Culture’s not always a one-way street.

By Rob Wolff, Senior Consultant In my role of helping CEOs to develop an intentional culture – a culture that’s designed to actually focus on specific success factors and what’s important  – one of the topics that I routinely discuss with employee groups relates to the delivery of what we like to call Legendary Customer Service.  As a consumer who too often receives “barely adequate” customer service, I think every employee of every company could get an easy leg up if this concept were to be embraced. I like to lead these discussions by asking the audience to think about …

Is This Culture Stuff Hokey?

“Are my employees going to roll their eyes or think this stuff is hokey?”  That’s one of the most common questions we hear and one of the most frequent concerns CEOs have prior to rolling out a set of Fundamentals.  I’ll use this blog post to take a closer look at that concern. A little background is in order here.  As some readers may know, we define a company’s culture in terms of a set of behaviors that we call “Fundamentals.”  These Fundamentals get imbedded by practicing them over and over again through weekly rituals.  The “rollout” process is a 3-hour …

A Brief Book Review

I’ve long been a big fan of the author, Patrick Lencioni, and so I was excited to see that he just published a new book in April.  For those less familiar, nearly all of Lencioni’s books are written in a fable format (like the One Minute Manager series) and he uses the business fable to illustrate his concepts.  I particularly like his down-to-earth style and his ability to make concepts simple and easy to understand.  His new book is called, The Ideal Team Player:  How to recognize and cultivate the three essential virtues.  I’ll use this blog to give you …

Make Quality Personal

As most readers of this blog know, from time to time I like to write a piece about one of my favorite Fundamentals™.  (For those who are new, Fundamentals are what we call the behaviors that define our organization’s culture – the way we want people to operate inside our organization.)  For this post, I’ll expand upon what we usually call “Make Quality Personal.”  It’s not about the result  In my RSI (my former company) days, I used to call this one, “Practice A+ness as a way of life.”  I used that language because while getting an “A” in school was good, …

Make Quality Personal

As most readers of this blog know, from time to time I like to write a piece about one of my favorite Fundamentals™.  (For those who are new, Fundamentals are what we call the behaviors that define our organization’s culture – the way we want people to operate inside our organization.)  For this post, I’ll expand upon what we usually call “Make Quality Personal.”  It’s not about the result  In my RSI (my former company) days, I used to call this one, “Practice A+ness as a way of life.”  I used that language because while getting an “A” in school was good, …

Make Quality Personal

As most readers of this blog know, from time to time I like to write a piece about one of my favorite Fundamentals™.  (For those who are new, Fundamentals are what we call the behaviors that define our organization’s culture – the way we want people to operate inside our organization.)  For this post, I’ll expand upon what we usually call “Make Quality Personal.”  It’s not about the result  In my RSI (my former company) days, I used to call this one, “Practice A+ness as a way of life.”  I used that language because while getting an “A” in school was good, …

The Power of a Common Language

One of the first things people notice after rolling out a set of Fundamentals™ is how quickly the specific language of the Fundamentals™ gets interwoven into their daily vocabulary.  In fact, this almost always happens within the very first week.  How does this happen and why is the language so important?  Let’s take a closer look. An invented way of relating Many years ago, I learned a series of communication practices called The Collaborative Way, developed by a man named Lloyd Fickett.   Most of these practices, in fact, are embedded in the Fundamentals.  Lloyd used to describe the Collaborative Way …

Too much going on to tackle culture? 

“We understand how important our culture is to success, and we’d love to be more intentional and systematic about our approach, but we have so many other initiatives going on right now, that it’s just not the right time.”  Does this sound familiar to you?  It’s one of the most common responses we hear, even among truly outstanding leaders.  Let me offer some thoughts in this blog that may be helpful as you struggle to prioritize a variety of legitimately important initiatives. In Patrick Lencioni’s great book, The Advantage:  Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business, he talks about …

Can We Do This On Our Own?

One of the most important questions that every business faces when contemplating a key strategic initiative is, “Can we do this on our own or should we bring in outside help?” Let me try to shed some light on that question as it relates specifically to becoming more intentional and systematic about your culture. Over the past 4+ years, I’ve delivered more than 200 workshops for nearly 3,000 CEOs and other senior executives, providing them with the roadmap for the steps necessary to institutionalize their cultures. Some of those companies have chosen to implement the process on their own, and …

Setting the Table for Success

Here’s a question I get often from companies as they begin transforming their companies through the Fundamentals process:  “We’ve figured out our Fundamentals and we’ve figured out the weekly rituals we want to practice, but how do we get our employees onboard?”  I’ll use this blog post to answer that. The Rollout There’s no question that how we roll out the program has an enormous impact on its success.  We could have the greatest set of Fundamentals and the best ideas for how to practice them, but if we simply dump them on our people with no context, it could …