Culture and destroy from within

September 30, 2013 | By Neil Ducoff | 6 Comments

implodeIf you trace the origin of most business challenges, crises, and missed opportunities, you will undoubtedly discover that most (if not all) were created internally. Someone wasn’t paying attention or being held accountable and the blame game began. Destruction from within has everything to do with behavior and how negative behavior contaminates a business culture. To be a no-compromise leader, you must strengthen, nurture, and protect your business culture from contamination.

Your business culture is…

  • A truly dynamic entity that embodies the heart and soul of your company.
  • The energy source that not only powers your business, but links all behaviors and thinking to a common purpose.
  • What attracts and retains the best employees.
  • That which rallies the collective energy of the business to achieve breakthrough goals and drive growth.
  • What carries the business through inevitable tough times.
  • What touches customers in that special way that keeps them coming back for more.
  • What communicates the who, what, and why of your business to every employee and the world around it.

Just as computers are vulnerable to virus attacks, so too are business cultures. Culture contamination can be devastating to a business. Consider it a poison that can seep in at any time from any direction – internally or externally. Contamination reveals itself in the form of negative behavior, meaningless drama, and decreased productivity. However, unlike computers in which you can install firewalls and virus protection, your business culture is always exposed. Always. Economic challenges, fierce competition, headhunters preying on your best talent, and even the weather can seed contamination into your culture. But those external attacks on your culture are nothing compared to attacks that destroy from within.

Protecting your business culture is hard work and must always be done with integrity. I am by no means suggesting that leaders walk around with pink slips at the ready. I’m simply suggesting that leaders keep the lines of communication open at all levels and invest both time and energy to protect and maintain their business cultures. Great leaders aren’t great because they’re innovative, understand numbers, or have good communication skills. They’re great because they design, build, and fiercely protect the cultures they are empowered to lead. They identify, coach, and, when necessary, cut loose the anchors creating drag and impeding forward progress before their behaviors contaminate the culture. That is the work of leadership. Failure to do so, no matter how difficult, is a compromise.

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Categories: Information Flow , Leadership , Monday Morning Wake-Up , No-Compromise Leadership

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  1. Neil ,
    I was at you seminar last week .
    You are great , I sat at the back row
    Like a sponge just absorbing everything
    NEXT step for me is implement those wonderful strategies
    I will keep you posted .
    And thank you again I wish I would have met you a long time ago , but I guess it’s better then never meeting you at all 😉

  2. As usual, the Monday Morning wakeup is right on target. This past week we did a spot accountability check and what do you know? One of our employees was seriously behind on paperwork that he had signed off had been completed. An team member made sure the work got caught up this weekend on overtime because they are no-compromise about the accuracy of information. I woke up early wondering what to do. The wake up really cleared the smoke. Thanks Neil!

  3. This is TRUTH!! I had been in business 14 years. Last Feb. a group of 3 left my salon. For about a year one of my employees of 7 years became a bad apple and infected the business. I tried talking to her many times and the day before she left she said she was tired of following my rules! Behind the scenes she said she wanted a $6 raise. It’s good they are gone. Communication is key!!

  4. Hi,
    I have a Barber Shop that has been open for 9 years. I have had put up with a lot crap from Barbers due to the fact that I can NOT find anyone that wants to work. Barbers come in for jobs wanting cash because they are on disability. I will not pay them in cash so away they go. A lot of Barber can not cut well and do not want to learn. Today I had my first NO show. The barber was supposed to start and did not call, email or text to let me know she (apparently) changed her mind. I started closing on Wednesdays, so it could be everybody’s day off, and I know I have Wednesday and Sundays off. I have two great barbers…one is on maternity leave and will probably only come back part time. The worst part of having my own business is finding good, reliable help. I have a busy shop but finding good help is wearing me down.


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