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Does culture stand the test of time? I believe the world continues to change and I believe that culture will change along with the workforce. I think the concepts of producing a quality product and treating employees with respect are foundations that should last through the life span of the business. To make a company great, you have to take a hard look at what you are doing and determine what needs to change. According to Jim Collins in “Good to Great”, It is more important to figure out the who rather than the where. What you have on your bus is crucial.
David Maxwell took over Fannie Mae in 1981 and they were losing $1 million a day. He interviewed all of the staff and told them there were only room for managers who would give an A+ effort on the bus. He told them now is time to decide either you get on the bus or you jump off. 14 out of 26 employees jumped off the bus. These positions were filled by the smartest, best and hardest-working employees he could find. The results were towards the end of his career with Fannie Mae in 1991, they were making $4 million a day. Even after he left, they still maintained the levels of success because of the people he had hired.
Sometimes the culture does have to change for the survival of the company. There are life stages in business just like in life. There is the infancy stage where the idea for the business is formed and shaped and the commitment is there because the founders are there. Then the business moves into mid-life and there the company is faced with problems of succession. The founders do not want to let go and the new CEO wants to make changes that he feels will benefit the business. The next stage is maturity and this is where the business faces the decline. This is where it is important to look at the culture and take the business from good to great. This is done by examining the issues and making hard decisions.
I believe some parts of the culture can survive but everything has to morph and change with the times or it will just be swallowed up by the competition.
Collins, J. (n.d.). Good to Great. Jim Collins – Articles – Good to Great. https://www.jimcollins.com/
Schein, E. H. (2017). Organizational culture and leadership. Wiley.
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