Enduring Teams and Businesses are Built on Solid Foundations

Like a well-built home, teams and businesses require a solid foundation if they want to be successful over time. Even a home constructed with the best possible materials, will not stand when the inevitable storms come if they do not have a solid foundation. Storms come to all teams and businesses, and by the same token, even if they have all of the best people in the world working for them, the ones that lack a solid foundation cannot be salvaged.

The foundation for a team or business is the culture they build rather than the cement used in housing foundations. Since you cannot build a culture out of cement the culture must be reinforced daily through rituals and actions. Unlike cement, your team or business’s culture is a living breathing foundation, but it can be every bit as strong as a cement foundation with proper care.

At this point, you may be asking what I mean by proper care. Once the core values are established and a system of justice is in place, proper care consists of adherence to those values at all times. It starts at the top and if ANYONE fails to comply with the values that have been established, they are subject to the justice system (re: consequences) you have established previously.

If you are very specific in your values and the form of justice used, it will enable you to take emotion out of difficult decisions and make those decisions easy. I have seen many teams dismiss star players who ran afoul of their values. If there was no clear structure to do this, many leaders would blink and make an exception. In my experience, doing this just once can cause you to lose your team.

Conversely, I have seen teams let star players go for violating their team’s principles, which builds the fabric of your culture, as it shows that you will “walk your talk.” This lets everyone know that they are not above the team and sets the tone for your values, proving that they are not simply hollow words that espouse great things.

Unfortunately, most teams and businesses give lip service to culture and are resistant to taking the measures necessary to build a strong foundation. If there was a line to stand in for teams and businesses that want to be successful, it would stretch far and wide. While the line for teams and businesses that are willing to make the hard choices necessary to build a strong foundation would be nearly empty.

As Abraham Lincoln said, “You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” When it comes to the hard decisions required to build a solid foundation, this is sadly what most teams and businesses do every day.

Ask yourself what kind of organization you want to be. If you want to lead a team or business in a way that promotes success that endures, it is imperative that you make the hard decisions up front that lead to a reinforcing culture mentioned above.


You can follow Sam on Twitter @SuperTaoInc



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