Sebastian Vettel has won the 9th Grand Prix in a row this year. A feat that has been accomplished for the first time in the history of Formula 1. He also won 13 races over the course of the season – what a driver! When Michael Schumacher was winning all his championships not more than 15 years ago, it was thought unlikely that anyone could ever match those feats. Vettel has now won 3 World Championships in 3 consecutive years, the youngest ever triple World Champion. Of course, it is not just his accomplishment – it would be pre-mature to assume that were the case. The real story is that of the team – Red Bull Racing. Christian Horner is the Team Principal and to him must go the lion’s share of the credit for creating a winning environment in the team. Anyone in the sport, in any sport, will vouch for the difficulty involved in creating and sustaining a winning culture.
Sports makes it somewhat easier to define a winning culture since the results are there for anyone to see. A successful team in sport wins more often than not and never loses without a good fight. At the work place, culture and the environment created makes a huge difference to the output of the products and the company. It is no surprise then that Steve Jobs spent a lot of time and money in designing the work place at Pixar, as detailed wonderfully in his biography by Walter Isaacson. Design of the work place and the environment that you want to create can be ignored at your own peril.
In many projects, there is a crisis situation created and then resolved by the very people that created the crisis in the first place! This gives birth to heroes of the project who thrive under crisis and stress. This, in itself, is a culture that can be bred by the leadership team. On the other hand, there may be constant changes in the management team and organizational structure. This leads to its own brand of culture and the results often, not surprisingly, are reflective of the tumultuous inside. Consistent and persistent success is a by-product of well defined and well oiled machines and processes that play an important role in the culture of the organization. A clear vision from the leader on the culture to be created is half the battle won already. The rest is implementation and execution. Create an environment that encourages effective behavior and you are breeding success.