“Good” workplace cultures have good people but no stars.
Unlike great cultures, good ones can’t keep game-changing team leaders (managers).
Lousy cultures have miserable managers everywhere — even on the executive committee.
While “satisfied” employees can be found in both lousy and good cultures, satisfied employees don’t provide innovation or entrepreneurism.
Most lousy-to-good cultures are well-meaning. God bless them for that. They just don’t know what to do. So they do what is easy — they deliver “satisfaction” to the troops. Latte machines and volleyball and flex hours and so forth. These are fine — but they have no statistical relationship to creating new customers. You have to believe any star team leader, on any given day, can create new customers and save the company with an idea or breakthrough.
Truly great cultures are different because they are loaded with star team leaders. You might ask, “Gallup, over your 40 years of studying lousy-to-great cultures, have you found a silver bullet?” Our Chief Workplace Scientist Jim Harter would answer, “Yes, the silver bullet is your managers (team leaders).” They, by themselves, determine if you have a lousy, good or great culture. They are the silver bullet.
Remarkably, 70% of the variance between lousy, good and great cultures can be found in the knowledge, skills and talent of the team leader. Not the players, but the team leader. This is one of Gallup’s most profound workplace breakthroughs.