Culture Beats Strategy
Even when Apple consisted of just the
two Steve’s (Jobs & Wozniak) they knew the kind of culture they
wanted to create and it influenced everything they did from the people
they hired, the advertising campaigns they ran and the products they
created. Their culture paved the way for their past success and it
continues to influence and fuel Apple’s current growth and success. It’s
why the leaders at Apple are famous for saying Culture Beats Strategy.
Of course strategy is important. You
have to have the right strategy to be successful but ultimately it is
your culture that will determine if your strategy is successful.
I've witnessed the power of culture
first hand and the impact it has on the performance of sports teams,
schools, hospitals, and businesses such as Hendrick BMW.
Turns out the same culture that fuels NASCAR champions Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon also helps sell more cars.
When I visited Hendrick BMW in
Charlotte to speak to their company I could tell they were different the
minute I walked in the door. The receptionist and first person you meet
is clearly the CEO of the company--Chief Energy Officer—and she
dispenses smiles and positive energy to all who enter.
As you look around the showroom you
notice that all the employees are wearing uniforms with classy blue
shirts and the Hendrick logo on them. You get a sense that this is a
professional group and unified team. You can also feel the energy in the
showroom just as you can feel the energy when you walk into a great
restaurant. I believe great cultures share great energy.
I also see a car featured in the middle of the showroom with a bunch of words on it.
When I ask the GM of the store what the words mean he explains that they read my my book One Word about creating a power word for the year and each employee came up with
their word. They then put all the words on the car for their employees
to see when they come to work each day and for their customers to see
what drives them to be their best.
Leaders at Hendrick BMW, similar to the
great school cultures I’ve witnessed around the country, post positive
messages around the building reinforcing their beliefs and principles.
They celebrate their past success and make it very clear they expect
future success. They are a culture that believes in developing champions
who serve others.
In the offices it’s also obvious how they feel about negativity and what they do about it.
Hendrick is also extremely selective in
whom they hire and only those who fit their culture and possess a high
level of professionalism are added to the team. They also invest a lot
to train and develop their people in order to sustain success and retain
their talent. Like all great organizations I’ve worked with, Hendrick
knows what their culture stands for and they hire, develop and grow
those who will thrive in their culture.
When I asked the Hendrick leaders if
all these initiatives to invest in their culture and people have made a
difference I was given a resounding YES. Turns out Hendrick BMW is the
number one BMW dealership in the country.
Culture not only beats strategy it also fuels it and drives you and your organization to record growth and performance.
What are you and your organization doing to build a great culture? Share your thoughts on our blog and Facebook page.