By: James Proctor, Director of Professional Services, The Inteq Group, Inc.
Author, Mastering Business Chaos
Recognizing a Hero Culture
A “hero culture” is an organization, or a functional area of the organization, that is run by a group of hard-working, highly talented “heroes” on sheer strength, will and knowledge.
The organization’s heroes put in the long hours to get the job done – because, and often ostensibly, because others in the organization do not have the knowledge, judgment, experience, training or skills to do the job.
The transformation from a hero culture to a business process based operating culture is difficult.
Organizations that fit the hero culture profile are characterized by rapid growth driven by a cast of “Heroes.” Heroes are the core group of people that are very intelligent and very driven. They figure out the business “as they go” because often there is not a traditional model to follow.
Contrary to appearances, the hero-based culture is extremely inefficient and creates a rigid environment that lacks the agility to respond to rapidly changing conditions – customers, competitors, product lines, regulations, economics, talent, etc.
The business operational knowledge of the organization lives largely as tribal knowledge in the minds of the heroes and has not been captured and formally disseminated among the “troops.”
The Strategic Inflection Point
Growth drives successful organizations to reach a “strategic inflection point,” a term coined by Andy Grove of Intel. A strategic inflection point is a major shift or change in an organization’s business environment – such as competition, regulatory change or economic conditions that requires an organization to rapidly adapt - or risk going into decline.