Strengthen Your Business

The three pillars that create sustained success for any business are guidance, reinforcement, and enforcement. Guidance is the clarity of the mission, vision, and strategy and it translates directly to Auftragstaktik, or commander’s intent. The sum of your standards, policies, procedures, and training programs is reinforcement. Enforcement is how you reward and measure people and teams success. The companies, two of which are highlighted below, that are best able to turn these pillars into strengths just so happen to be some of the best run companies in the world.


When Howard Schultz returned to Starbucks in 2008 he published a manifesto meant to help turn the business around. It explicitly and clearly defined what had driven the success of the company up to that point and it focused more on community and customer service than it did on accessories and fancy drinks. Schultz made it clear that success would be based on nailing the fundamentals and creating an environment where customers would be eager to return. Starbucks then revamped its training programs to include trainings on how to handle ones emotions during stressful situations, and how to better connect with customers.
This reinforces the guidance that was coming from the top.


Pixar has long had Pixar University as their professional development program, however its not all animation and story telling classes. Classes there are as diverse as pottery making and ballet because one of Pixar’s values is lifelong learning. This reinforces the guidance that comes from Pixar’s leadership. Ed Catmull writes “Driving the train doesn’t set [the company’s] course. The real job is laying the track” because he understands the importance of pillar number one, guidance.

A Word on Incentives

Incentive programs are at their best when they are specific to a company’s goals and strategic direction. Further, many companies are not eager to publish their compensation and incentive structures. If you are interested in learning how your incentive program can help enable bottom line growth, get in touch with us today about an incentive program review.

What it Means for You

Is your team on the same page regarding what makes for a good decision for your business? Are you providing trainings, guidance, and other scenarios to re-enforce the official company guidance. Are the incentive programs you have re-enforcing the right behavior? If you answered no to any of questions your business is not operating at its peak performance.

Ed Catmull of Pixar said it best, everything they do has to be good. He meant it across the board, not just the movies, but the team building, the research trips, the comp structure, and so forth. To be a leading company in today’s competitive landscape, you’ll need to make sure that your three pillars are aligned with each other and, more so, with the strategic goals of the business.