Owning a business means balancing all sorts of things. We have explored this idea in a few other posts: the Art of Balance that has a starter list of 20 things a business owner must balance such as strategy vs. execution and delegating vs. doing, and another post focused on whether a CEO or business owner should focus inside or outside.
One of the most important is balancing the financial performance with the soul of the company’s culture. These items are not necessarily in opposition, but the time horizons of each may be a little different. Investing in company culture as a competitive advantage can dramatically improve the company’s financial performance, and it can be an investment with a long time horizon.
I was reminded of this Art of Balance when the Publisher of Forbes, Rich Karlgaard, wrote about balancing the hard edge of business (financial rigor) with the soft edge (company culture) in a recent issue of Forbes. Karlgaard wrote:
“A common existential debate exists within most companies and among most managers. It’s between the hard (financial rigor) and soft (sustaining cultural values) edges. Which side (hard or soft) should command the CEO’s attention? There’s a right answer for every company, and it will vary from year to year. But from my observational perch, it’s apparent that far too many CEOs invest too little time in their soft edge. In the long run their companies will pay for this mistake,” writes Karlgaard. The full article can be found here from the January 20, 2014 issue of Forbes.
- Is it Better to Make Employees Fit Roles or Roles Fit Employees? [July 10, 2012]
- Business Strategy Plans Not Working? Top-Down versus Bottom-Up [May 31, 2012]
- Real Leadership Lessons of Steve Jobs – Harvard Business Review [May 25, 2012]
- Construct a Perfect Business, Financially Speaking [April 22, 2012]