Every organization has a king. In extremely unhealthy cultures,
people don’t know who or what is king from one day to the
next. This leaves them guessing which way the wind is blowing
on any given day, and wasting tons of time and energy lost in
gossip and politics.
Who or what is king in your organization? The founder?
The CEO? The customer? Which customer? Any customer or
just some special customers? The owner? The owner’s family
members? The board? The union? The shareholders? The
community? They cannot all be king. We have all met CEOs
who thought they were the king or queen of that organization.
It’s arrogant and unattractive. Most family businesses have to
deal with feuds between various family members—often as the
second or third generation takes over the organization—many
of whom wish to appoint themselves king.
Now, you might be wondering what on earth I’m talking
about, and that’s OK. So let me explain, because this really
matters. If you don’t get this right, it is really hard to get anything
else right around organizational clarity and culture.
In the organizations I am involved in as the leader or the owner,
there are two sayings that everyone is used to hearing a lot:
Mission Is King.
Matthew is not king!
The most effective way to serve everyone’s best interests is
to make mission king. Nothing trumps mission. What’s the
mission? What are we really trying to accomplish here above all
else? If that is not the most important thing, the organization
will be repeatedly kidnapped by egos, career climbers, whims,
and fancies, and constantly be engaged in a massive game of
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