Culture is the Small Guy’s Advantage

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When you know that your company will never be the low-cost producer nor will it ever have enough cash to outspend the big cat, there’s no choice but to find other ways to skin that cat. Thousands of small to medium sized businesses are successfully doing this. “How?” you ask. The answer lies within those factors that do not require fat bank accounts. There are far more than you think.

I’ll start with leadership. A good CEO costs no more than a bad one – sometimes far less when you consider costly mistakes and lucrative severance packages. The same argument can be made for strategies. The very best strategies aren’t generated by outside strategic planning consultants who bill thousands of dollars a day. These strategies come from the inquisitive mindsets of founders, entrepreneurs, and employees who are keen to make a difference.

Stop trying to transform culture – build on existing strengths

Marcus Buckingham

During a recent keynote, Jeb Dasteel, Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer at Oracle Corporation, said something that gave me pause. “Don’t try to change the culture,” Dasteel urged the hundreds of change agents gathered in a hotel conference room. “Exploit it.”

Dasteel went on to explain that, while building a customer experience strategy inside Oracle — a company that had historically valued its intellectual property more than its customers, he chose to leverage the prevailing engineering mindset instead of trying to change the organizational culture, as so many of us might be tempted to do. “I couldn’t change the culture if I wanted to,” he said.