It’s always been my belief that unless you first build a positive culture in the workplace, nothing else you try to accomplish will ever come to fruition.
So, when I read this famous quote that business guru Peter Drucker was alleged to have coined, “culture eats strategy for breakfast,” it came as no surprise that the foundation of any successful enterprise is built on its culture.
In fact, most people don’t quit companies or leaders, they quit organizational cultures.
“The best way to improve the team is to improve yourself.”
The Learning Never Stops
In my capstone classes, students learned that their time at the university should be considered a launch pad to a lifetime of learning. Leaders never stop learning.
“When I am through learning, I am through.”
Your Attitude Determines Your Altitude
Your own personal culture is your attitude. Whether it is positive or negative, it’s yours to control.
As a hiring manager, I always hired people on their attitude; everything else can be trained.
In life, more than any other factor, your attitude pretty much determines where you will go – and how far you will go.
One of my favorite radio personalities was Ron Lundy. I first heard Ron on Music Radio 77 – WABC and immediately fell in love with the contagious, upbeat, positive attitude he presented on his radio show.
When WABC switched formats from music to talk, Ron Lundy found himself out of work, but would eventually be hired by Joe McCoy at WCBS-FM.
Every air shift on CBS-FM was already filled, so in order to create a time period for Ron, Joe McCoy would need to shorten everyone’s air shift, and convince his general manager why this hire would be beneficial to the radio station.
As I heard the story, Joe’s pitch to his GM was that Ron wasn’t just a powerful personality that would attract more listeners to CBS-FM, but that Ron was the type of guy that provided a positive culture inside the radio station, inspiring everyone to do their jobs better.
Attitude in Managing
One of my radio mentors was Phil Weiner (WBEC/WQRB/WUHN/WUPE). When I departed for my first solo general manager position in Atlantic City, he shared with me the most important thing he learned as a general manager, “Whatever your attitude is, when you enter the radio station each day, that will become the attitude of your fellow employees. Keep your problems to yourself and always maintain a positive, upbeat, enthusiastic attitude.”
It may have been the most important advice of my forty-year radio management career.
In my second career as a college professor, knowing that one’s attitude is contagious, I brought that same positive attitude and energy into the classroom.
“Attitudes aren’t taught, they’re caught.”
Everyone You Meet Can Teach You Something
No matter how far in life you’ve gone, or how many degrees, medals or trophies you’ve earned, stay humble. Every person you meet carries knowledge about life that you can benefit from. Stay curious and be willing to soak up the wisdom from everyone you come in contact with.
“It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”
Radio is a People Business
All of my life, I’ve invested my energies in the development of people. Many of them today are owners and managers of their own broadcast operations. As a general manager, I was proud to work with some great and talented individuals.
“You handle things. You work with people.”
When it comes to managing people, one size does not fit all. I treated each member of my team for the unique personality they were, valuing their talents, and skills, as well as understanding that we all come with our own issues, problems and demons.
Great radio stations, full of talented people, can be an exceptionally exciting workplace.
“The worst things you can do for those you love
is the things they could and should do for themselves.”
It’s important to have a culture that allows people to fail. Often the greatest wisdom comes from things that go wrong. As long as you have given your best effort, you are never a failure.
Great managers and teachers are great coaches of people.
The Big Four
Consider these four things when creating culture in your organization:
- Culture is created by the behaviors you tolerate.
- Change starts with YOU. You can’t expect your people to change if you won’t.
- Leadership gives you a voice at the table, not the voice.
- Listen to everyone and take their opinions into account when you make the final decision for moving forward.
“Much can be accomplished by teamwork
when no one is concerned about who gets the credit.”