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Archive for February, 2011

Attaining goals will not bring about a culture of success.

But creating a successful culture will guarantee your ascent to and achievement of your targeted goals.

I’m just back from New Orleans, my most recent event, with a company that gets it.

My time  with Checkpoint Systems – an expanding global company specializing in Loss Prevention and Retail Security – was one of the most satisfying experiences in my 20 years in the business.

From the first conversation I had with my client the experience was a delight.

As always, I arrived on site early and began doing my anthropological “snooping”, learning what I could in order to deliver the best presentation possible. My first discovery: Checkpoint is “all about the customer”, it’s that simple. This was evidenced not only in the way the people talk about focus on customers but also by the kinds of retail customers they support and what “they” say about Checkpoint.

 

Learning the Culture

This was a New Orleans jazz event, a typical mixer with everyone engaged and entertained. But I noticed a difference from similar events I had attended. I was never left alone but shepherded from place to place, treated as a special guest, constantly being introduced to new people. Everywhere I went, everyone raved about their colleagues, the company and its leadership. Most remarkable of all: they appeared to be absolutely genuine. Totally sincere.

It quickly became apparent that these people were in a special culture, one that lives and breathes what I call The Experience Adventure. The quest, the ultimate ascent that never stops…

And because of the Checkpoint ‘cultural environment’, when it came time for me to talk, I knew a unique stage had been set for me to stand and deliver.

What can I say? Quite possibly, this may have been the best audience I have experienced. They laughed at my attempts at humor and interacted easily, breaking into spontaneous applause several times during the presentation.

At the end, this group once again demonstrated how Checkpoint ‘cultural environment’ was special—they did not rise but leaped to their feet in an enthusiastic standing ovation.  And they kept clapping.

All I could do was stand in the spotlight. And clap back.  I was compelled to applaud their open, adventurous attitude.

 

 

The Checkpoint Systems relationship reinforced my belief that an impacting presentation is not a speech, it is an experience designed to set the stage for an energetic conversation between speaker and listeners. The experience’s success has as much to with the quality of the audience as it does with the presentation. If I was good that day it was because they were terrific.

Who are these guys?

It was time for my second discovery. I decided to attend the awards banquet to continue my snooping. I was surprised to learn how many folks in the room had defected from the other major competitors and joined this company.  When I asked ‘why’ the answer was always the same: “The culture here is people-oriented” and “The culture here is innovation focused.”

It was all about the culture. Clearly, the Checkpoint cultural environment has created and leveraged the two most important assets within an organization:  Intellectual Capital and Human Capital. And their history of success in the global marketplace reflects this solid foundation.

This brings me to the final discovery—the leadership.  The leadership team at Checkpoint has found just the right mix, the simple solution: Pay attention to the culture. In this case, innovation, relationships and a light touch.  Define and create the cultural environment and the right people will come…. and the business performance will follow. This cultural formula works for an international organization like Checkpoint but it also can work its magic for organizations of any size – from workgroups within a department to a home business with only an employee or two.

Lessons Learned:

Make numbers your ultimate goal and you may win the spreadsheet and hit the mark but you may very well lose your people

— and the game.

Pay attention to people and process…. and the numbers will follow.

Create a vital culture and the mountain top is guaranteed!


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