Are you guided by principle or coincidence?
Tuesday, 24 February, 2015
The world is constantly and rapidly getting more and more complicated and the increasing complexity creates a growing need for individual rules of life for people as well as for companies. A need for what we call guiding principles.
Instinctively, you may now be thinking of principles as old fashioned and a straitjacket that leaves no room for development and flexibility. If this is the case, let me try to change your mind. I remain convinced, you see, that principles that are both genuine and are observed every day are a decisive force for the strength and vitality of companies and brands. Bang!
The list of successful companies adhering to strong principles is long. LEGO’s Only the best is good enough was developed by the founding father Ole Kirk Kristiansen in the 1930s and continues to be visible in everything that LEGO says and does. This fundamental principle becomes a force for the company and lends gravity to the LEGO brand in the extreme. The principle ensures coherence between what the company says and what it does. This is a strict and useful guideline in a complicated world ensuring that customers and other parties know where you are.
I suggest you read this post that I happened to come across on Facebook some time ago.
At LEGO, their guiding principle is not just words on a poster in the lunchroom or in a speech at the yearly Christmas lunch. It is a guiding principle because it is being observed and implemented.
Similarly, I doubt that many employees – or people in Denmark generally for that matter – are unfamiliar with the value of the guiding principle Due Diligence for the company Maersk.
But what about your company? Do you have a guiding principle or a guideline that everybody knows – at least within the company? That you adhere to and tell each other when everything else fails. When the manual or the staff manual is not enough? You probably do. The question is, however, has it been worded and formalized.
Always together – never alone. That’s our guiding principle at Gravity. We take our customers’ challenges very seriously and we never knock down their door presenting a standard package deal. That’s why we say: always together – never alone. Because the best – and the right – solutions are developed in cooperation between those who know the company well and those who can contribute with general strategic observations from the world around it.
In developing and formalizing Gravity’s guiding principle, each of us was tasked with formulating our personal guiding principle. A good colleague came up with the sentence: I play the ball – and I never panic. That was spot on. That’s how he is, and that’s how we see him. Everybody knew it had to be him.
Do you have a guiding principle? Does your company? Or do you guide by coincidence?