August 09, 2017

Company Culture

The three large retailers I worked for had a fundamentally different Company Culture.
  • Lands' End = Align influential Executives around your idea.
  • Eddie Bauer = Align every employee in the company around your idea.
  • Nordstrom = Use good judgment.
Which culture do you think I enjoyed the most? You're right ... it was Nordstrom!

Which culture do you think gave me stomach cramps? You're right ... it was Eddie Bauer!

When you tell me that you cannot pursue concepts like the Organic Percentage, you seldom tell me that your Company Culture prevents you from pursing the concept.

Every company approaches solutions differently, based on the history of the company, the urgency of the challenges faced by the company, long-term employees, and the Executive Team.

If your ideas aren't going anywhere, which wall are your ideas bumping into?
  • History of the Company?
  • Urgency of the Challenges faced by your Company?
  • Long-Term Employees?
  • Your Executive Team?
It's bad enough you have to bump into one of these challenges, but frequently your ideas bump into 2-3 of the challenges. If you don't have 10-15 years of corporate experience, you haven't seen enough to know how to navigate these problems.

It's been my experience (especially in consulting) that Long-Term Employees are the biggest challenge to getting your ideas implemented. Long-Term Employees are protectors of the culture.

I was in a meeting a while back - and are you ready for this? The ANALYST was a long-term employee, and the ANALYST completely dictated the direction the company pursued. The Executive Team would come up with an idea, and the ANALYST would say "that has no chance of working, we tried that seven years ago and it did not work." Over and over and over this happened, to the point where nobody did anything different ... not only that, but nobody wanted to do anything different because nobody wanted the ANALYST to berate them. Only ideas that were guaranteed to work were pursued. How many of those exist?

There are a lot of moving parts to getting ideas implemented. Evaluate how your company culture (and your role in it) hurts your chances for implementation.