Core Ideology

…Split the sack of your culture…stick your head out…look around…reach up…a voice speaks to your clarity. ~Rumi

When I was in grad school, we spent a lot of time on a popular book called Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies (BTL). Published in 1994 by Collins and Porras, the book outlined visionary habits of successful companies. BTL made a strong case for a focus on core ideology (mission, vision, and values) and BHAG’S (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) that go beyond profit. With the further support of an ongoing body of business literature, the next 15 years of management consulting instilled core ideology and organizational culture development just as strategically necessary as quality products.

The main thrust of core ideology is that it is enduring ~ the eighteen companies on BTL’s “best list” have all been operating for over 100 years with the same ideology intact. Ultimately, core Ideology provides “higher thinking” and guide posts from which to make decisions ~like a beacon reminding you of what you and your company are all about when things seem dark or confusing. The core remains intact regardless of circumstances (very much like spiritual principles that endure over time, resonate when we hear them, and bring us back to center).  A powerful core ideology will speak to anyone who hears it and supersedes individual personalities.

The collective personality of a company is the culture and is distinct from core ideology ~ not separate, but distinct.  The core ideology is operating within the culture, sometimes more obviously than others, but always operating. When things seem “off kilter” and/or the next evolution is necessary, the core is consciously brought to the forefront to smoothly guide the company to the next level.

A strong, effective culture is in love with the ideology, is responsible for it’s growth, and organizes around it. Consciously smart companies understand that supporting the vital connection between culture and core ideology leverages profit and the difference their entity will make in the world.