Since the creation of business, there has been a disconnect between the ideal company and its actual reality. However, this hasn’t stopped business leaders from trying to change their organizations to achieve the results they are seeking.
“Simply put, beliefs drive behavior,” says Baltimore Vistage Chair and Speaker Don Schmincke. “For thousands of years, beliefs have been the driving force behind behaviors. The role of a leader is to change the beliefs in your organization so it runs on passion. Passion is unstoppable. Civilizations with passion win. Companies with passion win.”
According to Don, three things change organizations: a compelling strategic agenda, a strong management team and a performance culture.
- Compelling Strategic Agenda “A compelling strategic agenda has to do with drama,” Don explains. “Your role in managing is to invent your company’s drama. If you don’t, others will — usually in the form of mini-dramas that show up in laziness, hidden agendas and dysfunctional behavior.”It’s vital that you don’t have passion for something that doesn’t make strategic sense. For example, some companies go passionately bankrupt because their strategic agenda was unsound. On the other hand, some companies have a wonderful strategy that no one cares about.
- Strong Management Team “If you spend more time in operations than you do in the strategic arena, you should reorganize your priorities,” Don says. “Building a strong management team starts by hiring the right people. Make sure they are aligned with your beliefs, values and principles.”CEOs who need leadership on their team in order to affect change — but only have managers — have a hard time getting things done because the CEO spends so much time having to implement the change. CEOs who need management to improve operations — but only have leaders — have a hard time because the CEO has to handle the operational issues.”
- A Performance Culture The military is the best example of a performance culture. Militaries regularly transform immature 18-year-olds into high-performing units by tearing down their belief systems and building them up with new ones.”As a leader, you are responsible for creating the symbols of power, control and meaning for your organization,” Don notes. “If you don’t invent them, your employees will. These symbols can be either positive or negative, as long as they further the culture of the company.”