If you trace the origin of most business challenges, crises, and missed opportunities, you will undoubtedly discover that most (if not all) were created internally. Someone wasn’t paying attention or being held accountable and the blame game began. Destruction from within has everything to do with behavior and how negative behavior contaminates a business culture. To be a no-compromise leader, you must strengthen, nurture, and protect your business culture from contamination.
Your business culture is…
- A truly dynamic entity that embodies the heart and soul of your company.
- The energy source that not only powers your business, but links all behaviors and thinking to a common purpose.
- What attracts and retains the best employees.
- That which rallies the collective energy of the business to achieve breakthrough goals and drive growth.
- What carries the business through inevitable tough times.
- What touches customers in that special way that keeps them coming back for more.
- What communicates the who, what, and why of your business to every employee and the world around it.
Just as computers are vulnerable to virus attacks, so too are business cultures. Culture contamination can be devastating to a business. Consider it a poison that can seep in at any time from any direction – internally or externally. Contamination reveals itself in the form of negative behavior, meaningless drama, and decreased productivity. However, unlike computers in which you can install firewalls and virus protection, your business culture is always exposed. Always. Economic challenges, fierce competition, headhunters preying on your best talent, and even the weather can seed contamination into your culture. But those external attacks on your culture are nothing compared to attacks that destroy from within.
Protecting your business culture is hard work and must always be done with integrity. I am by no means suggesting that leaders walk around with pink slips at the ready. I’m simply suggesting that leaders keep the lines of communication open at all levels and invest both time and energy to protect and maintain their business cultures. Great leaders aren’t great because they’re innovative, understand numbers, or have good communication skills. They’re great because they design, build, and fiercely protect the cultures they are empowered to lead. They identify, coach, and, when necessary, cut loose the anchors creating drag and impeding forward progress before their behaviors contaminate the culture. That is the work of leadership. Failure to do so, no matter how difficult, is a compromise.
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