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Burn the houses, save the nails

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

Culture matters. It affects both performance and outcomes.

A quick review of early American ­history shows a parallel between building a house then and building an organization now.

When the West was settled, pioneers pushed out in stages along the frontier. They’d build some houses and stay until the prospect of better land, better conditions and a brighter future came along.

When they pulled up stakes to move, settlers often burned their houses to reclaim the hand-forged nails, so rare and valuable that they represented one of the only things that couldn’t be left behind.

It’s the same today. In this global business environment, you’ve got to be ready to abandon almost any aspect of your processes and adapt to something better.

Lesson: Keep your frontier mentality. In times like these, it will come in handy.

— Adapted from Epic Change, Timothy Clark, John Wiley & Sons.

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