How to Transform Your Culture To Stay Ahead

How to Transform Your Culture

In all of the organizations I have had the privilege to lead, I am always thinking and focusing on culture. Culture, to me, is important both at home and at work. It is the engine that either limits potential or sustains success.

 

“Transforming culture is the real leadership work.” –John Mattone

 

Cultural Transformations BookcoverToday it seems every forward-thinking company is focused on cultural reinvention. John Mattone and Nick Vaidya’s new book, Cultural Transformations: Lessons of Leadership and Corporate Reinvention was one that I read with great interest. Not only do the authors outline the imperative to continually transform corporate culture to stay ahead of the competition, but they also interview numerous corporate leaders to provide examples to lead the way.

John Mattone has been featured here before. He’s a leadership guru, a top-ranked CEO coach, and runs a top-ranked leadership blog. Whenever he contacts me, I know that I will learn something. I recently had the opportunity to talk with him about his latest work.

 

“The culture you create and reinforce will determine your success.” –John Mattone

 

Culture Change is Constant

When you talk about cultural transformation, what are you referring to?  Under what circumstances might a company look to transform its culture?

Always. The need to transform culture and ensure that you always have the culture in place to drive sustained operating success is a never-ending pursuit and business priority. A healthy, vibrant and mature culture will drive success and keep any organization “ahead of the curve.” So many factors are creating “disruption” in all sectors—digitization, globalization, and the need to operate at two-speeds (fast in emerging economies, slower in mature economies). Traditional differentiators like size, scope, legacy and market position are no longer differentiators. To stay ahead of the curve, CEO’s and senior teams must always be re-thinking, re-shaping, and reinventing their own purpose as well as the purpose of the enterprise. It is no longer about the company you want to create; it is now much more about the company that you must create.

Copyright John Mattone and Nick Vaidya; Used by Permission Copyright John Mattone and Nick Vaidya; Used by Permission

 

 

“The need to transform culture is a never-ending pursuit and business priority.” –John Mattone

 

 

Defining the Right Culture for You

How do you define what is the right culture for your organization?

You have to be passionate and diligent about measuring everything. This is the 6th step of my Cultural Transformation Model. Measuring operating metrics is part of it. Measuring the effectiveness of your talent systems, your engagement levels, and getting views from your customers and suppliers, and actually measuring what’s working and not working in your culture are all critical. Ultimately, it’s about leveraging your strengths and gifts—the positive legacy aspects of your business (and culture) and addressing the “gaps” and having a laser-focus discipline is what’s required. Sometimes, the C-level team determines based on this “world of feedback” that the company must become more innovative. This will then lead to strategies on how to recruit and select talent who possess the capability to be agile, nimble and innovative. Prescription before diagnosis is malpractice in medicine. However, I would say the same principle applies in the world of corporate reinvention and renewal.

Copyright John Mattone and Nick Vaidya; Used by Permission Copyright John Mattone and Nick Vaidya; Used by Permission

 

“A healthy, vibrant and mature culture will drive success.” –John Mattone

 

The Role of the Leader

Intelligent Leadership

I’m always on the hunt for great leadership books, thinkers, and ideas.  A few months ago, I was introduced to John Mattone’s work.  John is the author of Talent Leadership, and he has recently released Intelligent Leadership.

9780814432372Intelligent Leadership reinforces key success concepts and adds to your leadership arsenal with new tools developed from John’s research and extensive work as a leadership coach.  It’s one of those books that will help you better understand yourself and others, insuring greater success.

John, you developed a model for leadership you call the Leadership Wheel of Success.  I will point readers to the book for a detailed explanation, but let’s just focus on the outer core for a moment.   You identify nine specific leadership skills required for a successful leader.  How did you develop this model?

Skip, the notion that the definition of a target of leadership success is different for every leader and organization led to the explosion of competency-modeling work primarily in the 1980s and early 1990s. Every organization was creating its own targets of leadership success. Of course, this led to the rise of consulting and research firms who took advantage of real market needs to help these organizations research and define leadership success in their own unique organization for their own unique leaders. The result? We have learned that the definition of leadership success—the leadership success target comprised of leadership can-do, will-do, and must-do—is really not all that unique to a particular leader or organization. In the process, through years of research, we have gained tremendous intelligence about leadership success and the competencies that define success. The early leadership competency work done by David McLeland and McBer and Company, as well as the more recent work of the Center for Creative Leadership, John Kotter, Lominger, my own firm, and hundreds of other notable researchers and leading thinkers has added not only a unique perspective but also a corroborative perspective that there is value in creating a universal target of leadership success.

Would you touch on the inner core and why it’s so critical to focus on?