By Jose Ruiz
Jose Ruiz serves as Alder Koten’s Chief Executive Officer providing vision, strategic direction and the roadmap for the firm’s future. He is also involved in executive search work focused on board members, CEOs and senior-level executives; and consulting engagements related to leadership and organizational effectiveness helping clients create thriving cultures.
Business ideology is the foundation of business and organizational values. Before starting a company, mindfully developing a business ideology would greatly help in running it from inception to maturity. However, many founders do not consciously consider it, which later can cause issues among managers with different ideologies.
First things first, a company’s ideology can be traced back to its mission statement, philosophy, and code of ethics. Those three elements would serve as the framework for the operational values with which behaviors, decisions, and activities will be based upon.
Google, for instance, has a strong mission statement, “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Google’s business philosophy includes “fast is better than slow” and “democracy on the Web works.” Moreover, its most famous principle is “do no evil.” Those values encompass the overall business ideology, which is reflected in their products and strategies.
Zappos, on the other hand, has a strong consumer service philosophy, where every employee is given the prerogative to serve the customers beyond “textbook” performance. Every employee is given the discretion to serve customers with their best judgment.
For example, when a customer bought a pair of boots for her husband’s funeral, the Zappos employee sent her flowers on behalf of the company. Zappos’ strong business philosophy provides a strong foundation for employees to go the extra mile every single time without having to request for a supervisor’s approval.
Under Steve Jobs, Apple operated under the philosophy of “not asking customers because they do not know what they want.” This innovation philosophy was responsible for the popularization of iPod, iPad, and iPhone. And —yes— Steve Jobs did change the history of how we buy and enjoy digital files, ranging from audio to video files, and communicate using mobile phones. This philosophy of “we know better than customers” remains Apple’s strong underlying ideology, which explains why their products are disruptive in the technology industry.
Google’s code of ethics or code of conduct further expands how to behave in specific situations, such as conflicts of interest, customer service, and confidentiality. Zappos and Nordstrom have the similar code of conduct about “going the extra mile” when dealing with the customers. As long as a customer’s best interest is taken care of, the decision is considered favorable.
With those three elements of business ideology as guidelines, employees can perform with more confidence. However, when a business is run by managers with different ideologies, conflicts would arise. The leader of the company, thus, is expected to mitigate differences, preferably long before they occur.
At least three things a leader can do when dealing with different business ideologies.
First, hiring the right person with the right temperament and the right ideology. This would reduce the possibility of problematic ideological implementation right from the start.
Second, leading with examples. Actions speak louder than words. A leader who acts according to the values would bring followers together like an orchestra conductor. Thus, being aware of the values at all times would greatly help in making everyday decisions.
Third, fixing errors immediately. Whenever an action is not based on the approved ideology, fix it on the spot. Don’t wait for the next performance meeting. This way, the team member would understand what should have been done differently.
At last, managing with ideological differences requires more than alertness of whether an action is in alignment or not. It requires an in-depth understanding of what the ideology is and how it is applied in behaviors, decisions, and actions.
About Alder Koten
Alder Koten helps shape organizations through a combination of research, executive search, cultural & leadership assessment, and other talent advisory services. The firm was founded in 2011 and currently includes 6 partners and over 28 consultants in 4 cities. The firm’s headquarters are located in Houston and it has offices in Guadalajara, Monterrey, and Mexico City with partner firms in New York, Boston, Chicago, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Hong Kong, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and United Kingdom. We know where to find the executives you need and how to attract top talent to your organization. Our approach to executive search is based on a thorough understanding of the strategic, cultural, financial and operational issues our clients face. Our executive search engagements are targeted and focused on the specific requirements of the position including industry and functional experience, skills, competencies, cultural fit, and leadership style. Our process is rigorous. We take a disciplined and structured approach to identifying potential candidates that meet the position requirements including subject-matter, functional and regional expertise. We use our high-level professional networks, industry knowledge, and internal research resources to achieve results in every executive search engagement.This is a text block. Click the edit button to change this text.