What's the core discipline of your company? Roughly 100 builder executives that gathered for PCBC's Leader to Leader seminar were asked by John Katzenbach, author and consultant, to select from among five paths to business success that he has identified through research:

  • mission, value, and purpose
  • process and metrics
  • entrepreneurial spirit
  • individual achievement
  • recognition and celebration

Seven out of 10 builder executives identified entrepreneurial spirit as their main path. The larger of the companies, though, showed a preference for process and metrics, which Katzenbach said was a good thing. "It's hard to perpetuate entrepreneuralism in big companies," he said. "It's hard to have a high reward, high risk environment."
Katzenbach, author of Peak Performanance, a best-selling business book published by the Harvard Business School Press, said that the best companies typically emphasize at least two paths.

Kentucky Fried Chicken, for instance, puts considerable emphasis on celebrating store achievements, throwing parties, and giving out rubber chicken awards for individual achievement. But the company couples this with process and metrics, judging stores on product quality, availability, cleanliness, and customer experience.

The Marines, one of the author's favorite examples of an effective organization, invest heavily in value shaping, sending recruits to a 12-week boot camp, where "the only question is whether you can internalize the Corp's values -- honor, courage, and commitment." But they also emphasize individual achievement, adds Katzenbach.

"The Corps prepares every Marine to lead. They integrate team discipline with individual responsibility."