spotlight

Senn Delaney President and CEO Jim Hart discusses the importance of cultural agility in a HubCulture interview at World Economic Forum in Davos.

Enjoy our latest at your best newsletter. It features our new CEO view from the top video on leading culture with Belgacom CEO Dominique Leroy. Also in this issue, findings of our new study on organizational mindset, and a new CEO report from a year-long global research partnership between Saïd Business School, Oxford, and Heidrick & Struggles.

How do CEOs develop the skills they need to lead in an ever- changing world? To answer that question, Senn Delaney's parent company, Heidrick & Struggles, partnered with the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford to conduct in-depth interviews with more than 150 CEOs representing a wide range of sectors around the world. Findings are published in The CEO Report, one of the most comprehensive, in-depth studies of CEO leadership capabilities.

The longest-serving CEO of a Fortune 500 company, Les Wexner, CEO of L Brands, was recently honored with a lifetime achievement award by Chief Executive Group. Senn Delaney Chairman Dr. Larry Senn examines the leadership traits that Wexner demonstrates, including passion, growth mindset, a benevolent leadership shadow, humility and a higher purpose of doing good while doing well that have contributed to making him one of the best CEOs of the century. Senn also shares Les's insights on leading, winning together, and shaping the L Brands' culture.

To help you, your team and your organization thrive this year, we are pleased to share the best of our 2014 thought leadership and interviews by CEOs on leading culture transformation. Please do share them with your colleagues. Warmest wishes for 2015!

execute strategy

business results and culture are closely linked


Culture plays one of the biggest roles in the success or failure of all strategies and initiatives and in financial performance.

 

A dysfunctional culture is why most major system implementations are behind schedule, over budget and fall short of expectations. It is why new organizational structures don't fully deliver on the promise. It's why new CEOs often fail, and why safety and quality issues persist. It's why companies that don't have service cultures struggle to support growth.

 

The Jaws of Culture
 

Early on, we coined a phrase to describe this phenomenon. We called it the “Jaws of Culture.” All organizations, no matter how successful, have historic habits. While well intentioned, some of those habits get in the way, especially when strategy or operational structure changes or when stretch goals are needed. We call these cultural barriers the “Jaws of Culture.”

 

Dysfunctional organizational habits act like jaws in the culture that can chew up your strategies and initiatives. Some common examples:
 

  • Turf issues, trust issues or silos get in the way when changes require collaboration across the enterprise.
  • Passive-aggressive resistance shows up when major changes need to be implemented quickly.
  • People blame others or make excuses when results aren't where they should be.

 

Strategy, structure and culture
 

We also noted that cultural traits often got in the way when organizations wanted to implement a new strategy or change the structure, such as from a holding company to more of a shared business model. When the strategy of an organization changes, the culture is usually a step or two behind. This lag is like an anchor on a boat and slows progress.  

 

The Senn Delaney process removes the jaws eliminates the lag and creates the right behaviors to best support your business initiatives.

 

Watch video with Senn Delaney Partner and EVp Bill Parsons discussing why strategy, structure and culture must align