Building an enduring company is supposed to look easy to its customers, be rewarding for its employees, and be beneficial for its stakeholders. In reality, it is really difficult to establish and grow a business and a brand that is long lasting.
Today, we live in a world of mistrust. People are cautious of corporate institutions and question the bad behavior of some of our elected officials. As leaders, we must establish clarity of purpose for our business and our country to overcome that wariness.
We need to be clear and transparent with our values, shared commitments, and goals. We also need to hold ourselves to the standards we set and reward our employees for living them.
But it’s not just about writing down a mission statement and a few core values for your team.
The only way you can effectively execute on that mission and live those values is by building trust through a common language and by working diligently on communication within your organization. And, most important, you need buy in from everyone. The board, the executive team and the employees all need to buy in. Then together, you all have to work toward living that vision every – single - day.
How do you get that buy in? I am a big believer in a corporate culture that fosters innovation and growth through ownership. I am not just referring to equity ownership, but also about allowing employees to own their careers and their future within the business. Encourage them to take on the projects they want to tackle, whether those projects are defined within their current role or not, and support them to achieve great success. Let them stretch their limits and explore their talents. This rewards the employee both personally and professionally, simultaneously benefiting the business as new ideas are generated and employees take a greater stake in the success of their company.
And then you keep building, you keep pushing upwards and you keep rewarding the team for their commitment. It’s not about the sprint, it is about the long haul. It’s about working each and every day toward building a strong team and an innovative company that will endure. It’s realizing that every company stumbles but great ones can rally around their core value, their purpose and become even better.
What great businesses do you see out there that are truly living their values? Who will be around and still relevant in the next 20 years?
(Daniel Rosensweig, President and CEO Chegg.com, LinkedIn, January 04, 2013)