If you are building a management team, pay attention to the culture of the new executives who join you. This is critical.
The culture of an organization is a sum of its constituent parts. So, who you add to the executive cadre matters. They are entrusted with onboarding new staff as well as developing and managing them. They set the tone for product innovation, delivery and sales. So, they will either move the company in the right direction or lead it astray.
By culture, I mean the manager’s ideology, attitude to work and way of life. Those instinctive things they practice every day without needing to be told. The values they hold dear.
Sometimes, culture is environmental.
I’ve noticed that when I travel to the US for executive education programs, everyone comes early to class. And I mean everyone.
Apparently, it is a culture in large US corporations for C-Suite executives to take work seriously. They do not need to be micromanaged about timelines and deliverables. So naturally, they bring the same attitude to the classroom.
There are some cultures where bravery and outspokenness are encouraged in young people. Individuals speak their minds and are independent thinkers. But some African cultures are the exact opposite.
Quite a few Asian cultures promote personal craftsmanship and pride in one’s work. Even the willingness to work late until a job is done. Think Japan.
If you are considering global expansion, it may pay you to look for someone who embodies the cultural traits of a country you admire. They will be harder to find in your nation, if it celebrates negative values.
Sometimes culture is learned from experience.
You will notice how line managers tend to think in terms of process. But, C-Suite managers think about actual output and sales. This is because in the C-Suite, you are charged with strategy.
An executive possesses the ability to see the forest, trees, and leaves. And, they have the inherent capacity to delegate and assign resources. Such people are instinctive cost-cutters.
If you want to grow your company, it might be useful to get a former executive at a similar sized organization to lead operations or to sit on your board.
If you want rapid progression, there are some things you do not have the time to internally train for. You must look for people who already embody the culture you want and who can infuse the same into your system.
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