Tag Archives: culture

Corporate Culture Mindset (Infographic)

Corporate Culture Mindset
Source: with thanks to mcnakblog.com


BIV Boardroom Strategy: Candid realities about business’ dirty little secret

In an effort to avoid conflict, leaders and team members often conceal their true feelings, withhold their opinions or outwardly agree and go along with the crowd while inside they are vehemently opposed.

For some, this lack of candour also extends to hoarding information or avoiding communicating with others entirely, in an effort to save face or get and stay ahead of the pack.

Strength of the strategic plan and the ability for executives to collaborate cross-silo with their teams depends considerably on trust and respect within and between teams. The willingness to come forward with authenticity and transparency is key to building up that trust and respect.

In Jack Welch’s book Winning, he describes a lack of candour as businesses’ “dirty little secret.” Continue reading

Road to Respect: Path to Profit by Erica Pinsky

It is no secret that the world we work in has changed dramatically in the last few decades – the way we work, the type of people we want to work with and the type of work culture that drives positive results.

With all of these changes, Erica Pinsky points out in her book Road to Respect: Path to Profit that the one thing that hasn’t changed is that employers still hold the ultimate power in the workplace; with that power comes an even greater responsibility to build a culture based on respect as the key to sustainable profitability. Studies show that money is not the main factor keeping employees in a job any more; people stay because of workplace culture and relationships.  Therefore, with the shifting demographic and opportunities available in the new millennium it is imperative that organizations are aware of the dramatic effect their workplace culture has on the bottom line.

Through case studies and stories about what the top Employers of Choice are doing right, Pinsky encourages us to evaluate the current state of our work environment and empowers leaders to be proactive in building the kind of respectful work culture where the link between culture, job performance and profit is appreciated.  The Road-to-Respect: Path to Profit offers key insights and calls to action that change the way we view respect in the workplace.

Part 1 takes us through what respect is and what it looks like as a core competency in the workplace.  Part 2 dives into how to create a value-based culture where respect is one of the most important core values.  Pairing examples of how some of the most well-respected and successful organizations in Canada are doing this with impressive statistics, we are shown how things like embracing diversity, aligning people and processes with core values, having respectful collective leadership and promoting coaching throughout the organization can transform an organization into an Employer of Choice that attracts and retains the top talent. Part 3 is where the course is really charted. While every organization will find its own path, Pinsky, provides tools on how to assess and evaluate respect in your current culture starting with questioning and information gathering as the foundation.

This easy to read book paints a clear and vivid picture of what the many facets of respect looks like in a thriving organization.  Through numerous ‘respectful practices’ we are not just told, but shown how to move toward a culture where respect is a living a core value and success and profitability are the outcomes.  It is the “roadmap” to respect and path to profit.

Definitely worth the read.

Great example of corporate culture

BIV Boardroom Strategy: Beliefs and behaviours drive corporate success and failure

[read time: 4 mins]

Hidden within the fabric of your organization lies a set of beliefs, behaviours and values that form the basis of your culture. Although values rarely need to be changed, if you are interested in shifting towards a culture where successful execution of your strategic plan is the norm, the beliefs and behaviours that are getting in the way of action and accountability do need to change.

Since behaviours are essentially beliefs turn into action, shifting the culture of your organization starts first with uncovering and challenging the assumptions that drive the beliefs and behaviours that are inconsistent with action and accountability and then ensuring that rewards (and I’m using rewards in the liberal sense of the word to include both intrinsic and extrinsic rewards – praise, raise, bonuses, promotion, etc.) are linked to specific performance.

Here are five questions that senior teams can ask themselves to start to uncover the hidden truths in your business to build a culture of getting things done:

What one behaviour do we, as the senior team, need to start modeling that will dramatically improve the behaviour of everyone else in the company? Few people look down the organizational chart for cues to model their behaviour as a leader; most everyone looks up or side-to-side. Behavioural change within an organization is most successful when it starts at the top. Don’t underestimate the impact that even the smallest change in leadership behaviour can make on your entire organization.

What company-wide assumptions and beliefs have shaped what our organization looks like today? Shared beliefs are a large part of making sure everyone is on the same page, aligned, and moving in the same direction. The trouble comes when we fail to stop every once and a while to examine whether or not these beliefs are still true. Take a long hard look at what you may be doing on a regular basis simply because that’s the way “we’ve always done it”. Challenging assumptions that run so deep that they have become the core beliefs that underpin how you run your business day to day will likely uncover some hidden truths that are actually roadblocks to growth.

What do we need to start believing, in order to guide the desired behaviours going forward? What do you need to start believing about your business in order to keep moving in the right direction? These new beliefs will shape the attitude and behaviours that will be adopted by the senior team, and trickled down through organization, to guide a new culture of getting things done.

How can we link performance to rewards? The foundation of changing behaviour is linking rewards to performance, and making the links transparent. This tells people what’s valued, and what they should focus on. If you reward and promote people for execution, your culture will change.

What kind of people are we looking for? Have ever you noticed that when you have a critical, time sensitive, core objective that you need to delegate, there are a few people in your organization that you turn to every time? Take note of what it is about those few key people – the people that get things done – and make sure you include their core attributes and strengths in your hiring criteria.

There is no better time than right now to take an honest look at what’s really happening in your company. Understanding how unchallenged assumptions and shared beliefs are contributing to the behaviours that are holding your company back from really getting things done is the first step in creating a culture that sees consistent growth and achievement.

BIV Boardroom Strategy – Beliefs and Behaviours – August 2010

Strategic Planning: 200 ft above Grouse Mountain

A few days ago I had the unique experience of being able to run a portion of a strategic planning for a client 200 ft in the area above the Peak of Grouse Mountain, suspended in a viewing platform on the Eye of the Wind, wind turbine.

My friend Sarah McNeill recorded a guest post video on my blog a few months back where she spoke about the importance of taking your team away from the day-to-day environment to re-energize the team, be in a creative mindset, and set the plan for the future. I’m not sure this is what she meant!

If you haven’t experienced the difference between strategic planning on-site and off-site know that it’s certainly worth the investment. Not that you have to be 200 ft in the air above the highest point in Vancouver!

Some quick facts on Eye of the Wind:


  • Overall height: 65 metres, 215 feet
  • Made of structural steel in three sections
  • Weight: 133,946 kg/285,300 lbs (145 tons)


  • Diameter: 7 metres, 23 feet
  • Height: 5.5.metres, 18 feet
  • Weight: 13,600 kg/30,000 lbs (15 tons)
  • Capacity: 36 people
  • Framework: Structural steel and glass
  • Glass: Tempered 2.5 cms/.5 inches thick
  • Viewing Area: 360 degrees (all points on the compass)
  • Elevation: 57 metres (187 feet)

BIV Boardroom Strategy: Your business strategy needs to focus on what your customers care about

[read time: 4 mins]

As you go about your day-to-day business, it’s easy to get caught up in a flurry of activity that doesn’t really mean a thing to your customer.

Making the decision to be more “customer-focused” is easy, but making the shift toward a customer-focused approach is another story. It requires putting customers at the centre of business decisions, company-wide, and consistently thinking about what you can do to meet or beat your customers’ expectations. It’s not an initiative that can be taken on by one department alone, but one that sees the customer become the driving force behind everything your company does.

A pro-active plan to be more customer-focused can generate trust in your brand and create a partnership between you and your greatest asset: your customers.

Here are five ways to move your strategy toward a customer-focus.

  • Make it authentic. If I had to pick one thing that can either make or break a customer-focused initiative, it’s authenticity. A customer-focused initiative that’s authentic shows up in a corporate culture in different ways. Money, resources, passion and accountability are all powerful signals from management that the customer experience is a priority. It requires getting people passionate about the business you’re really in – so much so that your customers get wrapped up in the experience of doing business with you. Every member of your team is critical to the customer experience.
  • Get everyone on the same page. This might seem like stating the obvious, but it’s easier said than done. Uncover the multiple interpretations of customer-focused initiatives and ensure everyone understands what is required to be truly customer focused. Take a look at cross-departmental initiatives. Do they work together from your customers’ perspective? Limit the initiatives that run counter to your customer focus and reduce the silos by communicating what needs to be done across the organization so customers are not getting lost between departments.
  • Consistently ask, “What’s in it for me?” Evaluate decisions and actions by continuously putting yourself in your clients’ shoes and asking, “What’s in it for me?” Make WIIFM part of your culture, and commit to understanding how everything you do affects your customer. Evaluate goals by asking how they show that you understand and value your customers.
  • Try a new approach. When it comes to customer-focused initiatives, ask yourself: are we doing things this way just because it’s the way we’ve always done it? What used to work, might not work anymore. Are your new initiatives just adjusted versions of things you’ve already tried, with a different name? Make a change. Instead of spending time looking for opportunities to make more money from your customers in the short-term, be on the lookout for opportunities to build loyalty and trust.
  • Turn ideas into action. Two of the best ways to guarantee action on any initiative are relevant resource allocation and metrics. Send a message about what’s important by setting up measures of success that are focused on the customer experience, satisfaction, retention and loyalty – and give them as much value as sales and marketing metrics. Then, consider how your resource allocation might be running counter to your customer-focused initiatives, and rework them to support your efforts.

If you’re looking for inspiration from companies that have excelled at making the customer their No. 1 priority, pick up a copy of The Starbucks Experience or The New Gold Standard (about the Ritz Carlton Hotel chain), both written by Joseph A. Michelli.

Mike Desjardins is the CEO at ViRTUS (www.virtusinc.com), an organizational development consulting firm. This column was co-written by Shannon Lawder, content director at ViRTUS.

Click here for the original article in PDF:  BIV Boardroom Strategy – April 2010 – Customer Experience.