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Paula Marshall's Blog

The musings of a female CEO, trying to change the way business is done.

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“A goal centered organization is focused on continuous improvement rather than individual credit or blame.” In this clip from NBC’s The Office, Michael a.k.a. “Willy Wonka” is searching for individual credit for his marketing idea, and chastising his team for not matching his initiative. This is an example of an Ego-Based Culture. Blame and criticism abound when people don’t live up to the standards set for them by others.

An Ego-centered culture is the one that most American businesses have adopted, not through negligence, but through lack of another alternative. When compensation and bonuses are the highest form of flattery, people begin to think that verbal commendation and praise do not exist. So they base their success and happiness off of bonuses and raises, which they think reflect that they’ve done an admirable job. 

By taking the compensation as a form of flattery, we ignore our inner need to be recognized and praised by a person, and by our community. This forces our compassionate, human voice to bow to our greedy and materialistic voice. In other words, our ego takes hold, and everything in the corporation becomes about individual egos, who is right and who is wrong, instead of what’s right for the customer, and for the consumer.

To move away from this we must institute a “Listening Culture,” where every idea is listened to and heard. When every idea is listened to it strengthens the marketplace of ideas, and produces a better product. Every one in the organization feels valued and that they have contributed to the organization’s future success. Everyone is respected, not just the top managers, or the engineers.

“Corporate performance is not a singular event. Employees, customers and consumers must remain engaged day after day, week after week and year after year. The key is to keep participants from becoming apathetic or dispirited while keeping morale high. This is accomplished by being goal oriented rather than ego oriented.” Finding the Soul of Big Business pp.56

 

These are Bama’s Core Principles for maintaining a Goal Centered Culture:

 

1. Respect. Our community encourages an atmosphere of mutual understanding and respect for every member of the organization, regardless of their role.

 

2. Building up. Our community motivates and strives for improvement by providing positive input and feedback. Managers and coworkers are expected to build people up, not tear them down.

 

3. Value of purpose. Everyone at every level in our community knows they are of value to us. Confidence in their abilities is expressed and they are appreciated for their efforts.

 

4. Optimism. Our community expects members to take chances and face challenges realistically. Everyone is encouraged to honor their better selves by using the unlimited potential of their creative minds to solve problems and continuously improve.

 

5. Involvement. Our community expects everyone to participate. Cooperation is emphasized over competition.

 

6. Commitment. Continuous improvement is a continuous commitment to developing the skills, attitudes, pride, productivity, creativity and involvement of everyone in the community.

 

Implementing these principles, and standing by them to make sure they are put into action and eventually internalized by the culture, is the best road map to becoming a Goal-Centered Organization.

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