Culture is YOUR Competitive Advantage

At Keystone, we are culture addicts. Besides spending every day working with awesome companies with great cultures, we enthusiastically read articles and blogs to gain even more insight on what makes a great company culture. This month, two amazing company cultures jumped out at us (and they couldn’t be more different) – Southwest Airlines, and a Tennessee-based fast food chain called Pal’s Sudden Service.

Sales Problem or Something Else?

Here at KeyStone we’ve been privileged to work with a number of great mid-sized companies with long histories of growth and success. Often, we get introduced to these companies when they have somehow gotten stuck. The company’s growth has stalled and they consult us about finding a new Vice President of Sales to build the top line.

Compared to What?

I regularly have breakfast with a friend.  She is a former colleague, we have had many similar life experiences and we have come to know each other quite well.  She always begins our conversations by asking me how I’m doing.  On one particular occasion, instead of giving the usual rote answer of “good” or “fine,” I actually thought about it and asked her, “compared to what?”  She paused and then we both had a good laugh.  The true answer to the question depends on what you are comparing.  I mean, I was not spiraling in depression or dealing with the death of a loved one so, compared to that, I was awesome!  “Compared to what” has now become a bit of a running joke between us and we use it as a response to many questions.   (Just for the record, it’s not an appropriate response to all questions.  For example if you’re asked, “Do these pants make me look fat?”  DO NOT respond with, “Compared to what?”  You’ve been warned…)

Oh No, Not Again!

The Volkswagen environmental cheating scandal that broke in September has thrown Corporate Culture into the spotlight – and not in a positive way.  Some have said Volkswagen’s ‘culture of arrogance’ was to blame, while others simply blame a lack of morals at the top of the company (Fortune Magazine, 2015).  Similar to the Enron and Tyco scandals, many outsiders have weighed in on where the fault lies and how things should be restructured to clean up the mess.

A Belated Graduation Speech to Baby-Boomer Business Owners

This week’s post on KeyStone Search’s Culture, Leadership and Alignment Blog was kindly contributed by Corey Rosen, a 66-year old boomer and founder of the National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO), a nonprofit ESOP organization. Thank you to Mr. Rosen for allowing KeyStone to share his expertise. In addition, thank you to Inc. magazine, the original publishers of this piece.

Graduation speeches have come and gone again, urging young grads to go out and pursue their dreams. Well, you did that. You built a successful company that has created financial security for your family, jobs for employees, taxes for your community, and useful products and services for your customers.

When Change and Culture Clash, Communication is Key

I recently read a 2006 Harvard Business Review article titled “The Seasoned Executive’s Decision Making Style” which discussed the ways in which executive’s leadership styles change as they advance in their career. This got me thinking about how an executive’s leadership style must adapt when they join a new company with a new culture. When starting a new job, our natural inclination is to hit the ground running and prove ourselves as a worthy new employee. In my experience, this is especially true for newly hired executives, particularly when they’ve taken on a higher level of leadership and responsibility. In some cases new executives are hired to help guide the company through change, such as an aggressive growth plan, a new initiative or because the incumbent executive was just not getting the job done. In most cases, the new executive has been hired to continue a progression of growth and acceleration in the company. In both scenarios, the new hire is often given a series of goals and responsibilities to carry out within the first few months of his or her tenure.

Business First, Human Resources Second

I have been fortunate to work with a number of great companies, helping them hire their first “strategic” Human Resources leader. These clients have not been start-ups or very small companies; all were long-standing, reputable and successful companies, with over $100M in revenue.  For varying business reasons each had decided it was time to elevate the HR function.

Mass Extinction?

According to a study published a month ago in Science Advances, the earth is in the midst of a mass extinction, one that rivals the extinction of the dinosaurs some 65 million years ago.  The study reveals that since 1900, 69 mammal sp…

Let’s Retire Touchy-Feely and Kumbaya Once and For All

This week’s post on KeyStone Search’s Culture, Leadership and Alignment Blog was kindly contributed by Leigh Bailey, founder and CEO of The Bailey Group. The Bailey Group partners with CEOs and their executive teams to provide clarity and alignment during uncertain times, ensuring that companies can navigate their current situations while building new business models. Leigh is passionate about executive coaching. He left a successful 10-year career in banking management to pursue his passion for helping leaders achieve maximum potential for themselves and their organizations. After 25 years, he is still coaching.

Visit The Bailey Group.