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4 Anchor Bolts of Enduring Organizations

Most of us experience a moment of enlightenment early in our careers that shapes our thinking and guides us for years. These moments often occur when we’re taken out of our comfort zones and presented with new challenges and situations to which we are unaccustomed.

I experienced one of those formative moments shortly after graduating from college. I had just taken a job as a salesperson with a Fortune 500 company in the construction industry, and I was meeting with a general contractor to discuss insulation requirements for several construction projects. I worked hard to get the appointment, let alone the opportunity to quote the jobs.

Nothing is more important than getting the anchor bolts right the first time.

They had just begun when the phone rang. The contractor answered the phone and quickly told the caller “I’ll be right there." Concerned that this hard-to-pin-down appointment was about to slip away yet again, I looked up and asked if he needed to go. “Yes,” the contractor answered.

“I hate to do this to you, but that was my superintendent calling to let me know that they’re about to set the anchor bolts.”

I asked what that meant, and the contractor explained that if the anchor bolts were set in the concrete properly, then the building would go up quickly and correctly. In his words, “Nothing is more important than getting the anchor bolts right the first time.”

That was teachable moment number one for a young man new to sales and the construction world. I wondered, could there be other situations in which getting the anchor bolts right the first time would ensure success?

As it turns out, there are, and finding the anchor bolts that support an Enduring Organization has been the key to our success. In my new book, I present the four anchor bolts of leadership that lead to enduring, effective organizations:

The Anchor Bolts of Leadership

Leaders, you must ensure that:

  1. A relevant business model is in place and the next generation business model is already in development, with recognizable triggers to begin the migration to the new business model.

  2. An appropriate-minded leadership team is at the helm, as opposed to a team operating with fundamental assumptions based on conditions that no longer exist.

  3. Your organization is insightful, with employees at every level surrounded by information and experiences that encourage ongoing insights into the organization’s performance and relationship to the industry.

  4. The company can gain traction for results, going beyond the bravado of demanding cost reduction and instead embedding key elements in the organization that consistently identify high-leverage changes.

For over 25 years, I’ve used these anchor bolts to improve company profits by between 50 and 300 percent in a variety of industries, including furniture manufacturing, chemical, capital equipment manufacturing, printing, and health care.

Watch this short (2:00) video to learn more about the anchor bolts and the book, The Enduring Organization: How Leaders Revive and Sustain Relevance (available in paperback and on Kindle).

In his 25 years as Founder and President of The McLean Group, Hal McLean has honed a unique ability to liberate hidden capacity in businesses, creating value far beyond the bottom line. Follow him at @TheMcLeanGroup and contact him here.

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