Does Top Management Really Drive Culture?

4th Quarter 2016

The CEO of a multibillion dollar public company, from whom we buy technical equipment, recently visited Supply Chain Services. It was an informal visit and we quickly learned that he wanted to understand why our purchases had grown so much. Outside of our own investments, we told him it was largely due to one superb sales woman of his. But he dug much deeper, asking all kinds of "how" questions and relating our answers to how he built the company. Before leaving, he walked through our facility, introducing himself to many employees asking the same question of each: “What do you think of this sales woman?" Invariably, whether it was a Supply Chain sales person, administrator, technician or engineer, the answer was “I love her!” Indeed, the breadth of how well she was known and appreciated across the company surprised me.

Thinking about it after he left, it became evident that the hiring and development of this particular sales woman was not just happenstance. Rather, it was the result of a conscious strategy to build a customer-focused culture. It was obvious that culture came from him.