Tom Gardner: Selim, in your opinion, what’s the
easiest way to distinguish between a good company and a bad company? Selim Bassoul: Well, the difference between
a good and a bad company is not about who has the better offices or
better machinery, or even better perks. It’s about who has
a great corporate culture. Employees are vying for
empowerment, for a shared vision. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, a French writer,
said, “When you want to build a ship, don’t ask your men to gather wood, but tell them
about the yearning of the open seas and discovering new worlds out there.” Gardner: And a lot of companies,
when they try and get to that high-level purpose, their mission, their vision, they hire consultants,
they hire agencies to help them come up with the wording and figure out
how to communicate it. What’s the shortcut for a great leadership
team to really empower everyone that works in that organization behind a shared vision?
Bassoul: I think communication is the key. You want to motivate your employees. I would rather have motivated employees working
in a shack than a demotivated group of people working in a beautiful environment.
I always take motivated employees. And in order to communicate that message,
there’s only one question I ask every time: how would you do differently if
that company belonged to you? And I ask that question all the time.
It makes us all stakeholders. Gardner: You ask any employee that you’re
meeting with, “How would you manage this company differently if it was yours, if you
owned it, and you were running it?” Bassoul: Correct.