• Planting an EPIC Culture



    Peter F. Drucker once said: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Spot on! However, a lot of executives and leaders I have worked with have struggled to understand what that means. Their lack of understanding is not their fault; they have been classically trained in business Schools all over the world to think and act logically, based on a whole bunch of logical, left-brained very measurable performance indicators. But when it really comes down to business success, creating an EPIC Culture will always ‘eat strategy for breakfast,’ and here’s why…

    Business is Done with People

    Business is done with and through other people. And… people are anything but logical. We are all emotional balls of feelings. We make our decisions emotionally, rather than logically. Logic comes later – usually after the decision is made. Even the most logical-thinking executive I have ever worked with made her decisions emotionally – if she didn’t like you, even if you were blowing the numbers out of the water, you were fired.

    Culture Will Always Eat Strategy for Breakfast

    Don’t believe me? Check out this study by Keller & Price, “Organizational Health: The Ultimate Competitive Advantage”. They found that top cultures outperformed bottom cultures in EBITDA (a measure of profit before adjustments for interest, depreciation, and amortization) by double.

    Additionally, a study by Kotter & Heskett on ‘Corporate Culture & Performance’ saw top cultures outperform bottom cultures on net income increases by 756%.

    The Killer App is Here

    Thankfully, Organizational Culture has finally arrived. It has found its place as the ‘killer app’ in business. Enlightened leaders in every industry and sector have discovered that when you follow a very simple approach, a very cool culture and high-performing distinctive advantage emerges. I call it an “EPIC Culture.” EPIC is an acronym for Engaged, Purposeful, Inspired and Customer Centric.

    EPIC Cultures are the killer application that organizations need to compete with this hyper-competitive world we live in today. If you wait to build your EPIC Culture, you will be left further behind and you will eventually be looking for a turnaround guy like myself to come in and perform major surgery to (hopefully) help you survive.

    How does a leader achieve an EPIC Culture? It is much easier than you might think.

    Hiring The Right People

    First, it starts with hiring the right people. Recruiting, assessing, hiring and onboarding the right people. But, who are the right people? People that share the same values as the organization you are building.

    The saying: “Hire for attitude and train for skills” has never been truer. I make my living off of organizations that have hired the ‘best people’ in terms of skills and education on their resume, the problem being that those people are often a culture mismatch and usually turn into a cancer that slowly kills the team’s engagement, productivity, customer satisfaction, revenue, and profit.

    If you currently have team members that are a cancer to your business culture, immediately prepare a generous severance package for them. They are not a fit and never will be. The longer you wait, the more damage they will do.

    Planting Your EPIC Culture

    Developing your EPIC culture is one thing, but it must be planted throughout your business. One of the main ingredients to do this is Purpose. Never has an organization’s purpose been as important.

    Purpose is WAY BEYOND a platitude on the boardroom wall. It is what connects people to a common understanding   an understanding that what they do actually matters, and makes the world or other people’s lives better. It is what creates a team of people that rally around a ‘calling’ versus just coming to work and ‘punching the clock.’

    When you have achieved hiring a values-aligned team with a common purpose, team members will bring their hearts and minds to the job. They will form emotional bonds with each other, what they do and with your customers. And guess what? Revenue will increase, costs will decrease, and profits will grow.

    Want to hear more on building an EPIC culture? Come hear Cissy Pau, Shannon Pearson, and I at Incrementa’s Manufacturing Conference, Oct 24-28, for practical strategies on how to optimize your manufacturing business.

    Robert Murray is a Vancouver, BC based Business Strategy Consultant, partner at Incrementa Consulting Inc., #1 Best Selling Author, and International Keynote Speaker. For further advice, insight and inspiration on how to unlock your inner leader, follow Robert on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

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