SBM Articles


Will or Should Your Culture Last?

by Jonathan Jones

Few cultures are lasting, but most cultures change as people come and go. Should your current culture last?

Most industries have up and down cycles, and the changes outside the organization force changes that the typical culture does not respond to easily. If you have a great, healthy culture, why wouldn’t we want it to last?

Jim Collins, author of “Good to Great,” identified three elements of great organizations: superior performance, distinctive impact and lasting endurance. Great organizations significantly outperform their industry or peer organizations.

They make a distinctive impact on the community they serve. One way to identify this is if your customers and communities tell you they cannot imagine a world without your organization. It must be extremely difficult to replace this culture with another organization.

To have lasting endurance, an organization must be able to last through three to four leadership generations. Most organizations barely last past two generations. Most leaders do not think past their own leadership. Great leaders do.

If you are confident the other two elements are in place, the first step is to ensure you are the best leader you can be, developing yourself and committing to coaching and mentoring your next generation of leaders. Be extremely clear on your vision and values that guide all leaders and employees. Don’t let anyone join or stay in the organization if their values differ from your healthy culture.

Think consciously about your heir apparent. A deliberate leadership development program is essential for developing cultures. If you don’t know who your heir apparent is, be prepared to find and develop that person. For the sake of your great culture, developing leaders should be your most important role as a leader.

Jonathan Jones ( or 314-608-0783) is a CEO peer group chair/coach for Vistage International.

Submitted 145 days ago
Categories: categoryCulturecentric Leadership
Views: 133