Archives For Organizational_Culture

When adding people to your organization. Look for these three things (in the order listed!):

  1. Character
  2. Chemistry (organizational fit)
  3. Competency

Talent doesn’t matter if there is a deficiency of character or the person does not fit your culture.


a time of transition

September 8, 2014

Fall 2013Good Monday morning! You can feel fall in the air here in the Midwest.

Transitions – they are filled with excitement and anxiety. Looking forward to the new and sad about what you are leaving. Transitions provoke a wide range of emotions. I know – we are in the midst of one right now.

This week marks a major transition for our family and for me professionally. This week will be my last days in the office at Ambassador Enterprises, LLC. We are headed back South so that we can be closer to family and to be able to see my parents more and to be able to help with them. As I told the leaders of Ambassador, I am not “leaving” Ambassador (AE), but rather moving toward a family responsibility.

I have learned much about myself, good processes, and leadership during my time here at AE. I have seen up close how to run a business with excellence and all done with Scripture as the guide and the major purpose being bringing glory to God. You can be in business and do well in business by running the business in accordance with God’s Word. Unfortunately, too many people think you can’t, but AE has proven them wrong.

AE has given me the opportunity to go in and help non-profits, ministries, and Christian colleges to get better as they serve the Lord and others. That is indeed a privilege. I have seen first-hand that one of the most effective ways to give is to give yourself – your knowledge, skills, abilities, and experience – to help others.

I am so grateful for the investment into my life by the leaders and team at AE and it shows that if a leader truly desires to run a business by God’s Word and to create a healthy culture where excellence is the standard, it is possible – but not easy. The leaders at AE determined what type of culture they wanted to create and have been relentless in their pursuit of that goal. It is not perfect, by any means, but it is one of the best cultures I have encountered.

If you, as a leader, want a healthy culture where people thrive, it is up to you. It can be done, but it won’t be easy and it is an ongoing effort – but it is worth it as you will change the lives of the people you touch.

So, we are about to turn a page in our lives as we head South to another great organization where we again will have the opportunity to serve others.

Have a great week! 


Good morning!

Organizational mission and culture are important. Having your team onboard and bought into the mission and culture is a key component to your organization’s success.

However, while we (as leaders) think everyone is on board, we keep running into issues that confound us and go against the grain of who we are as an organization. Why?

One reason I have observed is that because the people immediately surrounding the leader(s) do seem to catch it, but it often does not go beyond that one or two inner rings of the circle of people around the senior leaders.oSOmehow, the message, the mission, the values, the culture does not make it to the people on the front lines or in the key support roles as they are too far removed from the inner circle.

So, if you are a leader, you need to get out of your office and meet with the people actually doing the work. Make it safe for them to talk with you. Communicate your mission, values, and the culture to them in straightforward language. Get to know them.

Get out of your office and go talk to your people. Live your mission and values in front of them. Ask them what is wrong with the culture and then fix those issues.

But begin by simply getting out of your office.


“The point is not to become a leader. The point is to become yourself, to use yourself completely -all your skills, gifts, and energies- in order to make your vision manifest. Enjoy the process of becoming.” – Warren Bennis (from Susan Cain)

leaders eat last book with Simon SinekMotivation is something that we read about a great deal. Most of what I have read about motivation actually smacks of manipulation. One of my strongly held opinions is that you can’t really motivate people, but you can demotivate them very quickly. Many organizations look for, and find, motivated people which is what you should do. Unfortunately, they then go about demotivating them.

Simon Sinek, in his book Leaders Eat Last, talks about several subjects, but three things really stood out to me as ways we demotivate those we lead.

First, do you see people as a commodity to be managed in order to help grow the money/ministry? Great organizations see money as the commodity to grow their people. Want to demotivate your staff? See them as a mens to an end. See them as “human resources” to be managed just as you would money, buildings, machinery, and so on.

Second, take away their sense of safety. I am not talking about physical safety (although that is critical), but it is using stress, intimidation, humiliation, or isolation to “motivate” people that makes them feel insecure and lack a sense of emotional safety. Instead, give them a place based upon a clear set of values where everyone is valued and are provided a “safe” place to work.

And thirdly, take away a person’s sense of control over their job and watch their motivation plummet. In studies cited by Sinek, the lack of control over ones job is probably the greatest contributor to destructive workplace stress. Sinek goes on to say, “A supportive and well-managed work environment is good for one’s health. Those who feel they have more control, who feel empowered to make decisions instead of waiting for approval, suffer less stress.”

So, does the culture of your organization value people as people? Is your organization a safe place to work emotionally – for everyone that works there and not just a select few? And finally, do you actually empower people and give them control over their jobs? If not, maybe these are some of the reasons you are struggling with a demotivated staff.

Organizational health is critical to the success of your organization and these three areas are indicators of your health – how are you doing?

Have a great week!


The Discipline of HOW

January 7, 2013

Good Monday morning to you! I hope your week is getting of to a great start. We had a nice quiet weekend, which is a good one in my book being an INTJ!

Last week I wrote a short piece on “The Importance of Why” from Simon Sinek’s book Start With Why. Very enlightening book and well worth adding to your library. He points out that most people start with WHAT, some go to HOW, but very few go to WHY. Those that do tend to have a profound impact on our world.

After he talks about the importance of starting with WHY, he then goes on to talk about the “Discipline of HOW”. Mr. Sineck says that the HOWs are the values or principles that bring your cause (WHY) to life. The HOW is (or should be) manifested in the systems and processes of the organization and its culture.

What is so critically important is to have the discipline to hold the organization and all its members accountable to those guiding principles. Your HOW has to be consistent with and support your WHY and you must hold yourself and those you lead accountable to those guiding principles. This is not easy, but it is a trait of highly effective people and organizations.

The sad part is that I have often found quite a gap in many organizations between their stated values and principles (those plastered on signs on the walls) and their functional values (what they really do and believe). Suggestion for you – do a culture audit and find out if you and your team really believe and act in the way that you say you should. Then review your policies and procedures – do they really support and strengthen your values and principles or are they simply something that you copied from the Internet of have “always done it that way”? Do a brutal assessment – then fix what you can. Close the gaps!!!

A question for you – how do you ensure you stay on track with your WHY (mission) and act in accordance with your core values and principles (HOW)?