When business strategy fails… What next?

You could have the best business strategy, the most talented employees and the biggest budget — and still, fail.
When business strategy fails… What next?
By
Matthew Marz

You could have the best business strategy, the most talented employees and the biggest budget — and still, fail.

As a CEO, your success of creating a great company will not come easy, nor will it be a given. Rather, it will require a kind of personal development where you need to work on yourself first.

Effective leaders are focused, with an intentional effort aimed at persuading and then converting management teams, employees & the entire company towards their authentic and deeply-held principles and values that they believe will bring success to the company.

This effort must travel in a positive and constructive direction and, like a captain of a ship, you must bring your crew on board. If someone resists in a way that anchors the effort in a negative direction, then the company is likely better off without them and it may be time to consider who needs to go overboard. Tough decisions are inevitable in this kind of effort.

What we are really talking about here is Company Culture.

“Company Culture is the backbone of any successful organization.” — Gary Vaynerchuck, CEO, Vayner Media

Beyond strategy, results, the working environment and financials, lies the reality that whatever happens (or does not happen) is driven by company culture. What the central role of a CEO, executive or manager plays in a company means their influence will extend beyond the employees and impact the company as a whole — for better or worse.

Company culture is not just about successes, losses or accolades. The real value lies in the enduring positive impact on employees and the company itself.

So why do leaders devote the overwhelming majority of their effort into business strategy and virtually nothing into other aspects that are important for developing employees and culture?

It seems the №1 reason is that CEO’s simply don’t think about it. For others, the easiest explanation is that they believe company culture just happens; if a group of employees show up at the same time and place, then fantastic company culture will magically materialise. That’s wrong, of course.

“Being a great place to work is the difference between being a good company and a great company.” — Brian Kristofek, President and CEO, Upshot

Establishing an authentic and impactful company culture requires intentionality: a deliberate architecture and daily execution. It requires a “culture-first” mindset, which is perhaps the most important change required in start-up and developing companies.

A great company promotes:

  • Human values of friendship
  • Work ethic
  • Shared struggle
  • Empathy
  • Sacrifice

Building a company’s future means working with management teams & employees to help them find ways of fulfilling their potential, in whatever pursuit or opportunity comes their way. A truly great company does more than develop knowledge, strategy or process.

“We have a culture where we are incredibly self-critical, we don’t get comfortable with our success.” — Mark Parker, CEO, Nike

The main priority of a leader is to unlock the potential of employees, allowing them the freedom to execute a well-planned business strategy. In summary:

  1. Work on yourself first.
  2. Establish authentic and deeply-held principles and values.
  3. Bring your employees on board.
  4. Make tough decisions: who needs to go overboard in order to keep steering your company in the right direction?
  5. Be intentional about your company culture.

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