Good-cultured companies are rare but they exist #TWBR

by | Feb 21, 2016

Most startups and budding entrepreneurs tailor most of their business operations to imitate other companies that they term to be successful at what they do. While it works for some,  it might not work for all and most times it isn’t beneficial to all.

It’s another week for #TWBR and ‘Built to Last’ is still in focus. Today I want to share foundational truths I have gotten from my read so far.

Goals should be well spelt out and developed with the team in mind

In ‘Built to Last’, visionary companies were observed to have ‘Big Hairy Audacious Goals‘ (BHAG) which are clear, compelling and more likely to stimulate progress. Some of the key questions the visionary companies answered concerning goals set are:

  • Does it stimulate forward progress?
  • Does it create momentum?
  • Does it get people going?
  • Does it get people’s juices flowing?
  • Do they find it stimulating, exciting and adventurous?
  • Are they willing to throw their talents and human energies into it?
  • Does it fit into our core ideology?

Having a goal isn’t enough to stimulate progress, the level of commitment to the goal is also crucial to the successful completion of the goal.
Quick warning: Don’t set BHAGs with outsiders, set it with insiders (staff/team) in mind to avoid your goals just becoming a fuss.

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Culture isn’t cultism

The beauty of not building a company around it’s founders is that the process of goal initiation stimulates progress not based on the founders capacities, thereby making it possible for the business to outlive the CEOs.

Is it safe to observe company culture like a cult? Some organisations have successfully created cultures within the system that shows in the work of each employee and their relationship with fellow staff, clients and customers. This practice, some say is successful due to democratic mode of leadership.

Like IBM and Nordstrom, the Walt Disney Company has made extensive use of indoctrination, tightness of fit, and elitism as key parts of preserving its core ideology – Built to Last

Studies have shown that companies that have internal socialisation and training programs (introduction to company’s traditions, philosophies, organisation, and the way we do business) for new members of their teams create families and not workforces.

Nobody’s been hired for a job. Everybody’s been cast for a role in our show – Disney Trainer
Visionary companies translate their ideologies into tangible mechanisms aligned to send a consistent set of reinforcing signals. They indoctrinate people, impose tightness if fit, and create a sense of belonging to something special through such practical concrete items – Built to Last

It is important to state that culture is a way of living that one is accustomed to. Visionary companies over the years have created their own language that suits the culture within the system.

I am enjoying my ride with ‘Built to Last’, learning and seeing lessons to gain and solid experiences to back up each concept shared in the book.

Till the next and final review for the book, keep reading and share lessons gained also by dropping a comment below.

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Emmanuel Ogunsola
Emmanuel Ogunsola

I love telling stories using text, pictures and videos. It’s all about the little details.


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