When speaking on the topic of company culture, in this video, Simon Sinek draws a distinction between, on the one hand, occasional big-ticket initiatives and, on the other, the regular, consistent, low-key, every day approach.
The former, he argues, is like going to the dentist; the latter, like brushing your teeth twice every day for two minutes.
Going to the dentist is vital for long term dental health. But, Sinek says:
“if that’s all we do, all our teeth will fall out.”
“So, we’re also supposed to brush our teeth twice a day, for two minutes in the morning and two minutes in the evening. What does brushing your teeth do for two minutes? Nothing. It does absolutely NOTHING! Unless you do it Every. Single. Day.”
“Can you leave out a day? Sure. How many days can you leave out? I don’t really know. How many times do you have to brush your teeth before it works? I don’t know that either.”
You’d struggle to find anyone who argues that routinely brushing teeth isn’t vital for long term dental health.
Companies, Sinek argues, like going to the dentist. They emphasise intensity: big ticket, headline-grabbing, diarised, measurable intensity.
By contrast, he suggests, companies don't always emphasise brushing their teeth: the small, the every-day, the spontaneous, the unplanned, the auto-pilot, the little things.
It seems to me that this applies to so much of life.
Certainly, working as a Patent Attorney, so much of what I do to add value for my clients is in the small, the every-day, the spontaneous, the unplanned, the auto-pilot, the little things; alongside, of course, the big-ticket items that grab the headlines.
“What does brushing your teeth for two minutes do for you? Absolutely nothing...unless you do it every single day.“ This is Simon Sinek, nailing the way our corporate cultures love to “fix” problems with intensive eye-catching actions.