This conversation is closed.

What are some of the key differences in cultures of success and cultures of failure?

Has anyone studied this phenomenon? Is there a Talk on this and I just missed it.
What is the difference in the company culture at Apple compared to Compaq? Facebook vs. MySpace. The Bengals football organization vs. The Patriots. Schools who consistently have graduation rates of 98% vs. those who schools who have < 50% of their students?
It just seems that those organizations who “win” keep winning and those who “lose” keep loosing so why is that? Any ideas?

  • thumb
    May 16 2013: In my opinion successfull cultures are the ones not leaving anyone behind. Solidarity and mutual support are the best ways to grant the personal growth and the success of the single componets of that culture and, by consequence, of the culture itself.
  • thumb
    May 16 2013:

    Start off with these but also a valuable free training course online is this one:

    If you want anymore let me know :)
  • thumb
    May 15 2013: Equality and positive mental health stimulus
  • thumb
    May 15 2013: I believe that the major difference is mindset but as Edward Long mentioned, depends how you define success? Success to one person may be about waking up in the morning and knowing that they are breathing and their hearts are beating but another person may see success as making a $1,000,000. I have recently been listening a lot of biographies, talks and interviews with people such as Mark Zuckerberg, Sir Richard Branson, Warren Buffet, Google's biography and one thing that seems common throughout is the extraordinary mindsets that these people and organisations have. The self belief, creativity, courage, contribution, commitment that seems a common theme throghout these people seems to be the foundation to all success (depending on your definition of this). I believe that all success begins from the inside out and I can happily provide the links etc. to these talks if you like Jon?
    • May 15 2013: This is close to what I was getting at. Please send those links. I think it would be a good starting place.
  • thumb
    May 15 2013: An extra place to check for detailed work on this is Harvard Business Review. It is free to access their blog network online, and they often have writing on this subject, including case study work.
    • May 15 2013: Thank you for the academic guidance.
  • thumb
    May 15 2013: If we define success in business as meeting the stated goals then the difference between winners and losers is leadership. If we don't know where we are trying to go how will we know if we get there? Winning leaders know where they are and where they want to be. Employees of winning companies know where they are going. Winners are always focused on stated goals. Losers are adrift.
    • May 15 2013: I think this must be true.
  • thumb
    May 15 2013: Only successes can make one complacent .....that may shut the door of continuous learning
    One can learn more from failures if curious enough to succeed....that's a major difference between two, I feel.
  • thumb
    May 15 2013: Every successful individual or a company has a simple and sound philosophy to which they always adhere.

    People and companies fail when they are not clear in their heads and their mind are cluttered.
  • thumb
    May 15 2013: When the goals are clear, and every member of the organisation feels that it is his responsibility to do his part well... an organisation becomes successful.
    However strong the promoters of the company maybe, the success or failure of the company lies in the hands of the employees... staff who work just for salary cannot make a company grow. Staff who works with dedication when complemented by equally good senior management brings success to the organisation.... and then as it is said a bad apple in the basket can spoil everything..... so it happens with organisations also!!!!
    Other than the human resource angle.....success comes when all the resources are working in tandem at the right time.... Microsoft or facebook or apple or any other success stories would not happened if the timing was not correct or if they could not have managed the required resources... In a classroom of 20 students ...the teachers are same, the college is same, education system is same and yet some student perform much better than the others and yet when it comes to careers or earnings...some of them may fall much below the academic underdogs!!!!!! What do you say???
  • thumb
    May 15 2013: I would say that it is organization. The most important part of organization imo is training.

    In other words a division of labor and the competency (though training) of the people in the various areas of the organization. Another area is the direction of the company as indicated by the administrators. The company that does this more than others is Toyota.

    There are a couple of talks about this on a national level, but that does not seem to be what you are asking?
  • May 19 2013: You will find that eventually in every human endeavor attitudes and patterns of behavior become entrenched. Within commerce, the reason for this is usually personal survival. Senior managers at some stage lose their ability to innovate, but they often do not lose their power within the organization. If anything, their power grows with tenure and so they spend their time devising ways to destroy anyone who might challenge their authority. This destructive behavior is usually dressed up as removing unacceptable business risk e.g. "that's not how we do things around here". Corporations such as Compaq survive because of the patents, property and contracts which they acquired during their growth stage. Often it is government agencies which help these corporations survive because they have lots of shared values e.g. don't take risks.
  • May 18 2013: Cultures of failure accept failure and look to blame and scapegoat persons as at fault. It's not wise to use sports as any real indicator--a football is shaped so that it bounces tricky and sometimes you get the bounces and other times the other guys do. And Compaq is an orange to Apple. Let's just take cultures in education, in government, in militaries where authority models are in place but there is no expectation that the model will some day come under question and thus no provision exists for self reform. Businesses draw personnel from these other institutions and can therefore become extension of cultures that play the old game of hierarchical authority where failure is always treated the same way--the blame and ouster of the scapegoat or legitimate underachiever. Schools blame children, they blame parents, they blame curricula, they blame teachers, they blame principals, they blame technology, they blame media. But the one thing they always do is write off some segment of the people who pass through as having failed. They don't ever say school is a faulty compromise and authoritarianism is not good enough--it fails to address motivation accept by threat of consequence, neglects social development entirely, treats kids as if they are capable of synchronous knowledge transfer when they are not. Etc etc. The military had long followed the same model and people died because orders weren't followed. But the military is implementing a "no miss" model that will eventually be in all institutions. In some quarters it has stopped the blame game and implemented a "knowledge transaction" modality. Though they still carry on the tradition of rank, orders are not expected to simply to be followed because threat of consequence is not enough to ensure ideal outcome. Orders that are not under battle pressure are "transacted" where a person is open about not understanding rather than pretending to understand. This must move into school, business and government.
  • May 18 2013: cultures of success and cultures of failure?I think if we just judge success and failure with what we see or what think now it is always limited.But at least judge'cultures of success and cultures of failure' should from the whole society developing,the humanbeing developing direction to think of that,it also needs time to prove...
  • thumb
    May 16 2013: well preparation is important. For example, if you're going to have a meeting, you should try to anticipate the questions that will arise and prepare for them ahead.
  • May 15 2013: Well, thank you all for the enlightened responses. I suppose I was presupposing too much. Success for an individual should be individually defined, but I suppose I was talking about organizational success. By organizational I mean where people have to work together to achieve a common goal. By definition success then is defined as meeting the stated objective. I know that failures can lead to success, but it seems that in some organizations the very idea of meeting the stated goals is a forgone conclusion. Failure and learning from it is accepted and in some cases encouraged, but the end result will be that the goals are met. On the other hand, in some organizations meeting the goal is not a presupposition at all. In fact it is presupposed that they will not meet the objective.
    Has anyone heard any TED talks about this general idea of acceptance of failure and expected success and the causes of each organizational mind set?
    • thumb
      May 16 2013: Here are the talks related to failure:

      But here is JKRowling on failure, which somehow did not get tagged that way:
    • May 18 2013: The success of an organization is almost incidental to the success of the individuals who comprise that organization. If the individuals are well suited to their responsibilities and excited about the potential to have a positive impact, then the organization will be successful by default. Organizations exist to serve the needs of individuals, not the other way around. To much time is spent in trying to re-engineer individuals to fit a need rather than in finding and developing the right individual to fulfill that need.
  • May 15 2013: It is hard to contemplate a culture of failure. I think would prefer to think of a competitive environment where there was a winner and a non-winner. To attach the stigma of loser or failure to a person, team or company seems like pointless ridicule.

    In the case of an athletic competition that can have only one winner, then the mix of available talent, attitude, work ethic, practice, game strategy, and ability to execute all play into the likely outcome. However, so do luck, timing, external events, your opponents, and many other things. Competitions can teach you what does not work or illustrate ways to make yourself better. if you act on this new intelligence, perhaps you can change the outcome of the next competition. To participate in an athletic competition and not win is not a failure. In professional sports, there are other factors as well including the willingness to pay for the best talent. Team competitions also involve many people acting together and a management team making decisions as things change (player health, new intelligence about an opponent, team strategy changes, etc.). Perhaps the Bengals have not found the right combination to winning yet, but they are continuing to try and must be making enough money to stay solvent as a business.

    In the case of businesses, I think understanding customers, willingness to accept risk, ability to evaluate risk, inovativeness, short term and long term goals,and strategy all come into play. However, motivating your people to make changes to their work habits that will enable the company to be more competitive is another key factor. How effective you are at doing these things and managing your people to get the most out of them is a continuous management challenge.

    A lot depends on how you define success in business. If you do not number 1 this year, but have a 20% increase in profit, was the year a success? Is it biggest? Most stable? Best place to work? Success may be defined a number of ways.
  • May 15 2013: We might like at success and failure in terms of product functions. What does it take to do one and not the other. probably the people don't vary as much as you wish to show.