In meeting with a new president of a company over a cup of coffee this morning, it dawned on me how hard creating a “one company” culture really is. Reflecting over my years of helping organizations envision, develop and execute strategy, I considered how difficult it is to make these simple words reality. I don’t think it matters if you are a small organization trying to get functional teams aligned or a multi-divisional corporation attempting to get business units cooperating….it just is not easy! Why is that?
Is it leadership philosophies that are not practical or recognize the cultural issues, or egos of managers and leaders that can’t or won’t let go or metrics and reward systems that don’t support the eloquent words?
I have witnessed all of these, and more, in both my own business and others. Before you run down this path of one company Nirvana, try testing it out at various levels and areas of the organization. Create scenarios and test them out. What works and what gets in the way? Pull people from all levels of the organization in to discuss how such seemingly good ideas get lost in translation.
If you want to be a frustrated leader just put the eloquently-worded statements out there and see what happens. Or, slow down, create some models of what great outcomes look like and let the results do the talking. Maybe this is what Deming meant by no slogans.
What do you think? What’s been your experience?