Tag Archives | Trust

Culture Leadership Charge – Be Present

img_0454aHow present are you with others in your life? If you’re typing something, watching something, doing something, etc. while interacting with someone, you’re not fully present.

When you’re not present, you’re sending a not-so-subtle message: “You’re not important. I don’t care about you – I care about me.”

In today’s episode of my Culture Leadership Charge video series, I explain how you can make people feel trusted, honored, and respected, in every interaction, by being present.

My Culture Leadership Charge series features short (two-to-three-minute) segments that describe proven culture leadership practices that boost engagement, service, and results across your work teams, departments, regions, and even your entire company.

Each episode’s “charge” is a challenge for everyone in your organization – not just leaders – to refine their behaviors and ensure everyone is treated respectfully at all times.

You’ll find my Culture Leadership Charge episodes and more on my my Vimeo channel. If you like what you see, follow me there!

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Photo © Adobe Stock – Rido. All rights reserved.

How present are you in daily interactions? How might relationships, communication, and service improve if you were fully present, every day? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


vimeo_logoDon’t miss a single video segment in Chris’ new “Culture Leadership Charge” series or any of his video clips. Subscribe to Chris’ Vimeo channel.


podcast_subscribeListen to over 300 of Chris’ Culture Leadership Podcasts on Libsyn or subscribe via RSS.


itunes_subscribeListen to over 300 of Chris’ Culture Leadership Podcasts on iTunes or subscribe via iTunes.


The music heard on Chris’ podcasts is from one of his songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005-2016 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). He played all instruments, recorded all tracks, and mastered the final product for your listening pleasure.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, Chris will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, Chris only recommend products or services he uses personally and believes will add value to his readers. Chris is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Hire great leaders with these tips

Manager Congratulating Member Of Staff In Meeting

You put your business and culture at risk with every hire. If the leaders or team members you bring into your team do not embrace your organization’s common goals and shared values, then trust, respect, and dignity are eroded.

What happens when team members feel distrusted, discounted, or dismissed? They quit and leave, or – worse – they quit and stay.

Team member productivity drops. Self-preservation jumps. Cooperation diminishes. Doing the minimum seems like a good way to cope.

That’s no way to run a successful, sustainable business.

What is the most important hiring decisions you make? Who to put “in charge” of a team. A bad leadership hire – a self-centered, prideful individual – destroys team spirit, cooperation, and creative service. A brilliant leadership hire – an individual that demonstrates authentic care, grace, humor, and accountability – creates a purposeful, positive, productive team culture.

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What do great leaders do? They act daily on their primary responsibility to remove team members’ frustrations. They genuinely enjoy their team members. They laugh with (not at) team members. They celebrate team members’ efforts and accomplishments, not just at work but in the community and at home, too. They give credit rather than giving blame. They lovingly hold team members accountable for results and service. They don’t tolerate rude, aggressive, or self-serving behaviors by anyone on their team.

If all your leaders operated like this, how would it help your business? My experience and research indicates that an aligned culture with caring leaders boosts employee engagement by 40 percent, customer service by 40 percent, and results and profits by 35 percent.

That’s a powerful, positive impact.

How can you hire more genuine, caring, inspiring leaders? During your interview process, don’t focus exclusively on past accomplishments or accolades – focus equally on these tips:

Values and Behaviors – Ask leader candidates to describe their personal life values – principles that guide their day-to-day living. Ask for examples of their behaviors – plans, decisions, and actions – that model their life values or principles. Ask how they handle people they meet and interact with who hold very different values and behaviors. How kind are they? How aggressive are they?

Leadership Philosophy – Ask leader candidates to describe their leadership philosophy. What are their reasons for being a leader? What results are they striving for from their team? Who do they serve – and how? What does that candidate expect of team members? What can team members expect of the candidate? Ask yourself, “Is servant leadership a core foundation of their philosophy?”

Relationships – Ask leader candidates how they gauge the quality of their relationships with team members they’re leading. Which are the candidates’ most important relationships at work? How do they handle disagreement from team members? What do they do regularly to build and maintain positive, professional relationships with team members?

These are not “normal” interview questions or conversations. You might find that candidates are not prepared to answer these questions – you might stun them into silence! However, if you don’t inquire about these important foundational ideas, you may find you’ve made a hiring mistake – again.

Your business, your staff, and your customers all deserve the best leaders you can attract. Try these ideas out with your next leadership hire – and let me know what you learn.

Would these tips improve the quality of your hiring of leaders? What has been the impact of great/OK/lousy leader hiring in your past organizations? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Photo © Monkey Business – Adobe Stock. All rights reserved.

Subscribe!Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

The music heard on my podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005-2016 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I played all instruments, recorded all tracks, and mastered the final product for your listening pleasure.


vimeo_logoDon’t miss a single video segment in Chris’ new “Culture Leadership Charge” series or any of his video clips. Subscribe to Chris’ Vimeo channel.


podcast_subscribeListen to over 300 of Chris’ Culture Leadership Podcasts on Libsyn or subscribe via RSS.


itunes_subscribeListen to over 300 of Chris’ Culture Leadership Podcasts on iTunes or subscribe via iTunes.


The music heard on Chris’ podcasts is from one of his songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005-2016 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). He played all instruments, recorded all tracks, and mastered the final product for your listening pleasure.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, Chris will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, Chris only recommend products or services he uses personally and believes will add value to his readers. Chris is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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The single most important thing employees want

IMG_0584The fifteen year old boy sat quietly while his father described how the teen needed to be more pleasant, to do his chores, to put down his smartphone when speaking to adults, etc.

It was a conversation that had occurred a number of times before. When the father finished his list of issues, the teen asked, “Dad, is there anything I do right around here?”

Most of us remember being on the receiving end of those conversations when we were younger. We might even realize that we’ve delivered those conversations to teens in our lives! We humans have a strong tendency to judge other people for doing things wrong more than we validate other people for doing things right.

Business leaders have the same human tendency. When I speak around the globe, one of the questions I ask is, “How many of you get enough praise on the job?” On average about 10 percent of audience members raise their hands. These players are doing good things at work, but nobody notices. Too few leaders praise or encourage.

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If you want a powerful, positive, productive work culture, it starts with the most important thing employees (and all humans) want: authentic care.

Employees know if their leaders are self-serving or are in service to employees and customers. They see it in their leaders’ every plan, decision, and action.

When a leader genuinely values his or her employees, it’s obvious in the way those employees are treated, in every interaction. The servant leader listens, learns, thanks, laughs with, trusts, and encourages team members, every day. In that caring environment, employees are much more likely to stay with that company, to proactively solve problems, to praise and encourage each other, to serve customers kindly, and to work cooperatively to meet the company’s goals.

Here’s an example. I traveled to the Dominican Republic recently to keynote Mercado’s “Best Companies to Work For” conference. The event was held at the Embassy Suites hotel in Santo Domingo. I spoke to hotel general manager Leonardo Ramirez about his company’s employees and culture.

Leonardo is a servant leader. When the property opened in 2014, he realized he needed to attract and retain talented, committed employees who felt cared for and valued. If he and his leadership team could create that environment, excellent customer service would follow.

Turnover rates in the hospitality industry are miserable. One recent study estimated annual hospitality turnover at 30 percent, more than double most other industries.

Leonardo goes above and beyond to demonstrate authentic care for hotel team members. When the hotel was being painted at the end of construction, Leonardo arranged for the paint crews to go to team members’ homes to paint the inside and outside of their houses – at no charge to the team member! A plaque was placed on the exterior, noting that this was the home of a proud Embassy Suites team member.

Team members are provided with sheets, pillows, and blankets from hotel stock. Team members have free wi-fi at work – and are trusted to use their smartphones to communicate with family and friends so long as that doesn’t interfere with their work responsibilities.

Each year, Leonardo asks team members to share a personal goal for the year. The crew sits around the pool, discuss their personal goals, and write them down for Leonardo. One woman’s family is remodeling their home and struggled to fund the concrete blocks needed. Leonardo had a pallet delivered to her home, at no cost.

Team members work hard for Leonardo and for their peers. The photo above shows a team member ensuring that all tableware in the conference ballroom was lined up exactly across all tables. They work together because they feel cared for.

The Embassy Suites hotel’s turnover rate is 1.5 percent. That’s remarkable in an industry where 30 percent is the norm.

Don’t leave the quality of your work culture to chance. Demonstrate authentic care in every interaction – and demand the same from all team members.

How do your leaders demonstrate authentic care for team members? How often do leaders praise compared to chastising? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Photo © Chris Edmonds Photography. All rights reserved.

Subscribe!Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

The music heard on my podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005-2016 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I played all instruments, recorded all tracks, and mastered the final product for your listening pleasure.


vimeo_logoDon’t miss a single video segment in Chris’ new “Culture Leadership Charge” series or any of his video clips. Subscribe to Chris’ Vimeo channel.


podcast_subscribeListen to over 300 of Chris’ Culture Leadership Podcasts on Libsyn or subscribe via RSS.


itunes_subscribeListen to over 300 of Chris’ Culture Leadership Podcasts on iTunes or subscribe via iTunes.


The music heard on Chris’ podcasts is from one of his songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005-2016 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). He played all instruments, recorded all tracks, and mastered the final product for your listening pleasure.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, Chris will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, Chris only recommend products or services he uses personally and believes will add value to his readers. Chris is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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The One Thing Great Bosses Pay Attention To

SCE-CultureLabX-041416I love speaking about the power of positive workplace cultures. I had the chance to present to the Denver chapter of CultureLabX recently.

As I was building my slide deck for this presentation, adding updated research and examples of terrific cultures, I came to an uncomfortable conclusion. More on that in a moment.

I’m very careful about what organizations I recommend. A company culture can turn from great to grotesque if senior leaders aren’t diligent about the quality of their work environment every single day. An effective, inspiring, productive work environment requires constant tending and nurturing by leaders.

In my book, The Culture Engine, I feature a number of companies with high performing, values-aligned cultures. Two of those companies have experienced rough waters recently. My uncomfortable conclusion? I can’t recommend those two companies anymore.

Let me explain.

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The first is Southwest Airlines. They are a very good company. They continue to outperform nearly all of their competitors. Their culture remains strong; their employees love working for Southwest. Many customers wouldn’t fly on any other airline. The company’s employee rating on Glassdoor.com – 4.2 out of 5.0 points – is exceptional.

I fly Southwest at times.

The issue I have with Southwest Airlines is that they have been fined twice in the last two years by the FAA for maintenance violations. In addition the airline faces a $12 million fine over improper aircraft repairs dating back to 2006.

A culture that allows less-than-excellent maintenance to occur does not earn my recommendation.

The second is Zappos. Zappos is a very good company, as well. They have a very unique culture and have been a top performer since before Amazon acquired them in 2009. They had been recognized as one of Fortune’s “Best Companies to Work For” for eight years in a row. This year, they missed the list.

In addition, nearly 30 percent of employees have left the company (in part due to a buyout offer) in the past year.

Why? Three years ago CEO Tony Hsieh implemented an organization structure called “holacracy.” In essence, holacracy is a system that replaces hierarchies and managers with self-managing teams. The problem? Employees don’t have confidence in the direction of the company anymore.

Zappos’ Glassdoor.com rating is 3.8, down from the mid-4’s a few years ago. Reading through comments of recent employee reviews one finds the holacracy experiment getting poor marks.

“A multi-million dollar company isn’t a high school economics project. It needs strong leaders and a clear direction to succeed.”

“No managers has really shaken things up – and not for the better.”

“Have a little more forethought about obvious questions that will arise from new initiatives. Morale is low because specific concerns have not been addressed.”

A culture that frustrates employees with a poorly implemented new structure and little clear direction does not earn my recommendation.

How can leaders gauge the quality of their work culture? What should leaders pay attention to?

The one thing great bosses pay attention to is the quality of their organization’s work culture. They invest time and energy every day in learning what’s working and what’s not. They spend 70 percent of their time listening to team leaders and employees.

That knowledge allows great bosses to quickly refine a dumb policy that pits people against each other or to promptly praise a team’s innovative response to a challenge or to redirect a leader who isn’t serving his or her team members effectively.

Great bosses listen, learn, and refine the practices of their workplace culture daily to ensure that everyone – employees, customers, leaders, vendors, etc. – is treated with trust, respect, and dignity in every interaction.

Don’t leave your team or company’s culture to chance. Pay attention to what’s working and what’s not. Nurture your desired culture with a servant purpose, values defined in behavioral terms, and clear goals.

How well do your leaders nurture a powerful, positive work culture? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Photo of me presenting at Denver’s CultureLabX © Patrice Lynn. All rights reserved.

Subscribe!Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

The music heard on my podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005-2016 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I played all instruments, recorded all tracks, and mastered the final product for your listening pleasure.


vimeo_logoDon’t miss a single video segment in Chris’ new “Culture Leadership Charge” series or any of his video clips. Subscribe to Chris’ Vimeo channel.


podcast_subscribeListen to over 300 of Chris’ Culture Leadership Podcasts on Libsyn or subscribe via RSS.


itunes_subscribeListen to over 300 of Chris’ Culture Leadership Podcasts on iTunes or subscribe via iTunes.


The music heard on Chris’ podcasts is from one of his songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005-2016 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). He played all instruments, recorded all tracks, and mastered the final product for your listening pleasure.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, Chris will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, Chris only recommend products or services he uses personally and believes will add value to his readers. Chris is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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What’s Your Organization’s Values Operating System?

Trust Concept in BusinessWhat values does your organization hold dear?

Every organization has values, just as every human has values. Some organizations have values that encourage an “I win, you lose” dynamic. Some embrace a “service to others” environment. Some emphasize “results, results, results” while others embrace a family and teamwork dynamic.

We see a wide range of values demonstrated in organizations, large and small, around the globe. Values are the foundation of an organization’s culture – for better or worse.

The challenge is that most leaders – senior executives, directors, small business owners, team leaders, regional heads, etc. – do not pay attention to the health and quality of their organization’s culture.

They’ve never been asked to do that. They may not know how. The vital metrics that leaders are typically held accountable for are performance metrics. It is rare for leaders to be held accountable for the quality of their work environment or for happy, engaged employees.

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Yet where employees are happy – treated with trust, respect, and dignity in every interaction – productivity grows.

For example, Parnassus Investments’ Workplace Fund – a mutual fund that invests in large American firms with outstanding workplace cultures – outperformed the S&P Index during the recent global recession with a 10.81% return compared to the S&P’s 3.97% return!

Focusing exclusively on results or profits can be a slippery slope, as Volkswagen and Turing Pharmaceuticals discovered last year. What is fascinating is that both of these organizations have published formalized values. Volkswagen’s values specifically note “environmental protection.” Turing Pharmaceuticals’ code of conduct specifically notes “treating each other and customers and patients with the respect they deserve.”

In Volkswagen’s case, the behavior of engineers to install software to cheat on emissions testing is clearly in violation of their values. In Turing Pharmaceuticals’ case, the code of conduct document is dated January 27, 2016. I cannot find references to a code of conduct in the company previous to that date. It seems that last year’s pricing debacle prompted the creation of this code.

The absence of formalized values in an organization – or the absence of accountability for published values – can be interpreted to mean that any path – including lying, cheating, or stealing – is OK.

You don’t “assume” that everyone in your organization knows their performance standards and delivers them without any discussions, do you? Performance clarity and accountability requires formalized goals and targets, with dashboards and metrics monitored closely, every day.

You must not “assume” that everyone in your organization knows how you want them to treat other people at work, either. Values clarity and accountability requires formalized values and behaviors, with interaction quality monitored closely, every day.

To ensure citizenship is as important as performance, you need a values operating system – a VOS – in the form of an organizational constitution that is lived and demonstrated by everyone in your organization daily.

An organizational constitution is a formal statement of your company’s present day service purpose, values and behaviors, strategies, and goals. This statement defines what contributions are needed and what citizenship is needed from every player, every day.

Most organizations have strategies and goals defined; these represent your company’s performance standards and expectations. Very few have values defined in observable, tangible, measurable terms – which is the only way you can build a values operating system in your organization.

Crafting and communicating your VOS – through your organizational constitution – is the easy part. The more complex part is aligning all plans, decisions, and actions to your VOS.

When employees are treated with trust, respect, and dignity in every interaction, they’ll treat your customers like gold. They’ll proactively solve problems. They’ll demonstrate pride in their work. And – they’ll deliver performance gains of 30 percent or more.

Don’t wait. Formalize your values operating system with an organizational constitution and align behavior to it every day.

What is your organization’s values operating system like today? Does it inspire cooperative interaction and proactive problem solving or not so much? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Photo © Olivier Le Moal – Adobe Stock. All rights reserved.

Subscribe!Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

The music heard on my podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005-2016 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I played all instruments, recorded all tracks, and mastered the final product for your listening pleasure.


vimeo_logoDon’t miss a single video segment in Chris’ new “Culture Leadership Charge” series or any of his video clips. Subscribe to Chris’ Vimeo channel.


podcast_subscribeListen to over 300 of Chris’ Culture Leadership Podcasts on Libsyn or subscribe via RSS.


itunes_subscribeListen to over 300 of Chris’ Culture Leadership Podcasts on iTunes or subscribe via iTunes.


The music heard on Chris’ podcasts is from one of his songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005-2016 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). He played all instruments, recorded all tracks, and mastered the final product for your listening pleasure.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, Chris will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, Chris only recommend products or services he uses personally and believes will add value to his readers. Chris is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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