I must confess that cricket is not my favourite sport. However I am interested in all the talk about leadership and organisation culture that has resulted from the latest cricket events. Thanks to the misbehaviours and misadventures of our cricket team, people are thinking and projecting issues beyond cricket.
A very bad decision under pressure to perform seems to be the result of a bigger organisation issue around both culture and leadership. Sadly, the same problem can hurt any sport and any business, whatever its size or market. Culture “derailments” and leadership errors are very costly indeed, for the people and for the brand they represent.
A Common Business Risk And Its Price
A disaster is brewing when work culture becomes “toxic” and pushes people who represent the brand to stop living its values. Even for lower profile organisations and roles, desperation to succeed can become a destructive desire to win at all cost.
So business risk is high when people find themselves in leadership roles for which they have not been adequately developed. Poor decisions snowball into long term damage as trust collapses between team members, and/or between your team and your market.
As a result of the “crime” yesterday’s “heroes” and “good people” find themselves paying a terrible personal price. Indeed, more often than not, they end up losing their leadership positions, and their career and their own self-respect in the most painful cases. They are left hurting, wondering how to survive their ordeal.
From the organisation’s perspective, this scenario represents a real waste of good resources. And many people must put a huge effort into damage control, a further waste of resource. Furthermore, it gives competitors an advantage that can kill the value of a business.
Is that what you want for your business and your people? And if you do nothing, are you truly happy to accept that risk?
Know Your Culture And Leadership Weak Spots
So now is a good time to take a close look at your organisation proactively. Make the time to consider some key questions (getting unbiased help for that review may be a good idea).
- Is something not quite right in the culture and the leadership of your organisation?
- Can you see some internal dynamic distorting your brand values and priorities?
- Do all your people “walk the brand talk”? If not, how much do they put the brand image at risk, internally and externally?
- How much is business pressure affecting good people’s common sense, judgement and their daily performance?
- Do you assess the leadership capability of current and emerging leaders?
- Have you prepared your talented people for demanding leadership roles?
- Have you got a leadership succession plan and career development plans for your “stars”?
Protect And Develop Your People And Your Brand
Are you 100% confident that everything is as it should be? Protecting your business, your brand and your people takes a thorough non-emotional plan across the whole organisation.
As a marketer, I believe these 5 points are vital:
- Building a strong brand requires consistently living the brand values and earning the trust of the brand’s “fans”.
- Making sure that those who are the face of the brand fully understand the brand’s core values.
- Defining what true brand success means to you and your team: Is it just doing anything it takes to get short term sales? Or is it sustainable pride in teamwork and focus on brand differentiation and integrity?
- Building a positive culture where everyone is aligned behind meaningful brand goals
- Supporting our people and optimising their ability to achieve beyond expectations.
I often talk of retaining our quality people by giving them career opportunities that stretch them without breaking them! That means equipping them to grow, to lead level-headed under pressure and to inspire teams to perform brilliantly.
You Can Fast-Track Leadership Excellence
Intensive off-site leadership workshops put talented people on an accelerated path to effective leadership. It is good for the team, the brand and the business, from solopreneur to large organisation.
Wayne Dyson from Bridgeworks runs powerful 3-day leadership experience programs. His next open course starts on May 23. Check it out here.
Heiner Karst from Lets Talk Coaching writes great blog posts on leadership. They and other members of The Network Of Consulting Professionals are experienced in culture and leadership development. To connect with our members contact us here.