Many people often question the wisdom of selecting integrity as Three Pillar’s core value. Isn’t integrity a must have for any business? Isn’t it table stakes, the foundation of any working relationship? Is it really something that is different about us as at Three Pillar? There is no doubt that most organizations expect others operate with integrity, unfortunately, it has been my experience that far too few people actually operate with integrity themselves. At Three Pillar we actively live integrity.
Too many people believe that integrity is nothing more than a fancy word for honesty. Undoubtedly, honesty is a key component, but integrity requires much more. It is defined by the dictionary in the following three ways:
There’s been a major shift in software product development. Just a few short years ago “not invented here” syndrome ran rampant among software product companies. Many companies were simply unwilling to partner with firms specializing in R&D and product engineering services. This phenomenon was largely built out of fear of letting go of “Core IP”.
Truthfully, a handful of the naysayers had a point. If you truly have differentiating software IP (read: a complex and differentiated scientific algorithm) it probably is wise to keep a bit of the continued R&D around that asset in house. That said, very few executives actually understand what Core IP really is.
In my last post I outlined the power of consensus building. Consensus building is an important tool for making informed decisions and promoting organizational buy-in. Strong consensus builders tend to build strong, motivated, teams.
As with all leadership tools (and most things in life), one size does not fit all situations. Sometimes the unanimity required to attain consensus is impossible to attain as holdouts dig in their heels. Other decisions may be or contain elements that the leader can not compromise. In these situations the benefits of reaching consensus are far outweighed by organizational paralysis. Consensus must be balanced with decisive decision making. Working to achieve consensus in situations is counter products and disingenuous. It can erode credibility.
Consensus building is a key skill for any leader to learn. By working to build consensus, a leader empowers team members to express disagreements and collaborate on solutions. This ultimately leads to better and more informed decisions. Building consensus also builds internal support for a decision. Those that participate in a decision are much more likely to fully embrace it. The result is immediate and motivated execution.
Unfortunately, consensus is difficult. It takes time and effort to build consensus. It takes humility and compromise to lead a team through a decision making process. The leader who builds consensus must learn to listen, find common ground, and embrace ideas that are not their own. If these obstacles can be overcome, the consensus will yield:
Less than a month ago Dollar Shave Club launched with a bang. The company, a subscription service that ships razors to your door for a monthly low price, was an instant viral sensation. Their online video campaign spread rapidly through Facebook and Twitter.
Dollar Shave Club got two things right. They had a simple and compelling value proposition that just made sense. They slashed the cost of the every day razor for the every day person. Secondly, they captured the hearts of their prospects, producing a humorous video that poked fun at their competition. The result was wild success and I was one of many who signed up.
I am often asked what the Three Pillar Global name means. A name is a powerful representation of who we are and where we come from. In the case of our name, there is no guessing required, the name clearly points to the core values upon which the company was founded. These are the essence of who we are.
Integrity is consistency of character. It requires steadfast adherence to known principles through both words and actions. In relationships it is characterized by sound moral character and the fortitude necessary to do the right thing.In technical disciplines it is characterized by adherence to proven practices and sound techniques.
In Rome with Tom and John
I returned from another trip to Rome this past week, participating in the second annual symposium for the Foundation for Evangelization through the Media. It was great to see many of the friends I met at last year’s symposium and meet several new ones.
The highlight of the trip was Sunday afternoon, getting gelato and touring the Vatican with Tom Peterson of Catholics Come Home and John Sutton, a fellow entrepreneur before heading out to watch the NFL playoffs with entrepreneurs Sean O’Hare and Chris Tyrrell.
2011 was no doubt the year of the tablet. iPads ruled the world, not just the technology space, and companies from Amazon to Samsung did their best to compete in the suddenly attractive tablet space.
When you think about it, tablets aren’t as innovative as we may immediately assume. The original concept of a Tablet PC was launched by Microsoft in 2001 as a “pen enabled” personal computer. Needless to say, the “slates” and “convertible pcs” that followed the specification largely bombed. There was never mass appeal.
Apple figured out how to take an existing concept, combine it with existing technologies, and generate mass appeal. Cellular technology, WiFi, and improvements to screen resolution and battery life made the concept of a tablet a bit more applicable to the every day man. The application of innovations such as cloud computing and touch technology in new consumer oriented ways were just as relevant. With the introduction of the iPad, the tablet went from “pen enabled” to “user enabled”.
So, if 2011 was the year of the tablet, a 10 year old concept, what will 2012 be? Will the technology space continue to refine existing technologies and apply them to every day life, or will there be an explosion due to some brand new discovery. The former is much more likely, true innovation, after all, is found at the intersection of technology and solving real life problems. Here are the two areas of innovation that I think are primed to change our lives in 2012.
Not many people have a strong work ethic these days. Those that do understand their responsibilities, work hard to fulfill them, and go the extra mile when necessary. I have a profound respect for people who value hard work and diligence and see them as morally beneficial and character building. For those who share this value system, a strong work ethic often becomes a passion, not just an obligation.
If you’ve read Good to Great, or talked to anyone who has, you probably remember that Jim Collins’ research and analysis showed that great companies know how to get the right people on the bus. What many people fail to remember is that great companies also get the wrong people off the bus and the people on the bus into the right seats.
I’ve learned the hard way that getting the right people on the bus is not necessarily the hard part. Getting the wrong people off the bus and the people in the right seats is a lot harder than it seems. Early on in a company’s history, it may be possible to ignore this part of the equation. If you’re filling the bus with the right people in an immature company, there’s likely no baggage and people are jumping from seat to seat. As you mature, it becomes more and more important to look in the rearview mirror and see how things are settling out.