A new group of students was inducted in Winona State’s College of Business Beta Gamma Sigma Chapter this past spring. Beta Gamma Sigma is the premier international scholastic honorary society in the world which recognizes the highest academic achievement of business students (“best in the business”) at AACSB accredited schools across the globe. Jack Richter, CEO and President of Winona National Bank Financial, shared some words of advice with the new inductees.
“Congratulations on your induction into WSU’s chapter of Beta Gamma Sigma. It’s quite an honor and reflects not only your academic achievements but also your leadership and service to the University, the College of Business, and the greater Winona community.” Jack Richter expressed.
Richter went on to add, “I think we’d all agree that today more than ever, business is challenging and rapidly changing. I think a great example is the retail segment of our economy. I’m reasonably certain if you surveyed people 20 years ago they would never have believed that you can purchase virtually anything with a phone and have it delivered by a drone the same day. And it isn’t just retail that’s changing. It’s all businesses; large, small, privately held, manufacturing, service, and even the Fortune 500 have seen their business models disrupted in some form or fashion. No business is immune.
“But I would submit that regardless of the changes in business models, there are four pillars that guide and sustain every business. Its People, its Structure, its Systems, and its Culture. Of those, I believe that Culture is the most important.
“So what do I mean by Culture? I define it simply as shared Beliefs and Values within an organization. It’s the way things are done. I believe that every organization, group or team has a culture. Research has shown that when an organizational culture is built on clear values and constructive behaviors that its financial performance, adaptability, and sustainability all increase substantially. Growth occurs organically and consistently. Staff retention and engagement increase as does creativity and innovation. Culture becomes a sustainable advantage and can differentiate your business among its competitors.
“So why is that important to you? As leaders, you’ll have the opportunity and responsibility of shaping the future direction of organizations potentially throughout the world. Your ability to influence the vision and direction of those companies will be directly impacted by your view of your own efficacy or the ability to create change. Having a clear, vivid and detailed picture in your mind of the desired culture creates a new reality and ultimately can drive the performance of the organization. It’s a pretty awesome responsibility but one, when coupled with energy and enthusiasm can be the most rewarding work you may ever do.
“I want to share a simple formula that I’ve found to be very powerful in changing a culture. It’s I x V= R. “I” doesn’t mean investment and “V” doesn’t represent velocity and the result “R” doesn’t equal Return. “I” stands for imagination and represents the detailed picture of your desired culture. “V” is how vivid is that picture. Can you see the all the details? And finally, “R” is your reality. If you can dream it and see it, it will become your reality. So I challenge you to set your imaginations free and create a cultural reality that can transform and sustain the organizations you’ll lead into the future. Their very existence might depend on it.”
Richter wrapped up his address with this,”So on that uplifting thought, I urge you to get out there and as Dr. Akbari says, ‘Create your More.’ Congratulations and best wishes for continued success.”