There are many management tomes that seek to identify the one key component of success.  With it you succeed.  Without it, you fail.

A few include:

  • Strategic vision
  • Superb organizational skills
  • Operational and financial insight
  • Strong culture
  • Execution

I have two personal favorites from this short list: strong culture and execution. They play an important role in our LeadershipInsight candidate screening process for CEOs and other senior leaders.

At one point in my recruiting career, I was of the mind that execution was everything.  It is still important.  If a leader and his team cannot execute, then you can have a great plan, good people with strong operational and financial insight, and still fail.  But over the years of recruiting, I have come to the conclusion that the number one on the list of “must haves” for a successful leader is an appreciation of the importance that culture plays in differentiating an organization from their competitors.  They also must be able to execute – to develop a culture that embodies their mission, vision and values.

George Bradt, the father of the term onboarding, a key strategy for recruiting, enhancing value, and retaining top talent, has written that competitors can steal your best people.  They can copy your processes or move a key product or service to the next level that leaves you marginalized.  But they can never copy or replicate your culture.  It is what makes a company unique – for better or worse.

CEOs who lack a deep understanding of the importance of vibrant, engaging culture and/or an inability to instill a winning formula for their organizations, will fail.  It may be later than sooner but it will happen.

Developing and sustaining a positive culture is not a mystical “you are born with it” quality.   You can learn this.

© 2012 John Gregory Self

To invite John Self to be a speaker at your meeting or function, contact Kathleen Sullivan of The Sullivan Group in Houston.  John is an entertaining and informative speaker who talks about leadership, current events, and life’s wonderful ironies in a speech that is laced with humor and satisfying stories regarding the challenges we all face. He consistently receives high ratings for his presentations.