Rome wasn’t built in a day…and why it matters

Posted by Allan Steinmetz on 7 April 2015

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There is an old saying, “Rome was not built in a day”. It took patience, tenacity, cooperation, a well thought-out plan, passion (and probably some back braking slave labor). History shows it took a cross- functional team to make the magnificence of Rome shine. It was not simply about the Emperor and what he envisioned, it was also about the parliamentary procedures, having an Army and the funding that made it happen. Cooperation. Shared purpose. Clarity of purpose. And vision. [Read more...]

Today in our modern world we are faced with the same challenge as building a city as magnificent and time tested as Rome. Though we may not be building metropolises, we are building companies and enterprises that based on their foundation will survive the test of time. Their success and growth will fuel capitalism and freedom around the world and improve the lives of people every day.

Practicality forces us to think about what this means in our daily lives. How do we embrace the grandeur and vision of Rome when transforming and changing our corporate cultures while building team alignment?

  1. You must have a common, clear vision and share it with everyone in the company. S
  2. It requires the organization to embrace and promote new behaviors that are in support of that vision.
  3. There must be a relinquishment of old ways and adoption of innovation and creative thinking.
  4. It requires cross- functional teams that embrace the shared vision and are dedicated to work hard together to make it a reality.
  5. Budgets and monies should be sourced from all functional units including HR, marketing, brand, training and development and corporate. No one department should carry the burden of organizational transformation.
  6. Success requires patience and good listening skills.
  7. Recognize that mistakes can happen from which an organization can learn.
  8. There must be accountability of individuals and departments to ensure that they are doing their part in a collaborative fashion as a team.
  9. One must exercise internal and external alignment in their expression and in their communication. Why one feels in his/her heart should be conveyed in action.

Like Rome, change initiatives must be managed and planned with regular review by all participants engaged with the program, especially leadership. Everyone involved should reflect backwards and forwards to ensure that the direction is concrete and achieves the heights you desire. Yes, it takes a legion of supporters. There cannot be compromises or excuses when it comes to enterprise transformation. As I have said in previous posts, a change movement needs to take on a life of its own that is driven by passion, common values and a strong culture for change.

That is how Rome was built… over many years, not in one day but by laying bricks every day for many years. Eventually the city no longer looked like a construction site and started to take shape and a life of its own. It became familiar; it became the norm. While it was standing it was never taken for granted. The Romans built a culture through transformation and it was grand.

If you would like to discuss this in more detail give me a call at 617.558.9770. I’d be happy to speak with you on this important topic.