“Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”
This quote is from our 26th President, he was the youngest of our Presidents and one of three to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Hard work at work worth doing; it is an interesting idea when we consider our business.
In business school they talk about organizational culture. They use this definition: ‘The values and behaviors that contribute to the unique social and psychological environment of an organization.’
Organizational culture is the sum total of an organization’s past and current assumptions, experiences, philosophy, and values that hold it together, and is expressed in its self-image, inner workings, interactions with the outside world, and future expectations.
It is based on shared attitudes, beliefs, customs, express or implied contracts, and written and unwritten rules that the organization develops over time and that have worked well enough to be considered valid. Also called corporate culture, it manifests in:
• the ways the organization conducts its business, treats its employees, customers, and the wider community
• the extent to which autonomy and freedom is allowed in decision making, developing new ideas, and personal expression
• how power and information flow through its hierarchy
• the strength of employee commitment towards collective objectives
It is termed strong or weak to the extent it is diffused through the organization. It affects the organization’s productivity and performance, and provides guidelines on customer care and service; product quality and safety; attendance and punctuality; and concern for the environment. It extends also to production-methods, marketing and advertising practices, and to new product creation. While there are many common elements in the large organizations of any country, organizational culture is unique for every organization and one of the hardest thing to change.
A significant idea is great cultures involve metrics.
One financial text defines metrics: Metrics can refer to a company’s EBITDA, earnings per share, or any other financial measures. They can also be industry specific, such as barrels of oil produced for exploration companies.
Some great companies have three types of business metrics. The first is a global, BIC-best in class metric. Some firms find it easy to be satisfied, with profits. The real measure is how we doing are compared to the best, which maybe be compilation of 4-5 different firms. The second set of metrics is the most common. These are operational measures of Quality, Safety and other pieces that insure the firm is performing, ok. The third metric set is most often overlooked involves two pieces –stretch goals and post mortems-and the dedication to track and deliver.
This reflection on results, changes and adjustments are a key to real great cultures.
History, competitors and our team measure us by our results. Hawthorn teaches us, Things get better when we measure. Start with a current state analysis of where you are compared to the Best in the World.
Teddy Roosevelt was our 26th President. He said, “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” Comparing the current state to best in class is not easy work, reflecting on successes and misses, making and tracking plans are hard work, work worth doing.