Beware of the Business Culture

As a consultant, I have traveled across the United States working with companies and their leadership. I have learned in the past decade that there is far more going on than what meets the eye. The most common mystery that we have uncovered is that beyond the corporate culture there is another culture that you are going to be forced to learn to navigate.


Let’s take a look at three very different markets to help paint the picture.

The first is a market that I am well acquainted with and while not reflective of everyone in this market it is a good foundation. This first market is what I call the Coastal Market. This is most prevalent on the east and west coast. These cultures are driven by innovation, technology, and new players. These markets have been winning in business for a long time and continue to do so because the game is kept fresh and the stakes are high. They are open to fresh new ideas, and there is a lot of money and opportunity flying around. And if you bring insight and skill to the table you can carve out a market. You often have to know who the player are but it is not necessary to be successful. If you have great skill and a great product you can build a space for your business and success is available for all.
The second market is one that I live in now. This is not necessarily defined by geography though it tends to be defined by the middle of the country. This is the emerging market and often identified by a couple of historical and highly established and profitable industry that can be seen everywhere in the area. This market is difficult to navigate and is broken into four groups. The 1st is the top 3% of earners these are the old money, and they are not going to relinquish their control anytime soon. The top earners in this market are not hard the spot. Older age and family name have a lot to do with their success. They are running family businesses and using their local celebrity to build the mini-empire. The next 7% and the 2nd group are what I refer to as the climbers. They are successful business owners or upper levels managers or executives in businesses or franchise. They are desperate to be validated by the top tier and will step on anyone to get what they are looking for in business. They also have financial means to execute on the plans and ideas of the people in the next two segments. This group is the biggest threat to these markets. They fear others having the success they feel theirs, and because of the theft and interference they limit new ideas from entering the market and keep this business community culture stagnant. The reason is you end up with the same people doing business over and over together, and you kill all fresh thought. The next tier is the largest. They make up nearly 80%. These are the people that make things happen. They are running small businesses; they are executing on their ideas and growing business that should have a place in the market. These are strong earners that are not infatuated with the approval of the top two tiers. This is the backbone of nearly every emerging market in the country. If they do not exist there is no foundation for the top two tiers to emerge. The problem we face in the emerging markets is that many of those in tier 2 view tier 3 as a threat. They are used, manipulated, stolen from, and lied to on a variety of issues. This mistreatment of tier three is why emerging markets rarely ever fully emerge. They are held down by members of their community. This culture is ruthless and exhausting. Members of tier 3 and four ultimately become so disgusted with the actions of tier 1 and two that they join the third primary culture. To explore this, we ultimately must understand tier 4. Tier 4 are your dreamers. These are your idea people. These are the people that are bringing fresh ideas to the emerging markets. They are often crushed by the top tiers, or they are manipulated to keep them in line for the benefit of the top tiers. This is most often the case, or they become an idealist. Always fighting windmills and losing. While they bring fresh thought to the local market, they cannot excel due to a lack of open-minded thought in the market. These limits are what are keeping much of the middle part of the US from emerging to their potential.

The final primary culture is what I refer to as the culture of requirement. I find these markets to be very interesting. These markets have found that due to the death of their primary industries they have been forced to evolve. Because of these factors, the member of tier 3 and four are elevated. The reason for elevation can be linked to the willingness to do hard work, hustle, and create new and savvy ideas. These are viewed as necessary tools for the communities to survive. There is a major shift where the established players in the business community work with the innovator to create markets where they can leverage assets help by the established players. We see this emerge in markets like Omaha Nebraska, Youngstown Ohio, Detroit Michigan, and many others. This is a very underperforming financial culture at this time, but it is my belief that we will see many of these markets unfold into leadership in our nation. They have the tenacity and the ability to evolve and thrive. Two examples of cities that were once in this area are Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and Fort Work Texas. They are thriving in response to hearing the voices of Tier 3 and 4.

These are just a few of the business community cultures that we see in America today, and while they all have their unique tendencies, the key for you and I is that we can navigate through them. The key is that we can recognize these markets for what they are and navigate them accordingly. I’m hopeful that we will see continued business evolution in our great nation.

To the coastal market keep leading the way. To the emerging markets, I implore you to get out of your way, and you can lead this great nation into another generation of prosperity and have a greater influence on this nation and for the Culture of requirement. I thank you for your hard work and encourage you to continue your effort to build your cities to a place of sustainment and growth again. To all of us, let’s do the work it takes to be great and let us do it not by crushing or stealing from those below us, but through innovation and inspiration. It is the time that all of America is great in business, not just pockets or certain people.

– Matt Habuda

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