Philie Group Blog

Are You the Custodian or Architect of Your Business — or Both?
By Mike Philie

The role a leader takes and their general outlook on the business, greatly affects the trajectory of any organization. The goal may be to minimize risk at all costs to protect the current state of affairs. For others, the goal may be to carefully design a strategy that leverages their strengths and capitalizes on the market opportunities in their sightline. The right path will be dictated by the appetite for change and how the leadership team deals with risk.

Managing risk is a given for either option, particularly in today’s environment. Also remember that there is risk in doing nothing. The path chosen is neither right nor wrong, it just is. The message here is to fully comprehend the path you are on, communicate it effectively, and make decisions that are consistent with the plan.

It’s important to understand your core, the soul of your business. Another perspective on this is to acknowledge what your brand represents to the stakeholders and the marketplace. Is it more custodial, protecting and nurturing your organization? Or are you more of an architect, building upon your strengths and designing for the future?

The clearer the distinction, the easier it will be for your team to follow and to get customers to knock on your door. Staff members get confused when there are contradicting messages being sent out by the leadership team. They all want to know where the business is going, and what’s important to the majority stakeholders so that they can elect to get on board, or not.

The same message applies for your customers. Both your existing customers and new prospects — rightly or wrongly, have formed an opinion of what type of business you have. These opinions are formed by direct experience with the company and the staff, as well as what they see in social media and what they hear from their peers. Leaders work hard to make those customer experiences consistent with the vision they had for the business. When that doesn’t happen, they know that there’s a failure at some point.

Having a clear vision that leverages your strengths and a consistency in your actions will be beneficial to you, your team, and the health of your organization — regardless if it’s a custodial or architect driven approach. And, while managing risk is rule number one for all leaders, remember that there is risk in doing nothing. If you have questions or additional insight into this topic, please comment below or reach out to me directly.

Mike Philie can help validate what’s working and what may need to change in your business. Changing the trajectory of a business is difficult to do while simultaneously operating the core competencies. Mike provides strategy and insight to owners and CEOs in the Graphic Communications Industry by providing direct and realistic advice, not being afraid to voice the unpopular opinion and helping leaders navigate change through a common sense and practical approach. Learn more at www.philiegroup.comLinkedIn or email at

Originally published in Printing Impressions.


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