During the last World War (hopefully the last), Winston Churchill had tough decisions to make as British Prime Minister and commander of the war efforts. During one meeting about the reallocation of resources, one of his well-intentioned aid suggested diverting the Culture money to the defence ministry.

Churchill then apparently raised one of his aging eyebrows and retorted :

“Why do we bother going to war then?”

To protect this very culture. Or Culture.

I love this.

Going back to the raison d’être. Going back to our mission.

Why do companies exist? Certainly NOT to make money.

No Sir, I did not smoke something too potent for my feeble mind.

Companies exist to deliver a product or service.

When executed properly, when delivered in a timely fashion, this product or service will satisfy a client/customer and eventually THIS will generate money.

Money is the result of fulfilling our mission.
Money is never the raison d’être of any company…. even, (and I know I am stretching a tiny wee bit here…) the banking industry.
Ok, strike this last sentence out. THEY are probably out to get our money.

If companies exist for this reason, their sole purpose must be to satisfy their customers.
BUT in order to do so there must also comply to regulations. Regulations which have been put in place because some companies did not serve their customers in the first place and committed horrible acts of selfishness and short term profit incentives.
Companies must serve their customers AND respect regulations designed to serve the customers too.
AND, since companies require funding to accomplish their lofty goals, companies must also satisfy those who established these operations.
Companies must serve the triumvirat including:

  • their customers
  • regulations
  • and shareholders.

And since a triangle is a very stable structure once well-balanced, companies must constantly put in efforts to keep this balance in place.

To keep this triumvirat in equilibrium, one needs a strong binding agent, a mission, a raison d’être.
And no one needs this mission more than the workforce.
Anything being done in any company is the result of human beings putting some work in some process. Not machines. Humans !

Whereas machines require maintenance and repairs, human need tender loving care. Whereas machines function well when running under optimal performance specified by technical specifications and limits, humans need a clear goal and a mission, based on clear values.

Lose the instruction manual and you lose functionalities on this machine.
Forget the mission and values and direction-less employees will either under perform or leave eventually.

In all cases, quality will suffer. Profits will plummet. Companies will fail to satisfy costumers, regulations and shareholders.

Grass needs fertilizer.
Computers need software updates.
Machines need oil changes and adjustments.

Humans need to interact :

– with each other
– with upper management
– with colleagues in other departments
– with progress charts and company numbers
– with peers from other companies
– with information from the Web
– with books and instruction manuals
– with each other …
with each other.

Whenever companies do not make their “numbers” the first reaction is to slash the workforce, frequently the single most important source of “expenses”.
Quick and easy.
Number go back up almost instantly.
Impacts are felt a bit later.
Decrease in productivity.
Quality problems on the rise.
Absenteism or even worse…..
Presenteism…you know those who decided to quit but did not leave….

Would Winston Churchill have done the same? Slashing in the company culture by
not respecting the mission?
not respecting the values?
not respecting the single most imprint source of quality… the workforce?

Winston Churchill was influential in winning the last World War.

Would YOU have won?


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