It’s often been said that “culture eats strategy for breakfast.” The notion is that the belief system – or core operating principles – of an organization are what matters most at the ground level. These core beliefs guide everyday decision-making, behavior, and responses to challenges. Clearly defined core values permeate every corner of a company, removing the burden of leaders to intervene constantly and allowing empowered team members a roadmap for high achievement. Having studied high-performing cultures for over two-decades, as well as building five companies of my own, I’ve discovered the 14 core beliefs of the highest performing teams:
1. Play like you want to be remembered.Pursue big things that move the world and leave a mark, or simply don’t do them. Think and act like you’re making history, and in turn you will.
2. Don’t wait.Take initiative; leap into action. Don’t wait for direction, permission, or a final directive to move forward. We are all responsible to initiate the change we seek.
3. Compress time.Cultivate speed, reduce cycles, learn and grow faster, deliver freakish response times, demonstrate fire department urgency. If capital was the most valuable asset in the past, today speed carries the day.
4. Obey the No A-hole Rule.Lift others up instead of cutting them down. Support instead of destroy. Double down on humility and leave the ego on the sidelines. Positivity and teamwork drive performance. Life’s just too short for grumpy jerks.
5. Be the DaVinci of your craft.Hold yourself and each other to the absolute highest standards, stretch for more, create and deliver your body of work with artistry.
6. Out-hustle by a full decimal point.You may fall short on talent or skill or resources, but never get out-hustled. Your grit must be untamable.
7. Figure it out.There’s always a way… find it. Unwilling to accept norms or limits, seek the unexpected, challenge assumptions, defy traditions.
8. Guzzle truth serum.Confront the brutal facts, deliver honest feedback, tell it straight, and skip the BS.
9. Use every drop of toothpaste.Eliminate waste, maximize your resources, drive leverage.
10. Commit to 5X’ing.Deliver 5X the value you extract for your company, clients, partners, community, industry, and planet. Leave it 5X better than you found it.
11. Own the outcomes.You’re accountable for results, plain and simple. Don’t whine or make excuses. Take full responsibility for what you deliver.
12. Put yourself out of business.Play up, constantly learning, adapt fast, and make elevating yourself a core job responsibility. Remain dissatisfied. Cultivate an insatiable appetite for growth and change and a deep distain for the status quo.
13. Spike the ball.Put points on the board, finish strong, have fun, and savor the wins.
14. Don’t forget the dinner mint.Surprise and delight, add something extra to what’s expected.
Business today is too complicated and fast to provide every team member a detailed operating manual for success. Instead, embrace these 14 core beliefs and your organization will be well on the way to mastery in this modern era of intense competition, digitization, and disruption. Let these rules serve as a roadmap to embrace change, drive innovation, better serve customers, and delight your bottom line.