Pick up a business magazine, or a book, and you can find endless articles on leadership, management, business plan execution and numerous variations on these themes. But let’s quickly look at the areas that really need executive attention. There are four areas that I will review:
Talent Mission Coaching Culture
The talent you need for your business success depends entirely on your goals. Here’s my point. Want to achieve a goal such as playing professional golf? Talent comes first. All the coaching and practice will not get anyone to that goal without the talent. Number one golfer in the world right now is 23-year-old Rory McIlroy. Ask yourself, how much has practice helped his game? I’m sure he had great coaching. We know his mission is to be number 1, and the professional golf culture is well established. This enterprise is talent driven.
Success in the digital printing world isn’t deeply shaped by mission, but that doesn’t mean that in the right enterprise mission is not the most important factor. Look, for example, at Habitat for Humanity. Habitat builds homes, yet because of its mission, it receives free labor and materials. Quite a business model, right? Well, it’s mission driven. The talent and coaching is often amateur, but success is driven almost entirely by mission.
I use the term coaching as a sweeping term to sum up both leadership and management. Read about them in the thousands of books written on this subject, but know in some businesses they are the most important factor, just as we have seen that talent and mission can be the most important factor in success. My favorite sports coach has a unique record, in that when given 6 days to prepare for a game, his record is 26 wins and 2 losses. The 2 losses were NCAA national championship games. This coach is a great leader, and given time, can come up with great game plans. In many enterprises the critical factor is coaching.
But as a business leader, I believe that the most important factor for success is culture. It is also the least understood or developed for business success.
Talented people can be hired, and then leave. But in a great culture they stay.
Business models (Mission) can change and business plans can be altered, but in a great culture everyone pulls together to get through the change and the challenges.
Leadership and management (Coaching) can be weak in areas, or ebb and flow, but in great cultures coaches at every level improve with years of additional experience.
Some endeavors demand talent first and foremost. Others must put mission first. Some demand great coaching. But in the crucible of a great culture, outstanding results and talented people will develop over time and that brings the most value to the endeavor.
How do you create a great culture? Stay tuned for a future message on culture building.