Last Tuesday, Dudley Fleck, President and Chief Executive Officer, led the Monthly Meeting of Fleck Sales executive leadership team. He did, as he consistently does, by starting the meeting asking and receiving answers to questions about Fleck Sales Culture, including its vision, core purpose, strategy statement and core values. He is always disciplined in his approach here. His style is quiet, humble and unassuming. He portrays many of the leadership characteristics Jim Collins out lined in Good to Great as the Level 5 Leader.
When Dudley requests his leadership team to provide answers to Fleck Sales vision, core purpose, strategy statement and core values he’s not looking for a rote answer, a memorized or scripted version of these. Rather he expressly looks for how this person identifies with them. What’s their take or interpretation of what this means to them and to the company.
Dudley diverted from his normal question on Core Values this morning, due to the expansion of Fleck Sales by purchasing Wolfe Distributing, Dudley acknowledged the expanded efforts and roles people had played to make this possible. The purchase of Wolfe Distributing concluded on June 1st. It required many individuals to put in longer hours, to accept responsibility for expanded roles, and ensure Wolfe Distributing employees would feel accepted, receptive, comfortable and most importantly ready to contribute to Fleck Sales ambitious goals for the future.
This morning Dudley, instead of asking for his team to provide their perception of Fleck Sales Core Values, he challenged his leadership team to specifically identify Fleck Sales team members who had contributed to the success of this integration and expansion. There were quite a few names with examples of their contributions offered to support their decision to nominate them. Dudley thanked each member for their selection, in many cases contributing his observation on the endeavors of these individualz. He proceeded to recognize those individuals in the meeting who had escalated their efforts to make the Wolfe Distributing acquisition proceed so smoothly.
Dudley Fleck is driven to trumpet the culture of Fleck Sales. He is fully aware of how important culture is to achieving success in a highly competitive industry. Perhaps his passion and competitive nature can be seen in his hobby, auto racing. His recent Formula Atlantic win at the June Sprints in Elkhart Lake, WI attests to not only his competitive nature, but his winning approach.
Culture in any business is rarely approached as passionately as Dudley does. Because culture cannot be measured it is often overlooked. Dudley embodies the fundamental ideas Patrick Lencioni provided in his book on the value of corporate culture The Advantage.
“Organizational health is the single greatest competitive advantage in any business.”
“I've become absolutely convinced that the seminal difference between successful companies and mediocre or unsuccessful ones has little, if anything, to do with what they know or how smart they are; it has everything to do with how healthy they are.”
Culture isn’t something built in a day, week, or month. It isn’t something that you work on for a while and then put down and move to something else. It needs to have a leader who is relentless, committed and consistent in their approach to leading the team and focusing on the health of their organization. Lencioni notes that, “As a leader, you're probably not doing a good job unless your employees can do a good impression of you when you're not around.”
I can assure you from my experience at Fleck Sales; Dudley's team has a very favorable impression of him.
How do you measure up as the advocate of your company’s culture? Do you have Core Values? More importantly is your company living these core values? Are these behaviors recognized and rewarded in your work environment?
At Positioning Systems we have several exercises to help you identify your Core Values and then a Core Values Advanced Strategy measure their day to day application and relevance in your business.
If your Core Values aren’t alive in your business daily, are they really affecting the team’s behavior?