works out. Do this exercise. Pull out the resumes of people you hired. Ask yourself if you would you hire them again if they interviewed with you, knowing what you know today. I bet the answer in many cases is no, maybe even heck no. Why? Because you tried to make them fit into something that wasn’t their natural strength. So many people who teach you how to interview have never had to deal with the results of their recommendations. If they did, they would be much better at hiring the right people, not people who just interview well.
Now let’s talk about if you had a score below 80%. This means that you have a strong idea what you want your organization to look like and you are struggling sharing it with other people. Leaders with lower scores struggle with developing people. They are very capable of doing the things that make the organization successful but wrestle with growing it beyond a certain size. The good news is that it’s easy to improve your own skills because you’re responsible for the improvement. As long as you’re willing to change, you will get the desired results over time. This is not bad news. If you are comfortable with a smaller specialty business, you can stay right where you are and remain productive. If that’s not what you want, you need to improve your people management skills. Don’t worry; we will be sharing ideas here to help you succeed.
Now if you have a score of 65 or below. You may be extremely successful. Actually, I know you are. You have been featured in many leading small business magazines and even on their high growth lists. The question for you is how long can you keep working the 70-80 hour work weeks. If your organization has over 50% turnover rate and you are working on your second or third marriage. You are the perfect example of the lone wolf entrepreneur. The myth that America business was built on. I know who you are because I was you for many years. I was extremely successful building organizations, taking a company public by age 24 and leaving a path of burned out employees behind. Then I met a man who told me I was racing towards the wrong goals and climbing up the wrong ladder of success. The worst part was I didn’t even have a first marriage. I had a very hard time detaching myself from my role as general manager. He taught me there was more to life than work and he opened several doors to a future I could have dreamed of growing up. Over the coming months, I will share with you the skills he taught me that helped me get more involved with many of the world’s most influential thinkers and doers. He taught me how to become a serving leader. I know I can help you lead a more fulfilling life. Stick around, later this week, we will start you on your way.