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a blog by Chris Barrow

A year ago…

A rash of calls and emails recently about the performance and/or behaviour of team members. Always mindful of the late Stephen Covey’s expression “if there is a problem with the team, the problem is you!” Harsh maybe – but a closer examination of circumstances will often reveal that truth. There are two types of organisations:

  1. those that have a strong brand, core values, mission, plan and goals – what we at BKH call ‘The Culture’

  2. those that have none

There seems to be no middle ground – you can’t have half a plan can you? So in the first case, I would qualify Covey’s statement and say that if team members:

  1. have been informed an educated on ‘The Culture’ and

  2. asked to accept/join in as a condition of employment or contract

…then they must make a choice – they are either on the bus or off the bus. Yes – that means all support team without exception and by the way, also includes self-employed sub-contractors such a permanent career associates, former principals turned associate or part-time hygienists/therapists and peripatetic specialists. You can’t swan in, swan out and not play the game. And an owner who tolerates that will experience an unpleasant and inexorable banquet of consequences. So – zero tolerance for those who will not become part of a well-expressed Culture. However, if your business has no Culture – then as an owner you are not allowed to complain when team members don’t live up to imaginary expectations. The opposite of Culture is Anarchy. Contrast exactly a year ago, when I landed at London City airport after a dental practice visit in Luxembourg, to be told by my cab driver that our trip to Marylebone was going to take longer than usual because London was burning. For the following two days I worked in the West End and was obliged to retire to my hotel room in the evenings and watch police chasing rioters along the street outside. Here we are today, celebrating and enjoying London 2012 – same location but a different experience. A year ago we witnessed anarchy (and the frightening way in which it can become contageous). Today we witness The Culture of the Olympic movement and way in which millions have gathered to celebrate what is good about the UK. What a difference a year makes…

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