HR Saskatchewan - Spring/Summer 2016 - (Page 16)

SPOTLIGHT Stan Slap - the King of Culture By Nicola Middlemiss* In anticipation of the upcoming 10th Annual SAHRP Conference, October 4-5, we wanted to give you a sneak peek into one of the fascinating keynote speakers, Stan Slap: I DON'T CONSIDER MYSELF a role model for a well-planned life," admits Stan Slap when asked how he achieved his phenomenal success despite dropping out of high school. "It all turned out okay but that's more serendipity than anything else," he insists. "It could have gone bad." The suggestion that everything turned out okay is a ludicrous understatement - since starting his namesake organization SLAP 25 years ago, the San Francisco-based management consultant has conducted business in more than 70 countries; earned superlative praise from some of the world's most respected corporate leaders; and signed a three-book deal with British publishing house Penguin. The latter, Slap says, is one of his biggest achievements. "I'm a huge reader and writers are heroes to me," he reveals. "The ability to take a few dozen letters and turn them into these transportational works of art is always something I've been stunned by and I just really wanted to do it myself." A people-first approach Slap acknowledges his best-selling books are far from the fictional masterpieces that have captured his attention since he was a kid. But they're a refreshing alternative to the typical stuffy management books. Slap's books offer a much-needed glimpse into what businesses could look like if leaders dared to shake up their priorities and put people first. "I believe that the lack of humanity in business is a global issue and it affects everybody," Slap says, when asked why he decided to write a business book rather than pursue his personal passion for fiction. "No matter how many clients we took on, we couldn't get through the scale we needed to so the book was a tool to get to that scale." Everyone has to start somewhere It's clear Slap is on a mission to change the status quo of global corporations, so I asked him how it all started. "For me, the worst thing that one human being can do to another - short of actually killing somebody - is to make somebody feel small," he begins. "So the passion that started to drive my company in the early days was the notion that nobody should be diminished by business, working in it or buying from it." THREE BIG CULTURES 1. Manager culture: "The biggest issue for the enterprise is the gaining of emotional commitment - a company can gain financial commitment, intellectual commitment and physical commitment but those combined aren't as important as emotional commitment," warns Slap. "Emotional commitment will translate as managers taking on a company's success as a personal crusade. Sometimes you get that in the early garage days or in times of tremendous pain or gain but you need self-sustained emotional commitment for prolonged success." 2. Employee culture: "It doesn't matter how well strategies are planned, it's how well they're implemented that counts and that success depends entirely on your employee culture," stresses Slap. "Ultimately, the employee culture has the power to make or break any management plan. 3. Customer culture: "The biggest compliment that a company can be given is if its customer culture company brands it," says Slap. "This means you have transferred sustainability of your company to your customer and they advertise themselves for you. 16 Spring/Summer 2016 * While colleagues shared his compassionate ethos, the same couldn't be said for everyone. "Everybody in my company loved that idea so I naively assumed that every other company would love it too," he laughs. "I'd go to these meetings with clients and say; 'You know what's really important here - nobody should be diminished by business, working in or buying from it,' and I'd get this immediate, intense, rabid disinterest. They'd be like 'Okay, yeah that's beautiful. Now back to these numbers.'" This lukewarm reaction led Slap to focus solely on culture. "I realized that if I was really going to change the standard, I'd have to find something that was of compelling interest to people - and that's what led me to culture because culture is where the humans gather in business," he explains. All roads lead to culture SLAP carved out its consulting niche by starting with a proprietary definition of what a culture is; then figuring out how it operates; and finally identifying the biggest potential gain for

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of HR Saskatchewan - Spring/Summer 2016

Letter to the Editor
From the Editor
Leadership Styles: Helping or Hindering Engagement?
Building an Accountable and Self-Directed Workforce
Is Distance Learning Meeting Your Training Needs?
Advancing Women in Leadership
Spotlight: Stan Slap – the King of Culture
Saskatchewan HR Trends Report, Spring 2016
Legal Corner: The Use of Contract Workers Can Create Hidden Liabilities for Employers
CHRP Corner
The Resource Room
Advertisers Index

HR Saskatchewan - Spring/Summer 2016