One the world’s leading authorities on leadership, talent and culture, John Mattone, who will be part of WOBI on Leadership Mexico next March, answers on cultural transformation and the key role of leaders in this task.
1. When you talk about cultural transformation, what are you referring to? Under what circumstances might a company look to transform its culture?
Always. The need to transform culture and ensure that you always have the culture in place to drive sustained operating success is a never-ending pursuit and business priority. A healthy, vibrant and mature culture will drive success and keep any organization “ahead of the curve”. So many factors are creating “disruption” in all sectors—digitization, globalization, the need to operate at two-speeds (fast in emerging economies; slower in mature economies) and traditional differentiators like size, scope, legacy and market position are no longer differentiators. To stay ahead of the curve, CEO’s and senior teams must always be re-thinking, re-shaping, and reinventing their own purpose but the purpose of the enterprise as well. It is no longer about the company you want to create; it is now much more about the company that you must create.
Disagreements happen daily. They should. It is part of business. It is how ideas are given their stress test. It is how ideas move from good to great. It is how we sell ideas to one another.
Intent isn’t always easy to see in the heat of a debate. Sometimes it is even hard to see before then, but the best working teams set a shared intent from the onset of a project. Trying to find intent during the middle of an argument is much harder. The most collaborative and successful teams know why they get up in the morning. They know why they come to work. They know what they’re charged with. And, most importantly, everyone on the team knows their role.
When most entrepreneurs start a business, they have a clear idea of what they sell and who their customer is. They know what business they are in.
But do you, really? This may sound like a silly question, but stay with me and I’ll show you how two entrepreneurs asked this question and turned a business they started from scratch in their laundry room into the largest wine brand in the world. What is fascinating is they knew nothing about the wine industry.
Bonny Harvey and Michael Houlihan didn’t intend to be in the wine business. They founded Barefoot Wine when they were thrust into the wine business by a client, a grape grower who had not been paid for his grapes. Facing bankruptcy, the grape grower sold his assets to the couple which consisted of bulk wine and bottling services. With no cash and no knowledge of the wine industry, they were forced to, as the saying goes, “make lemonade out of lemons,” albeit in this case, wine from grapes.