I’d Fire a CEO Who Over Saw a Sh*tty Culture

Yesterday’s post got me thinking a bit more about culture. So, I figured I’d do another post on it.

Culture comes from the top. I’ve been in companies with phenomenal cultures where I bled the company red and I’ve worked at companies where the culture made me want to vomit.

I’ve been personally successful in developing cultures. I’ve built a few cultures where we were the envy of the organization. To this day we still talk about “the good old days at . . . ” I’ve also made some mistakes and failed at building cultures.

I am passionate about culture and understand what it takes to build them.

It’s simple: LEADERSHIP

Culture starts at the top. I’ve worked with leaders who felt creating and managing a culture was not their job, but the employees. Needless to say none of these leaders are still in their positions — and they shouldn’t be.

If companies with strong cultures outperform companies with shitty cultures then it seems to reason a good culture is key.

It starts with the CEO. He or she owns the development and reinforcement of the culture. If they don’t have the leadership to implement and create a winning culture, they are not fit for the job. Unfortunately, few board of directors hire, fire, have metrics, or implement processes to measure a CEO on their ability to create a winning culture.

I am aware of only one instance where culture was a key metric measured by the board; where the CEO was held accountable for the environment he created for customers and the employees.

In a business world that increasingly looks like the professional sports, with winners and losers changing places every day, culture is increasingly becoming a critical element to winning.

Apple and Google are great examples of where culture is at the heart of success.

A CEO, like a coach, is responsible for creating a winning environment. For me it’s not enough to deliver the numbers by themselves. Numbers with a shitty culture are a house of cards. As soon things get difficult or the river changes direction, the company will be unable to respond.

A CEO’s job is to drive growth and improve shareholder value. I submit this can not be done over the long haul with a shitty culture.

Culture is too important to the success of companies. Companies with good cultures make better products, have happier employees, and create better shareholder value.
I think more boards should add a culture component to their key metrics. I think they should add “culture development and execution” as part of the hiring process. I think they should create metrics to measure culture. I think they should hold the CEO and the executive team accountable for the culture and in the end if a CEO can’t oversee a good culture. The board should fire them . . . I would.

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