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Intentional Culture by Design; next best action?

David Friedman, VISTAGE best practice speaker on the topic of Intentional Culture recently visited with our CEO peer groups in North Carolina. David, a former CEO, recently published Culture by Design.


Intentional culture by design

Culture by Design (cover)


This may be one of the best business books I’ve ever read. A guide to the tactics for building a highly successful culture. It is fast paced, clear persuasive and credible. (Bellamino)

In David’s foreward, he asks: “What is the implication of this recognition of the influence that culture has on performance as it relates to leadership? Well, as a leader, think of the enormous impact you could have if you had some way that you could mre purposely or more intentionally create the kind of culture that would help your team to perform at their highest level.”

In Friedman’s presentation , he reinforced that your culture can be a competitive differentiator. Friedman outlined an 8-step framework (see below) for designing the culture that you want.

Intentional culture: the 8-steps are:

  1. Define
  2. Ritualize
  3. Select
  4. Integrate
  5. Communicate
  6. Coach
  7. Lead
  8. Drive

As your next best action, please consider defining or re-defining your desired behaviors (culture). Consider ritualizing the behaviors with your employees or associates in a daily or weekly huddle. With repeated impressions, behavioral rituals will begin to permeate the organization.

Similarly, some leaders embraced Friedman’s HPCWayFinal and called it their own. Others set out on a journey to (re) define their unique behaviors & culture.

For illustration, let me give you an example.

Intentional culture desired behavior: Go above and beyond.

Supporting behavior narrative: “Be willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish the job…plus a little bit more. Take the next step to solve the problem. Even if it takes doing something that’s not in your job description, it’s the extra mile that separates the average person from the superstar. Be a superstar.

In conclusion, if you had a simple and effective way to disrupt and transform your intentional culture that not only engages employees and gets results, why wouldn’t you?


What goes on inside our head drives results

Some time ago, had VISTAGE best practice speaker Mary Lore promoting her book Managing Thought

Many nuggets contained in Mary's book perhaps none better than "What goes on inside our head drives results." 

Our beliefs, perceptions, attitudes, intentions, passion, purpose—our thoughts—drive our actions. Therefore, if we don't address our thoughts change does not happen.

Download Mary Lore Managing Thought

Recently, VISTAGE best practice speaker David Friedman visited my group with his presentation and group discussion on the topic of behaviors and rituals. My crowd loved David's message!

For a little while, I kept coming back to "connecting the dots" of David's presentation on the topic of behaviors with that of Mary's on the topic of thought, e.g. linking thoughts (values) and behaviors.

I thought that you might enjoy a "reprise" of some of the thirty behaviors David created for his business HPC, e.g. "The HPC Way", and that he shared with all of us.

I would encourage you to begin thinking about these behaviors from this place.

What if everyone in the organization was universally aligned on these themes? David reviews these "rituals", one at a time weekly with his team. These behaviors build and reinforce each other and over time begin to permeate the discussions, day-to-day decisions and culture of the organization.  

#1 Do what's best for the customer. In all situations, do what is best for the customer, even if it is to our detriment. There is no better way to build a reputation than to steadfastly do what's right for others. Every day.

9 stucks

I'm often approached about this idea of being stuck.

Coincidentally, some time ago I archived a sketch created by fellow practitioner Jim McHugh entitled "9 stucks."

It captured the moment beautifully and I archived it.

I like the central theme and scope of the idea.

I created my own infographic in an attempt to catalog some of these 9 stucks that I see all too frequently with the business owners  that I meet with. I see it as my job when I see you stuck, to help you get unstuck.

Certainly "9 stucks" is not an exhaustive list.

Download 9 stucks 0618







Why do you (continually) resist the facts in your life?

Archived a column from WSJ writer Elizabeth Bernstein. Here is a digest.

Do you ever wonder why it is that you resist facts in life even when you know the facts are important? I do!

For example, about 10+ years ago I had LASIK surgery on both eyes. You see (no pun intended) I was both near- and far- sighted. The LASIK procedure performed at the time was known as LASIK monovision. Between you and me, I was growing increasingly tired of carrying (and continually leaving behind) eyeglasses! I eventually "graduated" to daily wear contact lenses. To me, it was a pain in the AM to mount and the PM to dis-mount. LASIK surgery solved the problem after the initial drama of re-training my brain.

Years later, and in my advancing age, my eyesight has again begun to deteriorate for reading close-up & particularly at night when I am driving. 

I know that it would make me very happy to address this concern yet I keep putting it off. Why?

Dr. James Shepperd, a psychology professor at UF says, "We want to think of ourselves as healthy and smart people who make good decisions so we resist information that challenges those beliefs."

Said slightly differently, and again according to Dr. Shepperd, people tend to avoid unwanted information when the person has limited financial or psychological resources. "Check."

People also avoid information if they don't trust it, feel that it won't help them or might force them into an action or set of actions that they don't want to take.

Further, Shepperd's studies indicate that when people feel that they have some control over the outcome of the information, they're more likely to agree to hear it (and perhaps act on it). "Check."

Assuming for a moment that you may be similarly afflicted from time to time, how can I cut through the resistance?

1.) Start by thinking about what you value in life. Per the above illustration, "seeing is believing" a/k/a "affirmation invention." Whatever is central to one self, in this case "self-care", probably gets done. "Check."

BLOGGERS NOTE: What is important to you? I would encourage you to write a few paragraphs (maybe journal it) and determine how you intend to practice that in your life. This makes the threat (or option) seem smaller, and correlating resources to handle it larger.

2.) Remind yourself that you're in control of your life. Finding out any sort of accretive information ahead of time typically opens up a world of new options. Over time, in the aggregate, peeling back a layer at a time will help you deal with the overwhelm that we all feel from time to time.

3.) Finally, ask yourself why you're avoiding the information. Contemplate for a moment why the information might be helpful or unhelpful. In my case, perhaps another LASIK procedure, eyeglasses or contact lenses is my best course of action.



By now, you've probably caught up to the rot of the core that is Facebook.

Frankly, Facebook's relationship with your personal data is in a word "troubling."

For starters, your data has been repeatedly exploited in a bold attempt to monetize Facebook's model and to line their pockets.

By extension, you've exposed your friends and neighbors too. And, what to make of the omnipotent Facebook Pixel?

Let's face it, depending on what you have shared over the years, Facebook knows an awful lot about all of us. And, if it is out there, it is difficult to scrub.

Recent events leave us all a bit shaken. If you haven't left Facebook already, you may consider it.

In a nutshell, for years, Facebook has shared a treasure trove of personal information with developers and data miners of varying stripes. The most recent example of this is Cambridge Analytics and their overt ties to the Trump election effort. 

Facebook continues to self-monitor and self-police. In my view, who is guarding the henhouse here? The company has repeatedly failed in its efforts to date to police itself. What are they gonna do, hire hundreds of thousands of people to monitor daily threads? 

The WSJs Christopher Mims says, "Personalization in advertising is sometimes nearly indistinguishable from surveillance, and personalization is how Facebook makes money and in turn captures so much of the online advertising pie." Sheesh!

In my view, we're one brick short of antitrust litigation. You just know that that'll wind around the courts for a most certain extended period of time with adjudications, appeals; you get the drill (sigh).





Chances are, it’s already been said

I was thinking about something the other day and wondered your take on it.

I'm wondering if the remaining unique idea(s) out there is a zero sum game. 

Think about it.

In other words, what are the chances that it has already been said? Or, the idea is already out there in the public domain created by an individual or group of folks far smarter than I am just waiting to be discovered?

Probably sounds pretty cynical I know this idea of unique ideas and a zero sum game.

Think about it.

How many unique ideas did you come up with over the last week, month, year(s)? Oh sure, there is a unique idea every now and then that a profound thinker comes up with. It doesn't take long to come to light in a fervent attempt to monetize. Then, folks do a riff on it, "knock it off" and call it their own. Cynical.

For me, I've always been best at filtering other peoples ideas. "R&D" as my good friend DBP likes to say. Replicate and duplicate. Don't get me wrong— I have a pretty strong "filter" for extraneous stimuli. Annotation or transcription skills if you will. 






IQ, EQ and AQ

We've known for years the value in super intelligent people. IQ. Critical thinking. Cognitive thinking. Knowledge base. When applied appropriately–powerful.

Then, along came EQ. Self-awareness. Self-regulation. Motivation. Empathy. Recent studies have shown leaders with high EQ outperform those with low EQ. Simple. 

Now, AQ which stands for "adversity quotient." A/K/A resilience. Show me someone that excels in AQ and you probably have a winner. According to Inc., "your resilience is the key common denominator in terms of growth and successful outcomes."

You can take a deep dive here.  

"People absorb eloquent action" (HT to Langone). Take it. 


Think and Grow Rich

Napoleon Hill, in his venerable book "Think and Grow Rich" said that "Champions do what has to be done, when it has to be done, whether they feel like it or not."

What if you exerted just one ounce of extra energy today whatever your chosen endeavor?

Make a difference in someone else today. Think about it.

You won’t die until your purpose is fulfilled

From author Michael Hyatt, words to think on today:

  1. God has a purpose for every single person.
  2. You won’t die until that purpose is fulfilled.
  3. If you are still alive, then you haven’t completed what you were put on earth to do.
  4. If you haven’t completed what you were put on earth to do, then your very purpose hasn’t been fulfilled.
  5. If your purpose hasn’t been fulfilled, then the most important part of your life is still ahead.
  6. You have yet to make your most important contribution.
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