When teams meet to talk about how to brand their companies, they often speak of becoming the "Apple" of their industries. This desire to emulate Apple shows how much more complex business has become. As leaders seek the secret to long-term growth, profitability, and relevance, they often fail to recognize differentiation stems from creating a strong culture that, in turn, becomes the customer experience.
Posts tagged ‘performance architect’
You recently landed your dream job and you feel fantastic! Now, you've figured out how to make an important project sing. After mocking up the idea, you head happily to the boss' office. And then... ZAP! Your manager rips the feelings and pride and excitement from your chest as she utters disgustedly, "That is NOT how I told you to do it!"
In my mind... yes. Those that have a high degree of self-awareness build the strongest brands and have ultra-dedicated employees who, in turn, build a large customer base of raving fans. Think Apple, Amazon, Zingerman's, and Zappos. These companies' market dominance begins with leadership, a strong sense of purpose, and some very deliberate decisions that enable them to get 'the right people on the bus.'
Looking back over 2012 (and ahead into 2013), I realize that my priorities have shifted rather dramtically. In the past, my thinking was way too small. It used to be that I strived to be the best leader with whom the people on my team had ever worked. While that statement seems really egotistical, it isn't.
That successful entrepreneurs have to be gritty is not news. Tenacity and perseverance enable founders to accomplish goals that may take years to achieve. People who start businesses that endure surmount a host of challenges (like wondering how to generate enough cash to keep the doors open and also feed themselves) along the way.
Sadly, this statistic applies to some segments of the population. This week an article by John Kelly of the Washington Post reported discrimination in the housing market as it applies to people with service animals. A test by the Equal Rights Center revealed that about 1/3 of rental properties in the Metro DC area discriminate against people with guide dogs. Claims range from lack of availability to charging a higher rent to include the dog.
The debate about whether strategy or structure should come first is not a new one. And yet, I would say that the discussion is not material. The majority of companies I've observed experience a disconnect between their key strategy and structure… and completely miss the magnitude of how company and industry lifecycles factor into their potential for survival and long-term success.
I knew that Bates Creative Group had established something marvelous the first time I walked through the door. The company's 'specialness' comes from a community-based culture that a lot of contemporary organizations talk about but a rare few achieve. Founder Debbie Bates-Schrott has deliberately formed and nurtured an authentic work environment in which: