Members Eat Strategy for Breakfast at August Meeting

August 10, 2016 | Posted By: Connor Watkins

August Breakfast

Culture is king.

It doesn’t matter what realm of life you’re talking about. The bottom line remains the same – culture is king.

That was the unequivocal message Todd Carnes, General Manager of SouthernMED Pediatrics, delivered at the Greater Lexington Chamber’s monthly breakfast on Tuesday.

Carnes shaped the presentation around a saying – “culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

But it doesn’t stop there.

“Culture eats everything for breakfast. It eats anything and everything in your organization, in your family, in your church, even in your own soul,” Carnes said. “It’s the most important thing.”

Culture being is so powerful and so difficult to build makes it essential to every business, church, family, team, etc.

“Culture is king in every organization. You’re going to hire a really smart guy to come in and drive strategy and dictate that, but if you’re going to build the right culture in your organization, it’s going to take a lot of character and a lot of time” Carnes said. “Culture is this thing that you earn and you develop and it comes not out of what you think, but out of who you are.”

Carnes discussed several strategies for building culture, although he said there are many more.

The first strategy is to over communicate, which means you’ve got to explain why. People want to know why they’re doing something, so you can’t simply put them on a need to know basis. If a leader leaves blanks in what they say or do, people will fill in those blanks, and they will be filled in with negative ideas. Keep your people informed so they don’t have to fill in the blanks.

The second idea is to lead up and to also teach your people to lead up. This is the idea that everybody has a voice and a perspective.

“If you don’t allow people to lead up, they will shut down,” Carnes said. “If everybody in your organization is not a problem-solver, your organization’s not going to be great. Teach them to be problem-solvers”

His third suggestion is fighting futility. This means you meet to make decisions and move forward, so never call a meeting without a defined decision-maker in the room.

Carnes also pointed out that fun is not a distraction; it’s essential. He admitted this is not his strength, but a definite necessity for someone in an organization to promote.

The fifth strategy Carnes presented was embracing the last 10% conversations, which can be very difficult. This is the part of a conversation that may involve conflict, but it needs to be said.

“We’re not going to run from conflict. We’re going to run to conflict,” he said. “At the church, we handled conflict with immediacy. We handled it with gentleness, but we didn’t let it fester. Build a culture of ‘let’s solve conflict.’”

Culture isn’t going to build itself, and it has a tendency to drift toward dysfunction and disorder, according to Carnes. It never moves toward order, instead demanding constant energy and pressure from the outside to stay on course.

Therefore, the question is: who’s responsible for building culture at your organization?

“Who’s got that on their job description? Because if it’s not on their job description, it’s not getting done,” Carnes said. “Culture doesn’t get built passively. It has to be intentional. It has to be active, and somebody’s got to be responsible for it.”

The positive aspect is how strong culture can be when it’s built with direction, intention and values.

“The beautiful thing about it is once it’s created it’s almost impossible to destruct. Culture will outlast you,” Carnes said. “It will outlast any leader. If you build something great, it will last for years, decades, maybe centuries.”

The challenge is figuring out where your organization is and what you’re going to do about it. The challenge is investing the time and energy to build a strong, lasting, positive culture.

“Build great cultures. Build them to honor your parents. Build them to bless your children. Build them to prosper our community. Build them because that’s how you love your neighbor,” Carnes challenged. “Build them just because it’s right. Build them because it’s hard. Build them because it pleases God. But build them because that’s your legacy.”

The breakfast was sponsored by Baker Collision Express and catered by Crescent Moon Restaurant.