I used to work at a Fortune 500 company with the most impressive CEO.  His organizational culture was based on the ‘up or out’ philosophy — if you weren’t promoted ‘up’, then you should start looking for a job ‘out’side of the company.  Of course, when the CEO retired, the pipeline of remaining leaders moved ‘out’ to other companies, and the high charging culture that was once thriving, disappeared with the departure of the CEO.

Is that a good thing?  Maybe.  The CEO certainly did a good job of creating individual proteges, but if he really wanted his legacy to be sustainable in the form of an organization, then a better approach might have been to instill a culture that survived beyond his leadership tenure.

How do you develop such a sustainable culture?  It starts with the company’s vision and mission.  Can everyone in your company articulate the value they provide to your customers?  Can they explain how they work with their colleagues to ensure that value is delivered?

Think long and hard before you answer this, because I can honestly say that there are only a few companies that I know of who do this well, and the bigger the company, the harder it is to do it.  Rest assured that these challenges can happen in an organization at any level, departmental function or size.  If a simple and clear vision is not communicated well, then the resulting lack of alignment creates cultural dissonance, discrepant reports, and finger pointing — not a solid foundation for sustainable growth.

To move beyond this and towards a well-coordinated, forward-moving organization, a leadership team must clearly articulate, share, and reinforce its simple vision — whether it is the best customer service, the most effective  solution, the highest growth margins, the top grossing product revenue streams, or something else that can be claimed and defended. This value must be used as an omnipresent mantra to align your organization.  When there is a controversy, ask the involved parties to work together to make a team decision to assure that the resolution supports the company vision.

If you stay focused on using a unified mission to create a sustainable company culture, then you will be pleasantly surprised at the ensuing integrity and growth of your organization.  Of course, if you need support on where to start, how to communicate, or where to find growth opportunities, reach out to us.  We’re on the way to building a community of strong legacies.


All my best,



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