Just recently I was asked to share my thoughts on culture, and one of the questions was “Do you think Culture is important and deserves the reputation it has”.
My answer was undoubtedly. I would even go so far as to say that culture should have a bigger reputation than it doesn.
Culture is what determines long term success in teams and organisations. You can often see this with sports where teams are successful over a long period, longer than the career of anyone play. For example I wouldn’t say that Chicago Bulls had a great culture that helped them to win, they won because they had Michael Jordan, possibly the best player ever to play, and since his departure they have not even made the finals let alone won it.
Culture is is what allows teams and organisations to keep winning, even though the personal can change.
Leadership defines culture, and as long as there is someone maintaining the right culture then success will continue.
One of my favourite examples is Southwest Airlines. They are one of the only US Airlines never to file for chapter 11 bankruptcy and they have had 47 years of consecutive years of profitability, and no other airlines comes even close.
How do they do that, the simple answer is culture. They have a culture that is aligned with their vision, the goals and strategy and it’s one that their staff believe in and buy into.
This is the power of culture, and culture is the legacy of great leadership.
Great leadership doesn’t just look at short term results, it looks to the long term as well and it focuses on doing the right things the right way. When you get everyone in your organisation doing that, then the momentum you create becomes unstoppable.
Also when you have an organisation doing things the right way, even with a change of leader the success can continue – unless they look to change the culture, or direction of the company.
The culture we define doesn’t just impact the results that are achieved during our tenure, bit they can influence the results long after we have gone, and that is really the legacy of our leadership