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CEO Hires People Just Like Him, Only to Hate the Way They Act

Posted by Dr. Holly Latty-Mann on

Want a culture change? Company culture is a function of the personalities of the top few who influence morale. There is good news. Oftentimes it is a matter of creating a one-by-one tipping point. Here’s how it works within a company of key players who all sport strong, demoralizing personalities.

Scenario 1:  Sales manager isn’t pulling her numbers in according to this quarter’s set goals. Turns out her team avoids working with her whenever possible and tells her only what she wants to hear, thereby culminating in her decisions being made based on false data, and thus the false projections.

Scenario 2:  Quality Assurance manager is shocked at the promises made by the sales team members on products his engineers have not yet developed. Everybody witnesses the shootout in Not-OK corral between the aforementioned sales manager and the quality assurance manager. Turns out both strong personalities have been enabled by the CEO who for some reason had never noticed it as a problem before. (Be thinking how several skunks at a social don’t seem to notice an odor problem the way the other non-skunks do.) 

Scenario 3: When profit margins suffer, often times it’s the sales guy who gets the finger (as in, being targeted as the source of the problem, I should add). But in this case, I forgot to mention that all the younger engineers working for the quality assurance manager had been too afraid to say the product is not ready for orders until it was too late (i.e., the orders were taken, and the customer has become impatient and angry, mainly because their own client base has to be informed that their much coveted Widget#B2B_BSBS does not yet exist). 

Solution: To take a culture of fear and blame and transform it into one of trust, passion, and ownership involves the key people recognizing they could very well be the skunks. Not all leadership programs are created equally and thus some are not the solution. However, find one that has measures and processes that can drive 360° feedback to the subconscious as well as the conscious awareness. Find one that has processes that can connect the head to the heart, so that key decision-makers aren’t saying they can only get “it” intellectually but not emotionally. These kinds of programs allow their attendees to hear the truth without a defensive posture and thus feel the motivation to step up to the plate of a new-found passionate ownership, where trust becomes the by-product.

When one strong personality changes, it sometimes can negate the need for others to experience a leadership development program. In other instances, it could be a matter of only 2 or 3 personalities who tend to control the company’s culture, and when they share a new common conceptual framework and terminology through a leadership workshop that really works, their new impact will trickle down, up, and sideways to shape a new culture that drives out fear and blame, and replaces it with a positive-energy drive akin to trust-based passionate ownership. That’s real freedom.

It’s also a lot cheaper than having the CEO hire two top-level people in hopes of creating a better culture. Develop your talent. Most strong personalities who are inadvertently hurting others truly believe their style is one of passion, not realizing there are better brands of passion, ones laced with trust and trustworthiness.