In Good Governance, When Does Culture Come Ahead Of Revenue?

Opt 4 July 20

A few weeks ago in my blog about Leading Isn’t Easy, I talked about the hard choices we sometimes must make as leaders. Especially those choices where neither outcome is a good one.

As we continue this series on Governance Design, I am reminded of my 2014 theme for my Vistage groups, “All That Matters Is Culture”.

For this reason, once we define our business objective, for me the most important question is, “What are the cultural implications of our goals?”. If we are intentional about our culture, and ruthless about enforcing it, everything else will follow. And it isn’t easy.

Sometimes we have high performing employees who don’t fit the culture. So hard, to say goodbye to someone who is getting the job done, sometimes, doing it better than anyone else, brings in the big deals but just doesn’t fit. She may be a bully, or he may cut corners or spread negative energy.

When it is an employee, we can often rationalize to ourselves that the performance of the team will improve when the person who doesn’t fit is gone. The net result will be higher performance overall.

But, what if it is a customer who doesn’t fit the culture? Here we are talking a real dollar impact if we separate. This brings us back to Leading Isn’t Easy.

Recently, I had to make this hard decision. It became clear to me that a long time member of one of my groups didn’t fit the core values of the group. This member contributed in many positive ways and yet, I knew that to take the group to the next level, it was time for this member to go. After a few sleepless nights, we had the Fierce Conversation, and I have already begun to see the change. What I realized was, to achieve the business objectives and the long term growth, the temporary dip in revenue was worth it.

 

Elisa K. Spain