Tag Archives | Work Place Inspiration

Culture Leadership Charge – The Weakest Link

img_0661aDoes your team or company have a “weak link” – a player out for themselves, unconcerned with common goals or shared values?

Teamwork and cooperation build stronger, sustainable relationships with customers than “out for themselves” lone wolves in your organization.

In today’s episode of my Culture Leadership Charge video series, I explain how costly it is to tolerate selfish, competitive players are in your team or company culture.

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 YouTube and Vimeo channels. If you like what you see, please subscribe.

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Photo © Adobe Stock – andreykr. All rights reserved.

What do your “weak link” players do that erodes trust, respect, and performance across your team? How do those weak links impact customer relationships over time? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


Subscribe to Chris’ mobile updates, texted right to your smartphone! Text VALUES to 72000 or head here.


Chris’ new “Culture Leadership Charge” series and the rest of his video clips can be found on YouTube. Subscribe to Chris’ YouTube channel.


vimeo_logoChris’ new “Culture Leadership Charge” series and the rest of his video clips are also available on Vimeo. Subscribe to Chris’ Vimeo channel.


podcast_subscribeSubscribe to Chris’ posts via RSS.


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


The music heard on Chris’ podcasts is from one of his songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005-2017 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.


Subscribe to Chris’ mobile updates, texted right to your smartphone! Text VALUES to 72000 or head here.


Chris’ new “Culture Leadership Charge” series and the rest of his video clips can be found on YouTube. Subscribe to Chris’ YouTube channel.


vimeo_logoChris’ new “Culture Leadership Charge” series and the rest of his video clips are also available on Vimeo. Subscribe to Chris’ Vimeo channel.


podcast_subscribeSubscribe to Chris’ posts via RSS.


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


The music heard on Chris’ podcasts is from one of his songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005-2017 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 Cost of Waiting

Crossed fingers!A bit of a wait won’t hurt, will it?

With fingers crossed, you rely on luck and hope. Let’s say you’ve decided to defer getting your furnace repaired. “It’ll last another year,” you tell yourself.

It might last, and it might not. Getting it fixed now might cost money and inconvenience (workers in your home, the mess that is made, etc.). Waiting might mean no heat in the dead of winter – and no one available to fix it promptly.

We humans defer a lot of important things. Investing in our retirement. Changing the oil and filter in our car. Apologizing for a mistake. Losing weight. Exercising.

We when we put things off, we hope that things won’t get worse. We might even hope that things will “fix themselves,” without any change or intervention on our part.

That never happens. I never lost weight when I kept eating fatty foods and didn’t exercise!

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What happens when we wait? Logical consequences happen. Logical consequences are things that naturally occur in work and life. If you do (or don’t do) “X” then “Z” naturally occurs. There are good and bad logical consequences.

What is a logical consequence of deferred furnace replacement? You saved money but you froze a couple of nights. Logical consequences of an unhealthy diet? Diabetes, heart trouble, obesity, and worse.

One business issue that is too frequently deferred is dealing with a lousy culture. Business leaders reach out to me because they’ve read my book or my articles, listened to my podcast, or heard me speak. They know their business culture is unhealthy. They’ve tried a number of things but nothing changed. They know they need outside expertise to guide them to a safe, inspiring, productive culture.

My job is to educate leaders on my proven process. My approach outlines specific phases that business leaders must drive. They can’t delegate the responsibility for culture refinement to anyone else.

Most embrace this responsibility. They let me serve as a behind-the-scenes coach so they can define, live, and enjoy their desired culture. Engagement, service, and results grow.

I’m unable to inspire some leaders. One or two potential clients a year learn what’s required and say, “No, thanks.” Most decide to wait.

What are the logical consequences of allowing an unhealthy business culture to continue, unabated? Trust, respect, and dignity continue to erode – between leaders, team members, peers, and customers. Vital information is withheld. An “I win, you lose” environment means that money is left on the table; the few with the best information win, while many others fall short. Results are inconsistent.

Getting things done right in that unhealthy culture takes time, energy, and patience. It’s exhausting – not exhilarating.

Waiting to refine a bent – or broken – organizational culture allows the difficulties to continue, to deepen, to become even more entrenched.

That’s no way to run a business.

Our best bosses figured out ways to ensure our team environment was healthy, inspiring, safe, and productive. There is no reason for you to wait to fix yours.

How healthy is your business culture? What are the strongest features of your culture today – and which are the most frustrating for you? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Photo © djoronimo – Dollar Photo Club. 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.


Subscribe to Chris’ mobile updates, texted right to your smartphone! Text VALUES to 72000 or head here.


Chris’ new “Culture Leadership Charge” series and the rest of his video clips can be found on YouTube. Subscribe to Chris’ YouTube channel.


vimeo_logoChris’ new “Culture Leadership Charge” series and the rest of his video clips are also available on Vimeo. Subscribe to Chris’ Vimeo channel.


podcast_subscribeSubscribe to Chris’ posts via RSS.


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


The music heard on Chris’ podcasts is from one of his songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005-2017 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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Your leadership team’s true purpose

Tired business people.What is your team or department or company leadership team’s core “reason for being”?

If your leadership team is typical, the focus is on results and profits. Their only “reason for being” is to deliver expected performance.

There are very good reasons for that singular focus. In most companies, the only thing that is measured, monitored, and rewarded daily are results and profits. Leaders are recognized and valued (and paid) based upon their ability to deliver expected results.

Those leaders have never been asked to do anything different. Their role models – leaders they served under in the past – focused exclusively on results and profits.

It’s all they know.

However, there are undesirable logical consequences when leaders exclusively focus on results and profits. The biggest consequence is that team leaders and team members deliver those results in any way they can – including ways that serve themselves (and inhibit others’ performance), that bend rules, that are unethical, and worse. Those behaviors erode trust, respect, and dignity of your fellow employees. “I win, you lose” is the mantra.

We’ve all seen it.

The reality is that an “I win, you lose” philosophy actually limits team and department and company results! Performance is capped when team leaders and team members choose to not cooperate, share information, or enable others’ successes.

Now, there is nothing wrong with results and profits. What sucks is when the work environment is so competitive that people have to battle their peers to “win.” That boosts anxiety and stress and reduces well being and cooperation.

There is a better way. I can prove it.

When leadership teams craft a present day purpose that focuses on service to others – along with desired values and behaviors, strategies, and goals – performance goes up, by 35 percent. Engagement and service to up, by 40 percent – all within 18 months of refining their culture with an organizational constitution.

Those are impressive numbers – but getting leadership teams to evolve past their “old ways” is challenging.

A leadership team’s core purpose statement – their true, present day “reason for being” – answers three questions:

  • What does this team do?
  • For whom? Who are this team’s primary customers?
  • To what end? What is the desired outcome of these efforts beyond delivering results or making money?

Why is “to what end” important? Because most team leaders and team members do not enjoy any significant benefit if the organization makes more widgets or generates greater profits. Their take home pay doesn’t jump.

What humans crave is purpose and meaning. They want to know how their work makes their communities better, improves people’s lives, or even reduces environmental impact. When employees understand their beneficial impact on others, their engagement goes up. They serve others more effectively. Their commitment to the company goes up.

The “to what end” question is critically important. Most leadership teams I work with struggle with an answer to it. They are afraid if they don’t focus on results, those results will go away.

The exact opposite is true.

So what is an effective leadership team purpose statement? One of my client’s crafted a terrific, service oriented purpose statement for their leadership team:

“Drive results and service through engagement and respect.”

This statement honors the leadership team’s need to ensure team members deliver results and customer service while it clarifies what their leadership team must deliver first: employee engagement and respect.

Leaders, don’t focus exclusively on results. Your leadership team is responsible for creating a work environment based on trust, respect, and dignity, which then inspires team members to deliver great results and service.

Does your leadership team proactively create a safe, inspiring work environment? How does your leadership team foster trust, respect, and dignity of all team members? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Photo © gstockstudio – Dollar Photo Club. 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 © 2005-2015 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I played all instruments, recorded all tracks, and mastered the final product for your listening pleasure.


Subscribe to Chris’ mobile updates, texted right to your smartphone! Text VALUES to 72000 or head here.


Chris’ new “Culture Leadership Charge” series and the rest of his video clips can be found on YouTube. Subscribe to Chris’ YouTube channel.


vimeo_logoChris’ new “Culture Leadership Charge” series and the rest of his video clips are also available on Vimeo. Subscribe to Chris’ Vimeo channel.


podcast_subscribeSubscribe to Chris’ posts via RSS.


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


The music heard on Chris’ podcasts is from one of his songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005-2017 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.”

Everybody Knows Your Name

Group Of Friends Having Outdoor Barbeque At HomeHow well do your employees – team members in your organization – know each other? If you want a work environment that values positive relationships as well as top performance, this is an important question to consider.

Years ago I studied the W.L. Gore company. Their unique culture, based on a holacracy (no bosses), has served that company well since it’s founding over 50 years ago.

In discussions with key Gore leaders, I learned about another practice they embrace to this day. Their functional teams and plants are no larger than 300 people. Why? “When those units get too large, nobody knows your name,” one VP explained. “In smaller units, people feel more involved and connected.”

In a 2010 interview with Gary Hamel, Gore CEO Terri Kelly says that in big business units or plants, “the sense of ownership, the involvement in decision-making, the feeling that I can make an impact starts to get diluted.”

Tom Peters tells the story of a company that was facing a complicated project with aggressive deadlines. The company had brought in experts from other organizations from around the globe. The project team was really struggling to get clear on how they’d work together, on how they’d blend their various skills to deliver this project on time, under budget, and with a minimum of drama. Tom says, “They discovered a remarkable tool to get people to cooperate. The tool? A BBQ!”

Peters describes how this classic casual meal together helped team members learn about their project team peers away from the demands and pressures of the project. They learned about each others’ passions, hobbies, and stories. The BBQ’s worked so well, they held them each week. These BBQ’s became this team’s “community foundation.” Relationships improved. Cooperation improved. Solutions were arrived at and implemented.

Later, after the project was delivered to rave reviews, the company credited the team’s success to those BBQ’s.

My son Andy experienced the power of casual social gatherings recently. He’s a huge board game fan. He found peers at his job (in a big box home improvement store) who were also board game fans – so, he invited six people over for an evening of board games.

They had a ball. He said everyone “knew” each other from work but they hadn’t spent any time connecting or visiting beyond work responsibilities. They loved the games and truly enjoyed their new friends. Some had worked at the store for years and had never made these connections.

How can leaders of teams create a common bond among team members? I don’t think its mandatory that all team members are best buddies, but there is no question that common goals and shared values boost productivity, engagement, and service. Here’s proof.

No matter how large their organization, leaders can boost connection and cooperation by intentionally building community. Whether its BBQ’s or other activities together, such events help people know each other beyond their work roles. Those bonds can help accelerate cooperative interaction, innovative solutions, and meaningful contributions together.

What do you have to lose?

How did your best bosses create common goals and shared values? In what ways does your current team connect beyond work roles – and how does it help work get done? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Photo © Monkey Business – Dollar Photo Club. 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 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I play all instruments on these recordings.


Subscribe to Chris’ mobile updates, texted right to your smartphone! Text VALUES to 72000 or head here.


Chris’ new “Culture Leadership Charge” series and the rest of his video clips can be found on YouTube. Subscribe to Chris’ YouTube channel.


vimeo_logoChris’ new “Culture Leadership Charge” series and the rest of his video clips are also available on Vimeo. Subscribe to Chris’ Vimeo channel.


podcast_subscribeSubscribe to Chris’ posts via RSS.


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


The music heard on Chris’ podcasts is from one of his songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005-2017 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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