Enemies of Effective Company Cultures — Ideas from James Heskett

Effective Company Cultures are Vital

Think and Build Effective Company CulturesBuilding effective company cultures are vital, particularly in success over a long-term and in the creation of  longstanding, defensible moats of competitive advantage.  I enjoy writing about company cultures because they are so important to a company’s success, but also because they are great fun when done well.

As Charlie Munger often says, it is often helpful to think about the opposite of what you are trying to accomplish, or “Invert, always invert.”  Donald Keough did this in his book The Ten Commandments of Company Failure that described ten things sure to make your company fail.  I referred to a story from that book in this blog post about a perfect financial structure for a company.  When creating effective company cultures, it is helpful to think about what one would do if you were trying to create a very poor company culture.

Enemies of Effective Company Cultures

I was reminded of this when learning about a book by James Heskett titled The Culture Cycle.  Mr. Heskett writes about things that are the enemy of effective company cultures:

  • Inconsistent leadership behavior
  • Ineffective measurement and action
  • Arrogance borne of pride and success
  • Too rapid growth
  • Too little growth
  • Non organic growth
  • Failure to maintain a small-company “feel”
  • Frequent leadership turnover
  • “Outsider” leadership thinking

All good things to avoid when building your company’s culture.