Curt Fowler | Fowler & Company
Don’t Bother Applying if…
You don’t believe in and want to work in an environment that treasures these three principles. Garry Ridge of WD-40 calls these principles “servant leadership with an edge.”
Together, they make up WD-40’s “red velvet rope” of culture protection. I’m sure you’ve seen the fancy nightclubs that have red velvet ropes outside. The ropes and the rather large security guards usually standing next to them, are there to keep out the people that don’t “belong.” This controls the environment inside the club and actually causes more people to want to get in.
It works the same way for great company cultures. WD-40 has a great culture and they want to keep it that way. That is why they encourage people not to apply if they would not be happy living by these three principles. Companies with great cultures must run off people that do not fit the culture. Zappos even offers employees in training a $4,000 bonus if they will quit. They know that if you would take $4,000 over the job that you don’t belong at Zappos and would be a drain on their culture. Zappos understands that investing $4,000 to see the bad people leave is a huge bargain.
Here are the three “servant leadership with an edge principles”:
Care For People – WD-40 employees refer to themselves as a tribe. They take care of each other and provide the same level of care to their customers, suppliers and partners.
Be Candid with People – So many managers struggle with this! Giving corrective feedback can be incredibly difficult, but it is the best gift you can give someone who is striving for greatness. Fools will never listen to your suggestions, but the wise will. All the more reason to be candid with your people. The feedback will be an accelerant to the careers of those who will listen, and will likely run off those who are not wise enough to listen.
Hold People Accountable – Is it only people who don’t like being held accountable that struggle with holding others accountable? I know that holding others accountable is much easier after you ask them to do the same for you. The willingness to be held accountable by others is a fantastic leadership trait.
What is the “red velvet rope” that protects your culture?
Curt Fowler is an organizational growth expert and President of Fowler & Company, a business advisory firm dedicated to helping leaders create and achieve a compelling vision for their organization. He has an MBA in Strategy and Entrepreneurship from the Kellogg School, is a CPA, and a pretty good guy as defined by his wife and four children.
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