Culture is a metaphor, not a P&L line item.
The Final Exam
Sit in a quiet place, turn off your phone, take out a pencil or pen and a clean sheet of paper. You have as much time as you need!
How would you respond if you were the Chairman of the Board?
All the vice-presidents hate the new CEO, as do most of the executives. He demands unthinkable hours, he’s verbally tough and abusive on his direct reports, and will not tolerate poor performance. He was once so unhappy with the response to a question about missed goals from a female VP that he cleared off her desk by picking it up and tipping it over. He is rude to subordinates, foul-mouthed in meetings and humiliates staff in public.
However, this particular bank had been a loser for several years prior to the new CEO coming on board. For the past six straight quarters since he arrived there have been record profits, record growth and record high share price. The Board and shareholders gave him a standing ovation at the last AGM after he presented the prior year results and projections for the upcoming year. Performance is up and the senior team and other executives are threatening to quit!
If culture is so important and impacts performance; if organizations are shadows of their leaders; if the way we treat each other trickles down to how we treat customers; and if a big part of culture is behavior, what would you do as the Chairman of the Board?
PS: this is NOT at trick question!
Culture is like the water in a fish tank, let it get dirty or contaminated and everything inside suffers. And the smell is horrible!
This is the final page in my new book – LEVERAGE: The CEO’s Guide to Corporate Culture. It should be out on Amazon in both paperback and eBook (Kindle format, etc.) by the middle of November. Just in time to order copies for your entire senior executive team for some thoughtful holiday reading.
Make a Difference!
John R Childress