Business culture wars: Who wins?

Business culture wars: Who wins?

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If you’re a CEO or senior executive, here’s a big question for you: Are your employees frozen by a fear of failing to meet specific goals? And if so, is there an alternative to the performance-based culture that’s so common across the corporate world?

What are you obsessing over?

I’ve been an avid reader of Harvard Business Review (HBR) ever since completing my Executive MBA at the London Business School. And I was intrigued by a recent article from a company president and CEO that suggested companies create a growth culture, not a performance-obsessed one.

HBR’s articles are always fascinating and very useful for my work. In fact, I have applied some of their theory to my clients’ businesses many times. What’s more, I think this particular article hits on a crucial business issue.

The article by Tony Schwartz of The Energy Project makes some compelling arguments: In a competitive, complex, and volatile business environment, companies need more from their employees than ever. But is a culture focused on performance the best, healthiest, or the most sustainable way to fuel results?

Schwartz encourages us to think about a growth culture that blends an environment where it feels safe to be vulnerable, with a focus on continuous learning, includes time-limited manageable experiments, and applies constant feedback to help individual growth.

Avoiding blind spots

The article makes some excellent points. But I think we need to reframe the issue. Rather than choosing between cultures based on performance or growth, I think we need something else.

To my mind, the most pressing need is for companies to avoid making objectives become the end and not the means.


Please read the full article on SME Web.

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