I’ve been in front of 2000 people in Ecuador last week. Out of 8000, all belonging to a family owned conglomerate. My task was to talk about ‘shaping cultures’. And they have a strong culture indeed. A culture in which 35, bottom-up, employee driven teams across four business units had been working for a year on anything from increasing productivity in a factory, to improving safety, to modifying processes and systems. All internal and bottom up. A joy to watch and to understand.
My task, after all the company presentations, was tough. It was difficult to ‘tell grandma how to suck eggs’, as the English saying tells us. But I tried.
I did share with them my 10, experience based, characteristics of the companies that will succeed and go beyond middle of the ground and survival. I feel very strongly about this list and their potential associated questions – chosen here below only one of many possible
- They will need a strong future-looking narrative, credible, compelling, anchored on specific values (Q: what is the space in the world that we occupy?)
- A shared sense of urgency (Q: can it be done faster and better?)
- For every ‘change’, a clear mind on what is not for change (Q: Going X, this will change; what will not change?)
- A collective human capital view: ideas know no hierarchy (Q: who knows about this anywhere in the company?)
- External focus beyond nice words: mastering the ‘seeing and feeling’ of the customer (Q: what would the customer say to this?’)
- Resilient, and ability to change gears as fast as possible, when needed (Q: Stuck? What’s next, now?)
- Questioning, inquiring mentality, all over, as if in magically in the water supply (Q: is this the best we can do?’)
- Learning. From mistakes, for sure (traditional) but more from own strengths (Q: what are we really good at, and how can it get better in dealing with A,B.C?)
- A sense of community, as supposed to a sense of company (Q: ‘Who is for ‘the cause’ and can jump in any time if needed?’)
- Strong ‘keeping promises’, from employees to management, from management to employees, and all to customers (Q: Did we really walked the talk?)
(The company, Group Vilaseca, seems to tick all the boxes for me. I swear I did not know about the 5 winning projects before my talk)
This 10, my 10, are not based upon 3000 CEO surveys. But 3000 moments of reflection. In fact, the methodology behind is simple: what are the key traits that I’ve seen again and again in the companies, clients or not, that are really, seriously ahead of the game? AKA, would I buy tickets for that ahead-of-the-game game?
(I am proud to have some clients in this list, ticking all boxes, having all the tickets to buy for that game).
So, I may be biased. But that is why I share these things in my Daily Thoughts. If Daily Thoughts were impartial, objective and unbiased, how would you know what I think? And if you didn’t, what would be point of the Daily Thoughts conversation?