By Skip Weisman
The CEO of a small, but well respected not-for-profit in my community told me she wanted to improve teamwork, create less resistance to it, and make it more consistent within her organization’s culture.
As I probed deeper she commented, “We need to break down the silos in our organization, too.”
When I heard the term silos I became intrigued, and asked, “How many employees do you have?”
“Seven,” she said.
I dropped my fork.
The term silos is typically associated to larger organizations so I found it even more intriguing.
I also became concerned that an organization with seven total employees, including this CEO, had silos.
For budgetary and other reasons we never worked together to resolve these issues.
Less than two years later, I bumped into this CEO at an event and got an update.
She told me she was very upset with her “former” CFO, who just a few months earlier left the organization, providing just the standard two weeks’ notice.
I found it odd that the CEO of a small not-for-profit, whose mission was to be the fiduciary for other non-profits’ philanthropic fund balances, would not have enough of a trusting relationship with her CFO to know she was looking to move on.
Obviously, two years later, the silos (even in the C-Suite) were still entrenched.
This is an organizational culture issue.
All organizations have a culture.
As usual, in most things, size doesn’t matter.
Here are three key things to understand about organizational cultures:
- They develop through one of two ways, default (the most popular) or by design.
- However they develop, the most important influencer is the senior most leader of the organization. He or she, through their behavior and communication style, sets the tone that flows throughout.
- Peter Drucker, the founder and guru of present day organizational management consulting once said, “culture eats strategy for lunch,” meaning that regardless of how great an organization’s strategy, if the organization’s culture is not in the right place, the strategy will fail miserably.
Yet, organizations large and small invest tens of thousands to millions of dollars to create their corporate strategy, and invest virtually nothing in creating a culture that will be THE driving force to move the strategy towards success.
This, I believe, is a universal truth in business.
This universal truth is violated in virtually every company, regardless of whether it has six, 600, 6000 or 60,000 people working in it.
Only a precious few get it right.
The simple question to ask when developing your company’s strategy is, “does our present organizational culture function in a way that will support the successful implementation of this strategy?”
If the answer is “Yes,” don’t stop there.
Test your assumptions behind that “yes.”
Chances are those in the boardroom creating the strategy have no clue whether that “yes” answer is true.
Just something to think about as you begin creating or adjusting your strategy heading into 2016.
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Skip Weisman, The Leadership & Workplace Communication Expert has been working with small business owners to help them create championship company cultures since 2002. Prior to that Skip enjoyed a 20-year career in professional baseball management, serving as CEO for five different franchises. That experience gave Skip tremendous insight and skill for building high-performing teams in the workplace and championship cultures. Skip recently published this white paper report The Missing Ingredient to Improving Employee Performance. Download a free copy of this report at www.YourChampionshipCompany.com.