Posted by: drewdice | November 2, 2010

A rolling stone gathers no Moss…..but a rolling Moss can cripple your culture

You have heard me say it before; let this be the next of many times you hear it again: The culture of an organization is the single most powerful driver (or halter) of an organization’s success.

Is talent important? Yes. More important than a winning culture? No chance.
Are systems and processes necessary? You bet. More important than a winning culture? Nope.

Building a winning culture is critical, and also not easy. Among other things, winning cultures require stellar leadership and alignment across an organization, two things which many companies struggle with mightily on a day to day basis. It is too easy to recruit that one missing piece to the puzzle who shows up with a shining resume, full of past accomplishments (closed sales, growth achieved, records broken, profits gained…) BUT, does that person fit the company culture? Does she value the same elements upon which the firm was built? Does he truly understand what is means to be part of the team? Has the organization come to grips with what it will mean to have this person as a part of the team, weighing the pros, cons and associated risks?

If you can’t see the connection between the two, here is a current example: Randy Moss.

From a talent standpoint, he is one of the best wide receivers the game of professional football has ever seen (when he wants to play…don’t forget that Randy once expressed that “He will play when he wants to play”)

Recently, the Minnestoa Vikings traded to get Moss, thinking he could be the one last piece of the puzzle needed to bring a Super Bowl Championship to Minnesota. That experiment lasted all of 3 weeks. The head coach announced that Moss was off the team, and this occurred, seemingly, without the coach ever consulting the team executive leadership and owner. How does that happen?

What a mess. Players are distracted and confused. Fans are confused and unsure of the team’s commitment and direction. The team lost a 3rd round draft pick for 3 games of subpar performance. By the way, I’m not saying this is Moss’ fault. He is what he is, and does not try to pretend anything else. The Vikings should have known something like this would happen. Moss’ talent does not outweigh the distractions and chaos he can create inside an organization.

In your firm, do you have the Moss effect? One of the problems for organizations is that when they have top producers who are also cultural cancers, the firm leaders sometimes lack the discipline and courage to act, not focusing on all of the negative by-products this producer creates in the organization.

So, where to start to prevent the “Moss Effect” from plaguing your firm? A good look at the Mission, Vision, Values and Goals of the firm is a great place to start. From there, definitions around leadership, strategic intent and creating a nimble and well aligned firm can flow. Again, this is not easy, and the pain of correcting what is not operating correctly can be excrutiating, but I promise you, the short term pain is worth enduring if you truly aspire to build a winning team (for the long run).

Please share your what you have seen (positively or negatively) with this phenomenon….



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