The Secret Cultural Imperatives of the Most Admired Organizations in the World (Part 1)

by Dick Blanc

Every year an annual competition is held by Fortune magazine. From a sea of more than 700,000 companies in the world, a scant 50 companies are chosen and annually recognized as “The World’s Most Admired Companies.” They are unquestionably without peer in the industries and communities they serve. Their measured performance and impact are standard deviations above the rest. They possess an enduring advantage that continuously propels them to new heights.  

My previous firm, Accenture, has been on this list for the last 15 consecutive years. In my role, I had the privilege of serving in an advisory capacity to the senior leadership of many of these companies. That position gave me a front-row seat to the qualities and practices that made these organizations the best of the best.

What is the common secret to their success? The answer is their organizational culture.

Secret Cultural Imperatives #1 Blog Header

Each of these companies bears a distinct organizational culture with unique cultural imperatives that provide a clear “roadmap” for exceptional individual and organizational success. I want to share two of those cultural imperatives with you and challenge you to consider whether your own cultural imperatives are driving high or low performance across your church.

Cultural Imperative #1: The Power of Compounding.

In high-performing companies, everyone in the organization is consumed with compounding. All levels of the organization are focused on daily, quarterly and annually multiplying themselves and their scope of impact. There’s excitement and passion at all levels to multiply new customers, new services and new markets that drive exponential growth and impact. If are responsible for serving 5 customers, you find and serve 5 more. If you have responsibility for 5 markets/communities, you have the responsibility to develop and grow another 5 markets. The annual compounded impact at an individual and organization level of this continuous culture of compounding extends from the newest member of the organization to the tenured executive leadership.  

But here’s the key: the cultural focus is on compounding and the outcomes from compounding, not activity. This was true at Accenture, and it is true of the other organizations that reside on the Fortune magazine list.

Let me give you an example:

Google, another perennial member of “The Most Admired Companies” list, is essentially an 18 year old teenager in their organizational life cycle. They are a compounding culture and have been since birth. In 2015 Sergey and Larry got together to further enhance the compounding nature of Google. They sent a strong message to everyone in the Google organization, their suppliers and market they serve when they launched their new holding company, Alphabet. All members of the 18 year old Google organization, a mega company by any definition, became the “G” in the new Alphabet structure. Essentially the compounding challenge to all in Google was, “Yeah, it’s great that we’re Google, but all of us are now challenged to create and multiply new enduring companies, A-F and H-Z. We’re one mega company today, we will continually innovate to create 25 more.” As of this date, they have already created several new companies with a clear cultural roadmap defined by the Alphabet.

For the church, making disciples who in turn make other disciples is a great example of the “power of compounding” at the individual level. Churches who are planting other churches or are expanding through a multisite strategy are also organizational “compounders.” But these two things only scratch the surface of what leaders and churches can be doing to compound their Kingdom influence and impact. However, it must begin with a top-to-bottom cultural imperative that everyone in the church is consumed with compounding.

What are your church’s cultural imperatives? Does a culture of compounding consume all levels of your church body?  

Next week’s post will cover the second cultural imperative of the world’s highest-performing organizations. Think you know what it is?

Here’s the link to the second post: The Secret Cultural Imperatives of the “Most Admired Organizations in the World” (#2 of a 2-Part Series)


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