Chapter 22Remember—It's the Culture, Stupid!

The Challenge

Many organizations have an unhealthy addiction to silver bullets, quick fixes, and an array of flavors of the month that are offered as solutions to improve employee behaviors. These efforts range from monthly contests and sales gimmicks to threats and the latest peer-group best-idea bandwagon. Although versions of the aforementioned can cause a sudden spike in activity, they offer no long-term solutions for sustainable results. In fact, they often serve as a type of morphine used to numb the pain of mediocre results temporarily. But just as real morphine can be addictive (and too much of it can be lethal), these tricks have a similar effect on organizations. To grow an enterprise, there comes a time when it is necessary to stop killing the pain and have a surgery—not cosmetic surgery, but heart surgery. This means working strategically on the culture.

Culture Is Execution's Foundation!

In the vernacular of organizations, “heart surgery” is about improving your culture so that it supports consistent execution and makes your team's ultimate few objectives (TUFs) attainable. In fact, whenever you're tempted to swallow some quick-fix Kool-Aid, not so gently remind yourself, “I don't need to chase another ploy, trend, or fad. I need to strengthen my organization's foundation. I don't want another ‘seven-day diet.’ I am committing to a lifestyle change; it's the culture, stupid!”

A surprising number of leaders foolishly ...

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