At the Drucker Supply Chain Forum held recently, there was a panel of distribution executives from Amazon, Toyota, QVC and Komar discussing "Company Culture as a Competitive Advantage". I've found that if all of my clients (or my best clients) have something in common or emphasize the same point, I should pay attention. In this case, the themes noted by every successful executive included:
1. Core values - interestingly, we found that establishing and living by core values was integral to success when I was a VP of Operations for PaperPak. The executive panel agreed. Do you have values? Do your employees know them? Do they think you live by them? Don't even think about discussing values if you cannot live by them as you'll lose more ground that you ever thought possible. But, if you plan to live by them, values can be hugely successful.
2. Engagement - again, this warranted several pages in my upcoming book "I've Been Thinking: Strategies to Make and Keep Bold Customer Promises and Profits" as I've always found it crucial to success. It is simply amazing how much MORE engaged employees accomplish than the rest. And, isn't it a more exciting work environment to live in?
3. Employee Focus - I've yet to see a company with happy customers and unhappy employees. Have you? Every panelist brought up the importance of an employee focus. Amazon provides education to employees - whether or not the education relates to the job. QVC has created an intriguing environment for their employees to enjoy what could be seen as a typical warehousing job. Toyota follows the Toyota Production System tenet with employees on top. And, Komar focuses intense attention on employees — performance reviews, core values, etc.
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