By Darin Leonard | OneAccord Principal
el·e·ment: the situation in which you are happiest and most effective
I'm going to outline how you can develop momentum toward improving your culture by integrating the critical elements of organizational success. The overriding objective in embracing the following methodology is the creation of a culture where your people live and breathe passion for who you are as well as what you do.
What is a Critical Element?
Critical elements are the truths that are so broad in scope that they affect every area of your company.
There are other principles that, when applied, affect certain areas of your company. Then there are still other principles that, when observed, solve only one problem in one department. Critical elements solve a wide scope of organizational problems and they should be observed as your company's top priorities. They are the small percentage of your organizational activity that will deliver a majority of your success.
The critical elements of organizational success are those factors in which you cannot afford to fail, as they can be the difference between beating expectations as a company or re-organization and downsizing.
Staying the Course
In today's business climate, it is both common and logical that organizations find themselves stuck working short-term tactics rather than staying the course cast by their vision. For publicly traded companies, it is boards that tend to unknowingly drive short-term behaviors; in private organizations it is more likely to be the firefighting mindset of solving problems one at a time.
Critical elements solve a wide scope of organizational problems and they should be observed as your company's top priorities.
In crisis, the human mind is designed to prioritize what is actionable over what is subjective unless these elements have been programmed into your psyche. That is why it is imperative that leadership of great companies develop a foundation of core truths or critical elements to operate from. In times of crisis you will then find these organizations make balanced decisions that improve their short-term position, but stay the course charted in earlier, less stressful times.
In so many companies today, the critical elements aren't necessarily positive. They are the byproduct of short-term tactical decisions, rather than a clear strategy cast by the leadership team. If you have a deep political culture where the cancer of gossip or entitlement is squeezing the life out of your company, do you look to your line workers, supervisors or middle managers for accountability? You may want to, but the culture is always developed upstream, and at the headwaters of that problem you always find the executive leadership team.
A logical question at this time would be, "Why does a growth-oriented operating consulting firm want us to improve our culture?" I will answer the question with an analogy. Auto manufacturers go to great lengths to mate the performance of an engine to the rest of the car. To achieve great performance, the horsepower generated by your sales engine must be married to the chassis or organization that is developed to support it. Operationally, if one is strengthened while the other is weak, the end result is poor performance. My focus is to provide you key areas in which you can improve or develop your culture to support a more powerful revenue engine.
These areas are:
- Deeply defining your unique ability
- The "one corporate commandment"
- People as the project
- An emotionally intelligent organization
About the Author
Darin Leonard is a seasoned executive with over 25 years of leadership experience within the Fortune 500, in institutionally and privately held organizations as well as early stage companies.
At OneAccord, Darin serves the as senior vice president, a senior partner and a director on each portfolio company board. During his tenure here, he has created a diverse portfolio of client success stories in manufacturing, consumer goods, food, retail, franchise and professional services. He is a nationally sought-after contributor and keynote speaker on the trends in food, franchise, consumer behaviors and culture.