The group files into the theater, buzzing. People hustle to get to the front row, sitting side by side, no empty seats. The event starts on time, the excitement is palpable.
The other group wanders in. The front row is empty and stays that way. There are two or even three empty seats between each individual. The room is sort of dead.
In both cases, the CEO or the guest speaker is going to address the group for an hour. But the two groups couldn't be more different.
The first organization sees possibility, the second sees risk and threat. The first group is eager to explore a new future, the second group misses the distant past.
The truth is this: it's possible to hire for, train for and lead a front-row organization. And if you merely let entropy take over, you're going to end up with the second, lesser, failing organization instead.
Worth saying this as clearly as possible: The culture, the choice of front row or back row, is a choice. It's the result of investment and effort.