Win at all Costs Culture
Winning matters. Everybody loves a winner. Whether competing at sports or at the “game” of business, the goal is to win. But at what cost? How much are you willing to sacrifice to win? Your integrity, your reputation, your livelihood, your freedom?
The Influence of Culture
Culture in sports or culture in business can be a strong influence either for good or for evil. Think of culture as how things truly get done in an organization. It shows in the way people think, behave, and work. Corporate culture includes both the known and unspoken values and assumptions that drive key business practices and behaviors.
Healthy workplace cultures strive to treat their employees and their customers well. When a culture slips into negative values, it becomes toxic and a toxic culture is rarely sustainable or fulfilling.
Culture in Sports
Remember the doping scandal in international cycling? Of the cyclists who finished on the podium during the time Lance Armstrong won the Tour de France from 1999 to 2005, there was only one rider who was not implicated in the scandal. Doping had become part of the cycling culture. In fact, according to a recent New York Times article, “this sport was nearly consumed by doping. In the 1980s and 1990s and deep into this century, one champion after another fell away.” Eventually Lance Armstrong faced the consequences: he was barred for life from competing and stripped of his seven titles.
Culture in Business
Recent news about Boeing raises serious questions about the workplace culture that predominated there. We know of the tragic loss of 346 people in two separate accidents involving Boeing’s 737 Max aircraft. Subsequent investigations have uncovered some very disturbing internal documents. They show how far Boeing was willing to go in order to evade scrutiny by regulators and flight crews despite the alarms sounded by their own employees.
Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Oregon, chairman of the House Transportation Committee, said the documents detail “some of the earliest and most fundamental errors in the decisions that went into the fatally flawed aircraft.” He and others have accused the company of putting profit over safety.
Culture for Good or for Evil
Strong, healthy corporate cultures help companies outperform their peers by guiding decisions according to principles of trust, fairness, and integrity. Strong, unhealthy cultures with a win at all costs culture inevitably hurt performance by allowing decisions that can have devastating consequences – products and practices that are below standard and can even be harmful to users.
As a leader you need to ask whether the workplace culture you have defined and shaped at your organization is helping or hindering the company’s ability to succeed. A healthy corporate culture will help you to execute your business strategy and your ability to attract, engage and retain the talent you need in order to thrive.
The Bottom Line
A win at all costs culture at work is rarely sustainable. Are your leaders promoting the behaviors that drive your strategy and your people forward in a way that makes sense? The choice is up to you.
To learn more about how to create a high performing culture, download the Must Know Levels of a High Performance Culture – The 3 C’s
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