Company Culture — in Pursuit of Excellence or Workplace Health?

Big Red Car here.  Going to be a bang up day in the ATX.  Lovely bright sunshine everywhere, bit of a breeze and a nice balmy warm 96F.  Great convertible weather, no?  Take that hint, Boss, and let’s get some miles on the old Big Red Car today.

So, we are musing about the subject of Company Culture again, ya’ll.

The Boss gets an email from one of his CEO pals who says:  “WTF, Boss, why are we doing this again?”

Company Culture WTF?

Company Culture is the personality of a company and is often discussed in terms of esprit de corps, morale, joy de vivre, spirit or enthusiasm.

It is the scent of the air, the vibration in the building.

A healthy Company Culture is a driver of excellence in much the same way that an elite military unit, such as Special Forces, is distinguished by a culture which is all about excellence.  So let’s think of Company Culture as workplace excellence or workplace health also?  Can we do that?

Pursuit of excellence in all things

If a healthy Company Culture can be a driver of excellence where is it found, Big Red Car?  ‘Splain this to me, Big Red Car.

Well, Old Sport, that is the thing — it is found everywhere.

1.  In the smile in the voice of the receptionist when she answers the phone or welcomes a visitor to your offices.

2.  In a spreadsheet which is both a useful presentation of financial information but also a graphical work of art.  The graphical presentation enhancing the ability to understand and absorb the numbers.

3.  In a training program or lesson wherein a Power Point, work book, flip chart and a test are all done at the highest level of quality.

4.  In the CEO’s preparation and presentation of the current state of the Vision, Mission, Strategy, Tactics, Objectives, Values for a company meeting that may be billed as a celebration of birthdays for folks that month but is an opportunity for the CEO to do some proselytizing.

Well, Old Sport, you can see that the opportunities for excellence are everywhere.  These are just a few examples of what could be many, many, many more such examples.  The pursuit of excellence is possible in every endeavor of the company whether in management, operations, marketing, accounting or any other company function.

Craftsmanship as a frame of reference

Craftsmanship is a good metaphor for how we all approach business.  A craftsman uses his talent, training, experience and pursuit of excellence to develop and deliver a product at a heightened level of craft with each new assignment.

As a craftsman, one evolves from an aspirant to a postulate to a novitiate to an apprentice to a  journeyman and ultimately to a master craftsman.  [Yes, this does sound like becoming a Catholic nun but that is not the Big Red Car’s fault and what did a nun ever do to you anyway?  Haha, Big Red Car, you crack yourself up, now don’t you?]

1.  As an aspirant, you are only considering becoming a craftsman and pursuing a craft.

2.  As a postulate, you are are beginning to explore the specific craft.

3.  As a novitiate, you have stumbled upon your craft and you are beginning to develop the most basic skills under very close supervision.

4.  As an apprentice, you have begun to formally train for the craft and are actually doing it under the close supervision of a master.

5.  As a journeyman, you are able to execute a craft at an acceptable level of performance with minimal supervision.

6.  As a master craftsman, you can do anything within your craft at the highest level of performance, you can train and supervise others both in executing the craft but also in learning and progressing on their journey to mastery.

This craftsmanship frame of reference is almost exactly like the pursuit of excellence within a Company Culture — everyone is getting better and more efficient at their job and that driver is what results in a Special Forces level of commitment and performance.

But, Big Red Car, we are not really that excellent — oops?

Ahhh, the recognition that things are not perfect is the basis for the continuing and continuous development of the Company Culture.  Grasshopper, you will always be developing and refining your Company Culture.  That is perfectly normal.  And, you, Old Sport are not afraid to be just a spot of “normal”, no?

Remember this little gem?  We called it iterative improvement.  It applies to all things — including the development of your Company Culture — and it always will.

This approach — continuing iterative improvement — is a component not only of your own personal and professional “craftsmanship” but also the continuing development of the Company Culture.

OK, Old Sport, that is enough for today because I am headed to a coffee and have to get in the right frame of mind.  After all, I am a master craftsman when it comes to the convertibling trade.  Haha.

But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway?  I’m just a Big Red Car.

Hey, Old Sport, be good to yourself.  Get a bit of vitamin D and call your folks.

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  • johanngauthierakamrrenaissance

    What a refreshing breadth of fresh air Big Red Car !

    We share a similar passion which is using metaphors to muse at higher levels to convey powerful messages. Really, the company culture is as good as the leaders who make themselves vulnerable, day after day. Respect? Bring your heart on the table. Inspire others to excel. I call it #nothingbutexcellence. Setting the bar high enough to end up with just that NBE. Let’s try to drive results without being present and vulnerable. You are clearly an experienced executive and natural leader. I am glad I stumbled on your post. Happy to come back again and again.
    Johann a.k.a MR.Renaissance @gauthierjohann

    • JLM

      .
      Johann —

      Where have you been, my friend, we have been waiting for you. Welcome aboard on the journey to enlightenment and “nothing but excellence”.

      BRC
      .