Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management

Creating a compelling culture

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Whether you recognize it or not, the organization you work in has a culture. Big or small, every company has beliefs and values that drive its core philosophy.

Top leaders understand the importance of culture and work to ensure their organizations have a great culture. They have an abundance mentality and nurture their teams to grow and progress. They spare no expense in creating a compelling culture.

Compelling Culture

One of the most compelling cultures I know is at Chic-fil-A. They are known nationwide, if not worldwide, for the statement “it’s my pleasure,” which flows naturally from anyone to whom you say, “thank you.”

It's My PleasureThe compelling Chic-fil-A culture is brought to light in the book, IT’S MY PLEASURE: The Impact of Extraordinary Talent and a Compelling Culture by Dee Ann Turner. Ms. Turner focuses much her writing on the history of Chic-fil-A and provides compelling stories of how their culture changes lives. Beyond that, the book provides powerful standards for every organization, with easy-to-follow examples for creating a place where people want to hang out.

For Truett Cathy, founder of Chic-fil-A, it was always about the person—the guest, the team member. He was known to say, “We are not in the chicken business. We are in the people business.”

Creating a compelling culture begins with a clear purpose. Through the years, Chic-fil-A has followed a consistent pattern for creating a great company by:

  1. Building a team that creates a compelling culture: At Chic-Fil-A they focus intently on the “WHO” of the company. They are very careful and methodical about whom they hire, both for their corporate positions and local restaurant jobs. They follow a rigorous six-step process when selecting people to hire, which includes selecting for character, competency and chemistry. They make sure they hire people that fit their culture.
  2. Growing a compelling culture within teams: We all have a purpose. A compelling culture brings out the best in people and helps them find their purpose. Chic-Fil-A has built a culture that helps people find their ‘calling’ in life. A key to their culture is servant leadership. “We recognize the tremendous responsibility not only to lead, but also to serve those we lead.” They create intense loyalty.
  3. Engaging guests in a compelling culture: If you’ve ever been to a Chic-fil-A, you’ve seen how they treat their guests—with honor, dignity and respect. They have built a culture where they create remarkable experiences for their guests. “A kind word, a generous gesture, an inviting smile and a warm handshake can have an immeasurable influence on the people around us.” Their culture keeps guests returning again and again.

Truett Cathy was known to say: “If you help enough people get enough of what they want, you will eventually get what you want.” When you create a culture where people truly enjoy participating, you will have built a compelling culture.

Questions: How strong is the culture in your organization? What are you doing to create a compelling culture? Please leave a comment in the space below.


The Product Management Perspective: A product manager doesn’t normally drive the company’s culture. However, you can have an important impact your company’s culture by creating great products and getting people on other teams excited about what you’re doing. It must come from the heart; if you love what you’re doing, take the time to let people know. Do everything you can to create a compelling product culture at your company.

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