greg bustin texas ceo article

Secret Sauce or Cultural Malware?

March 3rd, 2015  | 

Published in Accountability

My work with leaders and my research for my book Accountability confirms the difference between average performance and exceptional performance is rarely a matter of strategy but rather the tone that’s set at the top of the organization.

In organizations where high expectations are set and met consistently, accountability is less a technique and more a mindset that reflects the culture a leader imagines, nurtures and sustains.

Is your culture the secret sauce that gives your organization a competitive advantage? Or could it be a form of malware that hampers your team’s ability to perform at their highest levels?

When leaders fail to confront under-performance, the result can be a culture where excuses, double stan­dards, and an attitude of “that’s close enough” are the norm.

Evidence from organizational performance and human capital studies is startling: Unless your organization is ranked consistently at the top of your industry, it’s likely that anywhere from one of every three of your employees to as many as two of every three of your employees are disgruntled or disengaged.

Organizational dysfunction sucks $300 billion annually out of companies. What this means to you is that your culture could be costing you as much as a 10% difference in your bottom line.

Four Type of Employees

I believe there are four groups of employees (including owners and partners) in any organization:

  1. The rock stars – These employees are “all in;” they’re the ones you count on, and the ones who are up for the challenge of helping the organization achieve its vision.
  2. The skeptics – It’s not that this group of employees isn’t willing. They’ve just seen this movie before, the one where the leader gets excited about a new initiative for a few weeks, then loses interest and moves on to the next new thing. This group of employees wants to believe; they simply question their leader’s commitment.
  3. The complacent – This group of employees includes those who are comfortable (some might say lazy) and those fearful of change. “We’ve never done that before,” they say. Like the skeptics, winning them over will take time and a rock-solid commitment to new practices.
  4. The saboteurs – These employees think “no,” say “yes” and then work behind the scenes to undermine the organization. Those in this group can be high-performers who choose to not play by the rules. All saboteurs must be identified and removed from the organization.

How Well Do You Know Your Workforce?

If you were asked to assign a percentage representing the number each of these four employee groups constitute in your workforce, how would you answer?

Would your direct reports agree?

Every organization has a saboteur or two. What’s preventing you from removing those inside your organization today?

Read Greg’s article in Texas CEO

In the current issue of Texas CEO, I examine the bottom-line impact of disengagement, dysfunction and disruption.

What are the 10 warning signs?

I provide simple yet powerful steps leaders can take now to repel disengagement and help unleash their organization’s full potential.

Read the entire article here.

About the Author: Greg Bustin advises leaders of some of the world’s most admired companies, and he’s dedicated a career to working with CEOs and the leadership teams of hundreds of companies in a range of industries. He’s facilitated more than 200 strategic planning sessions, and he’s delivered more than 500 keynotes and workshops on five continents. His fifth leadership book—How Leaders Decide: A Timeless Guide to Making Tough Choices—examines 52 of history’s greatest triumphs and tragedies and debuted in April as the #1 new historical reference book on Amazon.

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