Cultures as Powerful as Niagara Falls

"It's Niagara Falls. It's one of the most beautiful natural wonders in the world. Who wouldn't want to walk across it? " — Nik Wallenda

My favorite time to visit Niagara Falls is winter, with the bitter cold, ice and wind. It is always majestic, yet in the winter it feels even more primal and powerful for me.

For fun, I was thinking about how the water molecules decide whether to go over the Canadian or USA side of the falls. I never did figure that out, but it did make me think about what guides the water in general to create the falls and to keep them being fed.

The force of gravity is the driving force bringing the water towards the ocean. What is the force of gravity for your organization? What are the compelling goals to guide people’s efforts?

The river banks keep the water flowing in the right direction. To me this is akin to the structures that define the organizational culture. Have you considered what the key drivers are to your culture? Do they guide the efforts towards the goal? Consider what questions are asked, how meetings are run, how bad news is responded to.

Niagara falls is powerful defining marker on the water’s trip from across the Great Lakes to the Atlantic ocean. It seems the water itself celebrates this part of the journey. The falls have provided electricity to the surrounding city for decades. The people visiting it find inspiration in just looking and listening to the roar of the water.

What milestones can you define for your organization that can create that kind of power for your people and your customers?

Yours in the calm pursuit of excellence,
ALAN WILLETT