culture

The Soul is Everything

Laura Novakowski  -  Apr 11, 2018  -  , , , ,  -  No Comments

Ray_Charles_quotePicture1There once was a very successful marketing executive. He had a lovely wife and four small children, fabulous home and income. But, he wasn’t happy.  He didn’t connect with his company’s soul – its culture. It was time for him to move on. His wife understood. He walked away from the home and income – moved into a small apartment and opened his own advertising agency.  He and his family lived on a shoestring budget. He had more time for his wife and his kids. Client meetings were held at the family’s dining room table. Time passed and he build his company into a multi-million dollar success with several dozen employees and large office space.  When it was time to sell, instead of selling to the highest bidder – his employees took over. That “force” continues today.

products_message_image-469-d-mp13g1ye10srxubhp2nnduigwztx0ilb16tpy73134In contrast, there was a very powerful CEO of a very large corporation.  Twice divorced, she ruled the company with an iron fist. She started early and stayed late, the bottom-line was everything. When targets weren’t met and stakeholders not happy, she swept through the organization with a broom eliminating position after position.  Then, one day and no surprise, she was escorted out. The business closed soon afterwards.

When the “soul” of the company is nurtured there are very strong forces that will hold it together. If the “soul” of the company is not nurtured there are equally strong forces to tear it apart.

The above two stories are fact not fiction. Do either of these stories resonate with you? How healthy is the soul of your life, your home, your work or your community?

 

What is Leadership?

Laura Novakowski  -  Aug 25, 2012  -  , , , , , , , , , , , ,  -  No Comments

Peter Drucker ‘s definition of leadership:

“Leadership is not magnetic personality– that can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not “making friends and influencing people”–that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person’s  vision to higher sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.”

 

It’s one thing to manage, to control, to dictate. It is quite another thing to demonstrate
extraordinary leadership. Leaders serve as catalysts, conductors, facilitators, mentors and coaches. They impact directly on the organization or the individual’s ability to compete and grow.

Leadership is:
Attitude  –   creating a positive, success-oriented, vision & purpose-centered environment.

Interpersonal Skills –  learning, teaching  and understanding of the dynamics of teams effectively.

Assessing  – quickly and clearly identifying  factors critical to the success and sustainability of the organization.

Goal Setting – leaders provide organizational direction and facilitate accomplishing
necessary objectives.

Results Oriented – monitoring and measuring results, following through,  following up, and ultimately making  changes and adjustments as needed.

As you can see, there is very little time for a “glib tongue” and “flattery”. Leaders invest their time  creating and maintaining cultures that effectively develop and support human while expanding business potential and growth.  Lifting people higher while maintaining focus on the vision and the results needed to make an extraordinary organization.

That’s leadership!

Rules of Engagement for a CULTURE of Success

Laura Novakowski  -  Jun 13, 2012  -  , , , , , , , , , ,  -  No Comments

A business of the future will not be successful because of a fat the bottom line,  behemoth size,  community or political power. Instead, the  business of the future will be successful because of the culture.   Culture is defined asthe attitudes and behavior that are characteristic of a particular social group or organization.” (Source: www.wordnetweb.princeton.edu)

Often, organizations espouse that they  deliver high quality products or services to  their clients, engage in superior relations with their stakeholders and  employees, and are always, always in touch with their environment and community needs. That being said, does every “attitude and behavior” support such an espousal?

Without a positive and powerful culture, even the best business strategy will certainly fail.  As with any plan, knowing and implementing the best rules of engagement can certainly set the stage for success.

Here are 7 rules of engagement for a CULTURE of success

1. Communication.  John Milton, author of the 17th century epic poem Paradise Lost, once wrote,  “Good, the more communicated, the more abundant grows.” Organizations, misguided as they sometimes can be, still have intention of doing some good, adding some value, making a contribution. The rule of communication is to convey the strategy, philosophy and principles of the organization thus affording each individual the opportunity to buy in and participate at a much more significant level.  Engaging communication includes at a minimum the following:

  • A clearly defined vision
  • Clearly defined values which are described in terms of attitudes and behaviors

When this information is shared, the culture can rally around a common cause.

2. Understanding – “Seek first to understand, then to be understood,” has been attributed to many sources from the Bible to Stephen Covey. This basic tenant is so obvious that it is often overlooked. From the boardroom to the basement, every level the team must fully understand two primary functions:

  • The expectations of the organization
  • Each individual’s  role

There is no way success can be achieved if expectations are not fully understood. All too often, unclear roles encroach and invade. Full understanding cuts down on confusion.

3. Leadership – Former president of ITT corporation once wrote,  “Leadership is practiced not so much in words as in attitudes and actions.” Leadership has tremendous power. It sets the tone and influences results.  It has been reported that the two primary functions of leadership are to:

  • Set the objectives
  • Set the policy

Without objectives and policies, organizations for employees, stakeholders and even clients it is like setting people adrift in a boat with no destination, supplies or tools and expecting them to be resourceful enough to get there.

4. Teach – “We cannot teach people anything; we can only help them discover within themselves.” was one of the greatest messages that Galileo Galilei left as a legacy to the world. A teaching culture:

  • conveys that the work environment is a reciprocal one of learning and teaching
  • supports growth and experimentation

Teaching people to treat their jobs as a opportunity for  discovery is a great motivator.

5. Unite – Henry Ford once said, “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” Uniting is all about team building. Ford certainly had his own methods for getting people to work together which quite honestly doesn’t work very well. Today’s team needs:

  • to be treated as an asset, not a liability
  • to be respected and appreciated for strengths and talents

Even the assembly line process becomes more effective when the person working on the line shares insights and ideas to enhance existing systems.  The more a culture respects the team, the more the team operates in a synergistic, powerful manner.

6. Responsibility – “Responsibility finds a way. Irresponsibility makes excuses!” provided by Gene Bedley, – National Educator Of The Year.  The surest way to success is to ensure a  culture of accountability. In this culture, the expectations have been defined and two things always happen:

  • positive attitudes, behaviors and goals are rewarded
  • consequences are consistently conveyed and acted upon when attitudes and behaviors are negative and goals are not met

In a professional organization, the responsible employees are valued and valuable. The irresponsible or less than productive employee is held accountable, given support and direction as needed, and when still not meeting the organizational objectives and strategy are given the opportunity to part ways from the organization. This is perhaps one of the hardest rules to follow, but is absolutely the most imperative.

7. Engagement – “Denied The Opportunity To Use Their Talent, Imagination And Creativity For The Benefit Of The System They Will Be Equally Ingenious Working Against It.” from the authors of  Growing Your Own Heroes; The Commonsense Way to Improve Business Performance, John J. Oliver and Clive Memmott.  Gallup published a study in 2005 that revealed astonishing results.  The cost of disengagement as you can see is staggering.

In conclusion, the rules for building a culture for success are simple, they are just not easy.


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