Driving Results Through Culture

S. Chris Edmonds

Speaker, author, and executive consultant S. Chris Edmonds helps leaders create purposeful, positive, productive work cultures.

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Culture Leadership Charge, Episode 105, July 2022 - How does your culture rate?
Jul 10 2022
Culture Leadership Charge, Episode 105, July 2022 - How does your culture rate?
Companies around the globe are short-staffed. Leaders have tried to boost hiring through higher wages and even bonuses, but staffing shortages continue. The problem? Many business leaders want to return to the “old normal” but employees and candidates don’t want “old normal.” A new Deloitte study found the top four things Gen-Y and Gen-Z workers want include work/life balance, development opportunities, higher salaries, and a positive culture.  Money isn’t their primary driver. What must leaders do? They must build and sustain a work culture where employees of all generations are respected and validated for their ideas, efforts, and accomplishments. Let’s examine a shining beacon. Radio Flyer is a 100+ year old company famous for their original red wagons. For the last decade, they’ve been rated as one of the best companies to work for by Glassdoor,  Crain’s, The Inc. 5000 list, and many others. Glassdoor tracks employee ratings in seven critical categories. Radio Flyer’s scores average a 4.9 on a 5-point scale. How did Radio Flyer’s senior leaders create their uncompromising culture? Mark Babbitt and I interviewed Chief Wagon Officer Robert Pasin for our 2021 book, Good Comes First. Their efforts followed our culture model. First, they defined their desired culture - with input from all staff. “We did a very intentional culture transformation where we started to articulate our vision, mission, and values,” Pasin explained.  “We plastered the cafeteria walls with huge posters,” letting every employee participate by writing their thoughts. “This is when the behaviors we want were articulated,” Pasin said. Second, they aligned all plans, decisions, and actions to their desired culture.  Robert said, “You get better at what you measure and become what you celebrate as a team. We started to develop a lot of awards and recognition for people who demonstrated our values.” Third, as the company articulated and celebrated its values and behaviors, Pasin said, “We had to have zero tolerance for bad behavior.” When people behaved in disrespectful ways, they were coached and mentored. If they aligned to desired behaviors, they stayed. If they did not  align, they were lovingly set free. Pasin says, “People are so grateful to not have the distractions, the politics, etc., here because we have no tolerance for drama.” That’s what it takes to sustain an uncompromising work culture. It requires months of steady modeling, measuring, and mentoring of everyone - by every formal leader. This episode was published on on July 10, 2022.
Culture Leadership Charge, Episode 105, July 2022 - How does your culture rate?
Jul 10 2022
Culture Leadership Charge, Episode 105, July 2022 - How does your culture rate?
Companies around the globe are short-staffed. Leaders have tried to boost hiring through higher wages and even bonuses, but staffing shortages continue. The problem? Many business leaders want to return to the “old normal” but employees and candidates don’t want “old normal.” A new Deloitte study found the top four things Gen-Y and Gen-Z workers want include work/life balance, development opportunities, higher salaries, and a positive culture.  Money isn’t their primary driver. What must leaders do? They must build and sustain a work culture where employees of all generations are respected and validated for their ideas, efforts, and accomplishments. Let’s examine a shining beacon. Radio Flyer is a 100+ year old company famous for their original red wagons. For the last decade, they’ve been rated as one of the best companies to work for by Glassdoor,  Crain’s, The Inc. 5000 list, and many others. Glassdoor tracks employee ratings in seven critical categories. Radio Flyer’s scores average a 4.9 on a 5-point scale. How did Radio Flyer’s senior leaders create their uncompromising culture? Mark Babbitt and I interviewed Chief Wagon Officer Robert Pasin for our 2021 book, Good Comes First. Their efforts followed our culture model. First, they defined their desired culture - with input from all staff. “We did a very intentional culture transformation where we started to articulate our vision, mission, and values,” Pasin explained.  “We plastered the cafeteria walls with huge posters,” letting every employee participate by writing their thoughts. “This is when the behaviors we want were articulated,” Pasin said. Second, they aligned all plans, decisions, and actions to their desired culture.  Robert said, “You get better at what you measure and become what you celebrate as a team. We started to develop a lot of awards and recognition for people who demonstrated our values.” Third, as the company articulated and celebrated its values and behaviors, Pasin said, “We had to have zero tolerance for bad behavior.” When people behaved in disrespectful ways, they were coached and mentored. If they aligned to desired behaviors, they stayed. If they did not  align, they were lovingly set free. Pasin says, “People are so grateful to not have the distractions, the politics, etc., here because we have no tolerance for drama.” That’s what it takes to sustain an uncompromising work culture. It requires months of steady modeling, measuring, and mentoring of everyone - by every formal leader. This episode was published on on July 10, 2022.
Culture Leadership Charge, Episode 104 - "No one talks about Bruno."
Jun 13 2022
Culture Leadership Charge, Episode 104 - "No one talks about Bruno."
About that title? We’ll get to Bruno in a minute. The foundational principle of our book, Good Comes First, is that today’s leaders must make RESPECT as important as RESULTS, every day. My colleague and co-author, Mark Babbitt, and I were keynoting a conference. In our presentation, we share this fundamental model - the Performance-Values Matrix. Once you formalize performance expectations AND values expectations, players categorize themselves into one of four quadrants. The upper right is where you want all players to operate. You want them to exceed performance expectations while demonstrating your positive values. You must recognize and retain folks in that quadrant. The bottom left is not a good place for people to operate. They’re missing performance standards and don’t model your values. You must give them a chance to align to both. If they do, great. If they don’t, they can’t stay in your organization. You must lovingly set them free. The bottom right is a slightly better place for people to be. These folks are role models of your positive values - but they’re unable to consistently deliver required results. You must guide them to contribution - through training, coaching, or even finding a role where their skills match needed results. If they boost contribution, great. If they don’t, they can’t stay in your organization. You must lovingly set them free. The upper left brings interesting challenges. Folks in this quadrant deliver the results you want - but they do so while treating others disrespectfully. This brings us back to Bruno. In our keynote, we asked learning partners to discuss the impact of players operating in any quadrant except the upper right. A few minutes into the pairs’ conversations, a loud voice said, “Nobody talks about Bruno.” We asked what this woman meant. She described a top salesperson in their company who always beats sales targets - and always bullies those around him. For years staff have complained about Bruno’s treatment of others - sexist and racist comments, yelling if he doesn’t get his way, etc. Yet, senior leaders don’t do anything. They don’t want to lose the profits this guy generates. So, nobody talks to Bruno - and nobody talks about Bruno. An uncompromising work culture is built and sustained by positive behaviors modeled and rewarded. An uncompromising culture is destroyed by the demeaning, discounting, and dismissive behaviors tolerated - of anyone, by anyone. For players who operate in the upper left quadrant, you must mentor them to alignment, to deliver needed results while treating others respectfully. If they do, great. If not, you must lovingly set them free. Only then will you sustain a purposeful, positive, productive work culture, every day. This is episode was originally published on  on June 12, 2022.
Culture Leadership Charge - Episode 103: Find Your Culture "Sweet Spot"
May 17 2022
Culture Leadership Charge - Episode 103: Find Your Culture "Sweet Spot"
Most of you know me as a speaker, writer, and consultant. Some of you know that I’m a working musician on the side. I grew up in California in the ’50’s and ’60’s. I watched great artists playing cool guitars - and I fell in love with stringed instruments. I’ve been collecting them since college. To stay healthy, stringed instruments need one thing every minute of every day: proper humidity. These instruments are made of wood - wood that reacts to the environment they’re in. Acoustic instruments have a sweet spot: they are healthiest when they exist in an environment with 45-55% humidity. If the air is too dry? The wood will shrink, split and crack. String tension will likely cause a significant break. If the air is too wet? The glue holding the instrument together will fail - and the string tension will cause an impressive implosion! In the California coastal towns where we lived for 30 years, the humidity was perfect for those instruments. In the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, that’s not the case. It’s dry here - consistently in the 20% range. To boost humidity, we use three humidifiers. They keep the humidity at 40—45%. We refill them with water 2-3 times a day. My Taylor guitars have a cool sensor that sends their current humidity to a smartphone app. That app pings me if the humidity gets too low or too high. Just like guitars, the employees of your organization operate most effectively when their environment - the work culture they live in - provides what they need to thrive: respect and validation for their ideas, efforts, and contributions, every day. Respect and validation require a leader to notice and then communicate appreciation for team members’ ideas, efforts, and contributions. Here’s the secret: employees have a sweet spot, too. The most positive impact of respect and validation occurs when the leader enables employees’ inclusion, involvement, and influence. Team members bring their best when they are respected and validated in ways that seamlessly include them . . . that involve them in options and decisions . . . and that gives them legitimate influence in their work and workplace. Anything less erodes engagement, service, and results, every time.
Culture Leadership Charge - Define & Align to Servant Purpose
Apr 12 2022
Culture Leadership Charge - Define & Align to Servant Purpose
In our new book, Good Comes First, co-author Mark Babbitt and I propose four culture cornerstones that are the foundation of an uncompromising work culture. These cornerstones help align people and practices to your ideal work culture. Our first cornerstone, “Live Our Servant Purpose,” enables leaders, employees, contractors, and even customers to see that your company serves a purpose other than just making money. What is a “servant purpose”? A servant purpose describes how or what your company does and how it improves the quality of life for employees, customers, and the communities served. Essentially, your servant purpose is your company’s present-day reason for being—other than making a profit. That higher purpose shifts your organization’s primary focus from making money (or making red wagons, circuit boards, or sandwiches—none of which are innately inspiring to employees) to serving others: generating tangible benefit to your customers and your communities. When a leader lives her servant purpose, she doesn’t just serve that servant purpose—she also acts daily in service to her people.  In a Good Comes First company, a leader must ensure she is not the only leader in the organization modeling its servant purpose. Unfortunately, too many employees experience a crappy boss who is more concerned about compliance and conformity than creative work—a boss who doesn’t care about their people (respect), only about their bottom line (results). In today’s world of work, this is a significant reason far too many of our workplaces suck (and why many of those 48 million US workers voluntarily left their crappy jobs—and crappy bosses and crappy colleagues—in 2021).  Good Comes First companies employ and promote the leaders who are fully capable of embracing the servant purpose—and their people. Moreover, those servant-first leaders genuinely care about personal and professional growth and see each employee, contractor, vendor, and partner as an integral part of that growth. Just as important, these leaders treat any sign of inequality and bias as the cancer they represent in any workplace. And they insist their fellow leaders do the same. Soon, the entire leadership team is focused on not just results but on making people’s lives better. That, in turn, inspires your team members to model the servant purpose, as well. This episode was first published in video format on DrivingResultsThroughCulture.com on April 12, 2022. All rights reserved.
Culture Leadership Charge - Preconceived Notions May Steer You Wrong
Mar 15 2022
Culture Leadership Charge - Preconceived Notions May Steer You Wrong
Business leaders today have a lot on their minds – and on their plates. They juggle hiring challenges. Mask mandates. Retaining talented players. Vaccine guidelines. Supply chain issues. Generating revenue. All these tasks are demanding, requiring attention and intention every minute. Yes, these are important considerations in today’s business environment. However, they are not the ONLY important considerations. Leaders may have a preconceived notion about these considerations: “This is my sole job: managing results.” When leaders are immersed in tasks like these, they may ignore reports that things aren’t going well in their work culture. If leaders learn about bosses behaving badly, most don’t want to deal with it. Another preconceived notion takes over: a perception that “managing results is more important” or “it can’t be that bad” or “HR will handle it.” Such preconceived notions are deeply flawed. The reality is that there is NOTHING more important for leaders to pay attention to than disrespect in their workplace. Here are two recent examples where preconceived notions may have contributed to bad boss behavior was enabled. Eric Lander, the top White House scientist, resigned on February 14 after a months-long investigation found he regularly bullied subordinates – particularly women and people of color. It’s good that Lander resigned. What is not good is how long it took to address his toxic behavior. Complaints were filed last year – yet Lander’s was not challenged to treat people respectfully. It is likely a preconceived notion that “Eric is rough around the edges” allowed him to stay in his role. California State University chancellor Joseph Castro resigned on February 17 after an investigation found he mishandled years of sexual harassment, bullying, and retaliation complaints against a senior administrator while Castro was president of CSU Fresno. Castro hired this administrator. A preconceived notion that “Frank means no harm” would explain Castro’s lack of interest in addressing the problem. Don’t let preconceived notions dissuade you from engaging willingly in workplace issues that arise. Results are certainly important – and they’re exactly HALF the leader’s job. The other half? Ensuring everyone is treated with respect, every day. This is episode 101 of my Culture Leadership Charge video series. In these concise videos, I share proven practices for building and sustaining a purposeful, positive, productive culture – where good comes first. You’ll find my Culture Leadership Charge and Good Comes First episodes and more on my YouTube, iTunes, and Amazon Podcast channels. If you like what you learn, please subscribe. Have you responded to this month’s culture leadership poll? Add your ratings to two questions. It’ll take less than a minute. Once you vote, click “results” to see the responses from around the globe.
Culture Leadership Charge - Learning from a Chiropractor
Jan 15 2022
Culture Leadership Charge - Learning from a Chiropractor
I’m old. Over the years, back and neck pain caused me to hold my neck & shoulders & back very tightly – so moving wouldn’t hurt. Those tight muscles learned to be inflexible and immovable – so I wouldn’t hurt. Muscles are incredibly powerful. If they learn to be inflexible and immovable, they act like bones – firm and solid. That firmness causes muscles to adhere to other muscles (for greater inflexibility) which compresses nerves. The result was a pinched nerve in my neck. Two surgeries in the last two years helped reduce the pain but my hands still didn’t work right. My neurosurgeon said to find a good chiropractor. I found Dr. Eric. He’s been working on getting my neck and shoulder and back muscles to let go. He’s working to release those adhesions for greater strength and flexibility. His efforts have made my hands work better! The thing is – he couldn’t fix my muscles in one visit. It’s taken 27 weekly visits so far – and we’re not done yet. So, Dr. Eric makes changes a little at a time. He’s releasing muscles and retraining muscles. Slowly, the muscles learn to trust the “new normal,” working together rather than binding together. Changing the nature of a work culture requires the same approach. Just as muscles can become inflexible, organizations can become inflexible. Systems that made sense in the ’70s may not serve well today. Policies and procedures drafted decades ago may not enable the nimbleness needed to wow your customers now. Leadership beliefs that are embedded in the autocratic, command-and-control Industrial Age do not inspire employees of any generation. Many of our organizations – and our leaders – are stuck . . . immovable and inflexible. Just like Dr. Eric, leaders must work steadily and slowly to break down lousy structures and practices and build up respectful and validating practices. Some leaders might start with modifying policies and practices that pit people against each other. Others might begin mentoring leaders who rely on bullying to “inspire” results. Don’t wait. Begin the subtle refinements that will build clarity, commitment, and cohesion across your organization to sustain a work culture where respect is as important as results. This is episode one hundred of my Culture Leadership Charge series. In them, I share proven practices for building and sustaining a purposeful, positive, productive culture – where good comes first. You’ll find my Culture Leadership Charge and Good Comes First episodes and more on DrivingResultsThroughCulture.com and on my YouTube, iTunes, and Amazon Podcast channels. If you like what you learn, please subscribe. Have you responded to this month’s culture leadership poll? Add your ratings to two questions. It’ll take less than a minute. Once you vote, click “results” to see the responses from around the globe.
Culture Leadership Charge - Leaders, Here's Your 2022 Call to Action
Dec 18 2021
Culture Leadership Charge - Leaders, Here's Your 2022 Call to Action
I’m reflecting on an anniversary this month. Twenty-eight years ago this month I had a heart attack. It was not how I planned to spend the day. Thanks to exceptional health professionals, dedicated family, and the grace of God, I survived. Like many others who have experienced a significant health issue, my heart attack caused me to reflect on my life. I knew my job at the time was not a great fit for me. I was not using my talents to proactively serve others. So, I left that role and started on the culture educator and consultant path. I am grateful to help leaders build and sustain workplaces where everyone is respected and validated for their ideas, efforts, and contributions every day. I pray you never have a myocardial infarction. Maybe my story can inspire reflection and action in the coming months. The world is going through a “heart attack” today. The pandemic has caused employees to reflect – and many have come to the conclusion that their workplaces are not healthy. So, they resign. Since April, more than 24 million US workers have voluntarily quit their jobs. Of those employees who have remained at work, a new global McKinsey study found that 40% of employees are likely to quit in the next three to six months. These numbers tell a sorrowful tale: our workplaces suck. Why? Because leaders don’t make respect as important as results. When leaders tolerate bad behavior — bullying, harassment, and worse — that’s what they’ll get across their work culture. If they define good behavior — respect, validation, and more — and hold everyone accountable for that good behavior, that’s what they’ll get across their work culture. The reality is leaders build a healthy work culture upon the constructive behaviors rewarded. They destroy a healthy work culture based on the deconstructive behaviors tolerated. Don’t wait. Don’t let your organization be another statistic in the tsunami of resignations in 2022. There is a proven pathway to creating an uncompromising work culture where respect drives results. Learn more at GoodComesFirst.com. This is episode ninety-nine of my Culture Leadership Charge series. In these concise recordings, I share the best practices for creating and sustaining a purposeful, positive, productive culture – where good comes first. You’ll find my Culture Leadership Charge and Good Comes First episodes and more on my YouTube, iTunes, and Amazon Podcast channels. If you like what you learn, please subscribe. Have you responded to this month’s culture leadership poll? Add your ratings to two questions. It’ll take less than a minute. Once you vote, click “results” to see the responses from around the globe.
Culture Leadership Charge - Hiring Issues? Do these 3 things to boost retention.
Nov 12 2021
Culture Leadership Charge - Hiring Issues? Do these 3 things to boost retention.
If you’re trying to hire staff right now, you’re not having fun. The US Federal Reserve Bank in September estimated that the average time required to fill an open job rose from 20 days to 50 days over the previous four months. And a new global McKinsey study found that 40% of respondents are somewhat likely to quit in the next three to six months. 18% of those said their intentions to quit ranged from likely to almost certain. This study also revealed why so many employees are ready to walk out your door. The three driving factors were 1) employees didn’t feel valued by their organization (54% said this), 2) employees didn’t feel valued by their managers (stated by 52%), and 3) employees didn’t feel a sense of belonging at work (stated by 51%). The pandemic has changed what people expect of their workplaces, colleagues, and bosses. Leaders don’t know how to meet those changing expectations. Leaders want to go back to “the way it was” because that’s the only way they know how to manage. Employees have learned they have a voice and they have a choice. How can business leaders change their mindset and change their work cultures? By making respect as important as results. In our new book, Good Comes First, co-author Mark Babbitt and I outline a proven approach that boosts engagement, service, and results and profits within 18 months of implementing our change process. The process requires three things of leaders and team members. First, it requires partnership. Leaders must invite team members to co-create an uncompromising work culture that treats everyone with respect in every interaction. By defining the behaviors required for respect and validation, leaders and team members can co-create an uncompromising culture. Second, it requires role modeling. Leaders must be proactive champions of the new behaviors – modeling them, celebrating them, measuring them, coaching them, and mentoring others to embrace those behaviors. Third, it requires accountability. Leaders must recognize and validate team members’ ideas, efforts, and contributions while re-directing behaviors that discount, demean, or dismiss people or efforts. Leaders can no longer tolerate disrespectful treatment by anyone. Change is not easy – but “staying the old course” is not an option. Not today. Move forward, together with team members, to sustain a purposeful, positive, productive work culture. This is episode ninety-eight of my Culture Leadership Charge video series. In these concise videos, I share the best practices for creating and sustaining a purposeful, positive, productive culture – where good comes first. You’ll find my Culture Leadership Charge episodes, Good Comes First interviews, and more on my YouTube, iTunes, and Amazon Podcast channels. If you like what you learn, please subscribe. Have you responded to this month’s culture leadership poll? Add your ratings to two questions. It’ll take less than a minute. Once you vote, click “results” to see the responses from around the globe. Learn more at DrivingResultsThroughCulture.com.
Culture Leadership Charge - Respect Must Come First
Oct 12 2021
Culture Leadership Charge - Respect Must Come First
Years ago, a friend received some brilliant leadership advice from a mentor. The mentor said, “How you treat people today becomes conversation around their dinner table tonight.” Today, it’s not just dinner table conversations that leaders need to be aware of. It’s Glassdoor.com and social media platforms where examples of great or lousy leadership efforts go viral with just a click! As a culture geek, I’m constantly asking people what their company’s work culture is like. People are surprised that I’m interested – and they tell me their perceptions. Last week I asked a member of a health and wellness company what their work culture is like. She responded immediately. She said: “Our company rocks! I have worked here since the fall of 2019. We are an awesome team of friends. Everyone truly cares about everyone else. We all put our heart and soul into our work each day. We do what it takes each day because we believe in the products, our customers’ experiences all matter, and we enjoy helping others help themselves. When challenges arrive… we roll up our sleeves and work together to solve problems together.” That’s a powerful testimonial to a purposeful, positive, productive work culture. And stories about culture like this are far too rare. Employees—of all generations—desire and deserve workplaces where they are respected and validated for their ideas, efforts, and contributions, every day. Most business leaders do not see their job as creating a respectful workplace. They see their job was creating a productive workplace. Leaders today don’t pay attention to the degree to which their work cultures demean, discount, and dismiss employees’ ideas, efforts, and accomplishments. To most leaders, employees’ need for respect, validation, and recognition of their contributions is not important. The only thing that matters is results. The reality is that when team members feel respected and validated at work, engagement goes up by 40%, customer service goes up by 40%, and results and profits go up by 35%.  Every leader that hears these numbers perks up at the results gains! The trick is that results don’t come first. Respect drives engagement which drives service which drives results. Respect must come first. Learn more at  This is episode six of our Good Comes First video series. You’ll find Good Comes First and Culture Leadership Charge episodes and more on my YouTube, iTunes, and Amazon Podcast channels. Have you responded to this month’s culture leadership poll? Add your ratings to two questions – it takes less than a minute. Once you vote, click “results” to see the responses from around the globe.
Good Comes First - Leaders Model the Culture They Want
Sep 20 2021
Good Comes First - Leaders Model the Culture They Want
Today’s video features Good Comes First book co-authors Mark Babbitt and yours truly discussing a core foundation of a purposeful, positive, productive work culture. Here’s an excerpt. Mark: “I often say, Chris, that most of what I learned about leadership was on the baseball field as a coach for three decades now. On the diamond, I learned that if you set rules and then you don’t follow those rules yourself – for instance, if you say showing up late to practice is unacceptable, but then you show up late – you’ve not only destroyed the values. You’ve not only destroyed the culture. You destroyed integrity, trust, respect.” Chris: “How do they know what to believe?” Mark: “In writing this book and in our work together, we got to learn from good bosses, the great bosses, and those that weren’t so great. It’s been interesting and in a couple of places within Good Comes First, we compare good comes first cultures with not so good cultures and good leaders with not so good leaders. And it’s been very interesting to put in words what makes a great leader and, and what makes a leader untrustworthy. Some of these examples from clients helped us see where the failures are coming from. Leaders bring us in. They say they want their culture to steer toward good. But then when we actually get in there, you find out the leaders aren’t the problem solvers. They’re actually the problem. The best leaders by far we’ve discovered over the years and now with Good Comes First are the mentor-based leaders, the servant leaders. That’s why mentorship is so important within Good Comes First. If you say that one of our values is we respect each other enough to show up on time and to be fully present, you have to follow the rules you set. I have to model them. I have to coach them. I have to expect them, not just from other people, but from myself and every leader. That’s not a common characteristic of many leaders. They don’t hold themselves accountable. Leaders can’t just keep doing what they’ve been doing and expect their culture to change. in Good Comes First, we help you develop an uncompromising company culture, where everybody knows what to expect every single day. And people are expected to live up to those expectations every single day. And so we can’t keep leading as we used to lead.” Good Comes First publishes on September 28, 2021. Learn more and order your copy at GoodComesFirst.com. This is episode six of our Good Comes First video series. You’ll find Good Comes First and Culture Leadership Charge episodes and more on my YouTube, iTunes, and Amazon Podcast channels. Have you responded to this month’s culture leadership poll? Add your ratings to two questions – it takes less than a minute. Once you vote, click “results” to see the responses from around the globe. Video production was brilliantly handled by Phelos Productions – Chris Archuleta and David Towers.
Good Comes First - Make Values Measurable AND Socially Relevant
Sep 6 2021
Good Comes First - Make Values Measurable AND Socially Relevant
Today’s podcast features Good Comes First book co-authors Mark Babbitt and Chris Edmonds discussing a core foundation of uncompromising work cultures - making values measurable AND socially relevant. Here’s an excerpt. Chris: “What I find when I, you and I both experienced that as we work with leaders to help them define what values mean, what does respect mean? What are the two or three behaviors that you want? Teamwork? To demonstrate with each other, with their bosses. You want bosses to demonstrate with current staff, potential hires, customers, etc. You have to get very, very specific in essence, create measurable behaviors that define what your values are. And then most leaders would say, “Cool. Let’s announce those. And then everyone will magically embrace them.” Well, that’s not what happens. So just as leaders have been taught and trained and incented over decades, maybe centuries to formalize performance expectations and monitor the tar out of them and then don’t celebrate much, but redirect a lot, mentor a lot.” Mark: “The definition is key to Good Comes First, to create an uncompromising company culture. You and I worked with a client and we ask them to define integrity. And we asked 20 people what integrity means and we got 14 different answers. How do we get people on the same page? Even when your company says that’s a core value there’s no agreement on what it looks like. 14 different answers! And so it becomes a war of words. And I think that’s what Good Comes First does: Clearly define that value. So it’s not ambiguous. It’s not open to interpretation. No, this is how we see integrity here. Here’s what integrity means to us. And here’s another key thing that came from that work was a lot of people, especially younger employees, tied integrity to social issues. They said, “We can’t act one way inside the walls and then ignore what’s going on in the outside of the world.” We started writing this book three years ago, but from the very beginning, one of our cornerstones for Good Comes First was to use our voice for good. Now, since we started writing that we’ve had several issues, including black lives matter, police injustice, and other social inequities that, that have surfaced. And it’s just magnified almost in a way that the hybrid, the remote workforce that we started talking about three years ago in the book, it, companies started perfecting that as the book was being written. Corporate America has gotten a lot better at remote work over the last 18 months, but we haven’t gotten better yet at the social issues. We’re still fighting those every day. And, the cornerstone user voice. We can no longer sit back and go, ‘All we care about is our shareholders. All we care about is market share.’ We have to have a voice in the world and we have to stand up for what’s right.” Good Comes First will be released on September 28, 2021. Learn more and pre-order your copy at GoodComesFirst.com. This is episode five of our Good Comes First video series, published on on September 2, 2021. You’ll find Good Comes First and Culture Leadership Charge episodes and more on my YouTube, iTunes, and Amazon Podcast channels. Have you responded to this month’s culture leadership poll? Add your ratings to two questions – it takes less than a minute. Once you vote, click “results” to see the responses from around the globe. Video production was brilliantly handled by Phelos Productions – Chris Archuleta and David Towers.
Good Comes First - Teaching leaders to make respect as important as results
Aug 3 2021
Good Comes First - Teaching leaders to make respect as important as results
Today’s video features Good Comes First book co-authors Mark Babbitt and yours truly discussing what it takes to build and sustain an uncompromising work culture. Here’s an excerpt. Chris: Once leaders get to a stage where they realize “This is not sustainable. We’re not going to be able to attract the kind of talent we need. We’re not going to be able to manage using, you know, everybody around the conference room table so I can yell at you!” A toxic work culture doesn’t translate to global remote digital nomads, which, which in a lot of cases is what employees are able to do. We want leaders who understand that it could be better – who understand it could be different – to be able to look at our process. In essence, the process is three pieces. It’s define the culture you want. then align practices, people, behaviors, decisions to that defined uncompromising culture and third, refine it over time. The idea of, as you say, if leaders promote good comes first, they must make respect as important as results. We have to teach leader how to implement this change. Mark: The teaching part is what excites me most about working with you on this book. We both take a mentor approach to everything we do in our businesses and in our personal lives. And it was fun to actually create a model where we could teach people – not talk at them – but work with them to model the behaviors themselves, coach those behaviors, to monitor, measure the behaviors, and mentor people through the change. Occasionally when you have people that aren’t living up to the new expectations. What can you do? Too many business books talk at you, not with you. They tell you exactly what to do at what moment, but in a, not in an actionable way. In this book we actually create the steps where if you first model and then you coach, and then you measure, well, now you have something quantifiable to go back to an individual and say, look, your performance is actually really good, but you’re not showing the level of respect that we demand now within our new culture and we’re going to work on that. We’re very happy with this, but we’re going to work with you on this. And Good Comes First walks a leader through that. So it’s, it’s not a personality thing. It’s not a toxic thing. It’s not even a negative thing. It’s like, “No, you have to be both a high performer and you have to have high values. And we’re going to measure both. We’re going to monitor both and we’re going to help get you into the, into the higher sector of both of those areas – results and respect. And then you’re a model corporate citizen.” Good Comes First will be released on September 28, 2021. Learn more and pre-order your copy at GoodComesFirst.com. This is episode four of our Good Comes First video series, published on on August 3, 2021. You’ll find Good Comes First and Culture Leadership Charge episodes and more on my YouTube, iTunes, and Amazon Podcast channels. Have you responded to this month’s culture leadership poll? Add your ratings to two questions – it takes less than a minute. Once you vote, click “results” to see the responses from around the globe. Video production was brilliantly handled by Phelos Productions – Chris Archuleta and David Towers.
Good Comes First - Why attrition can be your friend during culture refinement
Jul 23 2021
Good Comes First - Why attrition can be your friend during culture refinement
Today’s video features Good Comes First book co-authors Mark Babbitt and Chris Edmonds discussing what it takes to build and sustain an uncompromising work culture. Here’s an excerpt. Mark: Chris, in the book we talk about not just what it takes for leaders to become change champions, but how to build a team that will support, live, model a good comes first work culture. And the reality is this is not always an easy process. It takes months and years to actually execute. One of the criteria that we talk about is that attrition is your best friend. Not everybody’s going to thrive within a good comes first culture. There will be players that you must lovingly set free. Let them go work somewhere else where it’s okay just to collect a paycheck. Where integrity doesn’t matter. Where values aren’t monitored and measured, and certainly where respect isn’t on the same pedestal as results. That’s not what you want in a good comes first culture. The premise of a good comes first culture is good people doing good work in a good place to work. Chris: I’m so taken by some of the conversations we’ve had with leaders. I’ve had a senior leader demonstrate such anger at a player on the leadership team. She said, “He drives performance. His sales team is doing great. But I can’t trust anything this guy says! The next day I find that it’s not truthful, that that’s not honest, that’s not the full story.” It’s an issue of high performance and low values. And I asked, “How long has this guy been here?” “10 years.” I asked, “Have there been good times? Have there been validating times?” “Not enough,” she said. “Not enough.” Watch this video for the authors’ insights on how holding everyone accountable for both respect and results has such a powerful positive impact. Good Comes First will be released on September 28, 2021. Learn more and purchase your copy at GoodComesFirst.com. This is episode two of our Good Comes First video series. You’ll find Good Comes First and Culture Leadership Charge episodes and more on my YouTube, iTunes, and Amazon Podcast channels. Have you responded to this month’s culture leadership poll? Add your ratings to two questions – it takes less than a minute. Once you vote, click “results” to see the responses from around the globe. This episode was first published in video form on July 6, 2021 on my website, Driving Results Through Culture. This is episode three of our Good Comes First video series. You’ll find Good Comes First and Culture Leadership Charge episodes and more on my YouTube, iTunes, and Amazon Podcast channels. Video production was brilliantly handled by Phelos Productions – Chris Archuleta and David Towers. Have you responded to this month’s culture leadership poll? Add your ratings to two questions – it takes less than a minute. Once you vote, click “results” to see the responses from around the globe.
Good Comes First - There's no labor shortage. There's a respect shortage.
Jul 19 2021
Good Comes First - There's no labor shortage. There's a respect shortage.
Today’s video features Good Comes First book co-authors Mark Babbitt and Chris Edmonds (yours truly) discussing what it takes to build and sustain an uncompromising work culture. Here’s an excerpt. Mark: “Let’s talk about this ‘old normal, new normal.’ What we’re doing with Good Comes First is creating a new normal or creating a means by which to generate a new normal. We don’t have to go back to a toxic work culture. One of the things we’re seeing in the news as we talk today is this concept of a labor shortage. There is no labor shortage. There’s a respect shortage, and people don’t need to go back to work. Why go back to work if all you’re going to get is disrespect? If you’re going to have to work with a toxic colleague or worse, a toxic boss – the government has set it up now and eventually those benefits will run out. Why go back to work if you’re less happy than you are sitting at home watching Netflix?” Chris: “I think people can afford to be choosy. Some are in a different position with that, Some have a greater ability to wait two or three months. Even folks that are jumping in and taking what is available now, they’re looking for something more. They’re looking for a leader they can respect, a leader that inspires them, a leader that drives the company to serve others. Those needs are not just post-pandemic. Now this is a team that I’m interested in, right? This is a purpose that I’m inspired by. But it also gets to the idea that younger generations are not inspired by some of the things that our boomer males – we talk about boomer male syndrome in the book – about old school thinking and procedures and systems and disrespectful treatment – and younger generations are simply not going to put up with that.” This episode was first published in video form on July 19, 2021 on my website, Driving Results Through Culture. This is episode three of our Good Comes First video series. You’ll find Good Comes First and Culture Leadership Charge episodes and more on my YouTube, iTunes, and Amazon Podcast channels. Have you responded to this month’s culture leadership poll? Add your ratings to two questions – it takes less than a minute. Once you vote, click “results” to see the responses from around the globe.
Good Comes First - Why focus on work culture now?
Jun 15 2021
Good Comes First - Why focus on work culture now?
Today’s video features Good Comes First book co-authors Mark Babbitt and me discussing what it takes to build and sustain an uncompromising work culture. Here’s an excerpt. Mark: Chris, a question I get often is not so much why this book, but why now? We’re coming out of this strange phase of business with a pandemic. And so, what does why now mean to you? Chris: The idea of having leaders be interested in doing better, doing different . . . they can see the flaws of their operation, but often their focus is so exclusive to results and productivity and performance that the way people treat each other doesn’t appear on their radar screens at all. And yet, as we think of our best bosses and the great bosses that we’ve studied for 30 years, they’re very much in tune with the way people are treated in the workplace. And so relationships are critical. And yet we don’t necessarily define what we mean by respect or integrity or honesty. We don’t measure it. There’s this belief that if we announce it, then it’s going to magically influence everyone to be civil. And we know that does not happen. And particularly now with the tremendous negative, devastating impacts on many businesses that the pandemic has had globally, we’re now seeing businesses try to reopen. There’s a belief that we’ll plug people into the old system, the old structure. And we’ll operate from our, as leaders, old assumptions – and there could not be a bigger disaster headed your way if you try. Watch this video for Mark’s insights on the “new normal.” (It’s not pretty.) Good Comes First will be released on September 28, 2021. Learn more and purchase your copy at GoodComesFirst.com. This episode was first published in video form on June 15, 2021 on my website, Driving Results Through Culture. This is episode one of our Good Comes First video series. You’ll find Good Comes First and Culture Leadership Charge episodes and more on my YouTube, iTunes, and Amazon Podcast channels. Have you responded to this month’s culture leadership poll? Add your ratings to two questions – it takes less than a minute. Once you vote, click “results” to see the responses from around the globe.
Culture Leadership Charge - Good Comes First
May 18 2021
Culture Leadership Charge - Good Comes First
I’m grateful to tell you about my upcoming book, Good Comes First. Written with the amazing Mark Babbitt, Good Comes First is a practical, step-by-step guide to creating a work culture that’s better for morale and for your bottom line. For decades, business leaders around the globe have spent billions of dollars and countless hours attempting to improve employee engagement, decrease burnout, increase retention, and improve productivity. Yet most workplaces still suck: employees don’t feel valued, workplaces aren’t fun or compassionate, and performance is often lagging. You’ve probably run into these issues in your organization, but like so many professionals today, you don’t have a clear understanding of how to fix them. In Good Comes First,  Mark and I go beyond theory, offering proven tools and actionable insights for achieving a work culture that treats employees with respect while inspiring amazing results.  Here are two of the key takeaways from the book. You'll learn to: * Appreciate why a good comes first culture is a business imperative – especially for younger generations. * Identify what “good” means for your company in today’s business climate – and in the future of work. Watch today's 3-minute Culture Leadership Charge video episode to learn an additional ten key takeaways. This is episode ninety-six in that series. Each episode is a 3-4 minute video that describes proven culture leadership and servant leadership practices that boost respect and results across your work teams, departments, regions, companies, homes, and communities. You’ll find my Culture Leadership Charge episodes and more on my YouTube, iTunes, and Amazon Podcast channels. If you like what you learn, please subscribe. Have you responded to this month’s culture leadership poll? Add your ratings to two questions. It’ll take less than a minute. Once you vote, click “results” to see the responses from around the globe. This content was released in video format on my website,  on May 18, 2021. Check out my YouTube channel to view all of my 3-minute Culture Leadership Charge video episodes.
Culture Leadership Charge - The one lever great leaders rely upon
Apr 14 2021
Culture Leadership Charge - The one lever great leaders rely upon
If you’ve been following my thinking over the past 20+ years, you know I coach senior leaders to define their desired culture, align their desired culture, and refine their desired culture. Defining your desired culture is the easy part. Aligning and refining demands that leaders lean on the accountability lever, holding leaders and team members throughout their organization accountable for both respect and results, every day. Workplace accountability means that 1) people understand what is expected of them—expectations for performance and values are clear, 2) people agree to those expectations, and 3) people deliver upon those expectations. The leader’s role is critical in each of these three steps—clarifying and formalizing expectations for respect and results, securing agreement by all parties, and ensuring all parties do what they promised they would do. The reality is we don’t hold people accountable either consistently or effectively. In today’s three-minute episode of my Culture Leadership Charge video series, I outline the two elements that are prerequisites for workplace accountability – and describe how great leaders invest in modeling, coaching, measuring, celebrating, and mentoring to hold everyone accountable for respect and results. This is episode ninety-five of Chris’ Culture Leadership Charge video series. In these concise videos, Chris presents the best practices for creating and sustaining a purposeful, positive, productive culture – at work, at home, and in your community. This content was released in video format on my website,  on April 14, 2021. Check out my YouTube channel to view all of my 3-minute Culture Leadership Charge video episodes.
Culture Leadership Charge - Build a Good Comes First Work Culture
Mar 19 2021
Culture Leadership Charge - Build a Good Comes First Work Culture
For decades, talented people have tolerated old-school leaders that put results before respect. Now is the time for leaders to create a work culture where good comes first for every employee—in every interaction – and where the doing of good leads directly to improved productivity, better customer service, increased retention rates, passionate employees, and higher profits. Employees – your team leaders and team members – deserve a work environment that treats them, their efforts, their ideas, their contributions, and their accomplishments with respect. And yet employees experience far more disappointment than good in today’s workplaces. Pent up frustration with unjust systems and practices, demeaning treatment, self-serving decisions, unfair or unequal compensation, rare recognition, bullying, and worse have led employees to the boiling point. In the coming years, employees will seek out and join organizations and leaders that validate employees’ efforts, serve their communities, and make life better for their customers. Like metal to magnets, employees will seek out companies where good comes first. The problem is that we’ve always been driven by results, so we’ve never asked leaders to change their work cultures. Even if we did, most leaders don’t know how. My upcoming book with Mark Babbitt is titled Good Comes First. Step by step, this book provides proven, actionable strategies for leaders to create and sustain a vibrant, uncompromising work culture. Good Comes First guides you to successfully implement three phases of our culture refinement process: Define your desired work culture through a formalized organizational constitution, which specifies your servant purpose, values and behaviors, strategies, and goals.Align your desired work culture by modeling, coaching, measuring, and celebrating aligned players and practices.Refine your desired work culture by coaching and mentoring players and adjusting practices that don’t align with your organizational constitution. Culture refinement is not easy. As a leader, you already know most change efforts stall or fail. But after reading this book, you will see that, done right, change is not just possible . . . change is practical, powerful, and profitable. And you—the reader—will be the right person, at the right time, to make that change happen. Good Comes First is available for preorder now. The publication date is September 28, 2021. This is episode ninety-four of my Culture Leadership Charge series. In these concise episodes, I present the best practices for creating and maintaining a purposeful, positive, productive culture - at work, at home, and in your community. This content was released in video format on my website,  on March 19, 2021. Check out my YouTube channel to view all of my 3-minute Culture Leadership Charge video episodes.
Culture Leadership Charge  - 3 Significant Costs of a Disrespectful Work Culture
Feb 19 2021
Culture Leadership Charge - 3 Significant Costs of a Disrespectful Work Culture
What is your stress level? What are your employees’ stress levels? The pandemic has placed tremendous burdens on every human—and every company – on the planet. Closed businesses and lost jobs have taken a significant toll on the economy and human wellbeing. Stress is at an all-time high. A 2020 Harris Poll found that US adults’ average stress level was 5.4 (on a 10-point scale). This rating is significantly higher than the 2019 average stress level of 4.9. Parents with children under the age of 18 rated their stress level at 6.7. That’s unfortunate, but not surprising. Effective leaders know that one of the most important things they can do to support team members is to remove employee frustrations. During pre-pandemic times, lousy systems, poor communication, disrespect, and poor follow-through typically generated employee frustrations. During the pandemic, employee frustrations have grown. Working remotely doesn’t solve the above issues—it amplifies them. Leaders can do three things to help address employee frustrations: First, ASK. Proactively engage with employees. Ask them how they’re doing. Ask what their biggest frustrations are with getting work done today. This is episode ninety-three of my Culture Leadership Charge series. In these concise episodes, I present the best practices for creating and maintaining a purposeful, positive, productive culture - at work, at home, and in your community. This content was released in video format on my website,  on February 18, 2021. Check out my YouTube channel to view all of my 3-minute Culture Leadership Charge video episodes.
Culture Leadership Charge - Measure, Monitor, & Reward RESPECT
Jan 11 2021
Culture Leadership Charge - Measure, Monitor, & Reward RESPECT
You measure results religiously. How often do you measure how well you and your company’s formal leaders treat others in your work culture? Just as you measure progress towards desired results regularly, you must measure progress towards desired respect regularly. You must gather objective feedback through regular assessments – at least twice annually – that enable employees to rate how well your company’s leaders model your values and behaviors. By measuring values and respect in a formal way, you can then refine every leader’s efforts and, ultimately, improve the quality of your company’s culture. The problem is that very few leaders have been asked to measure values or respect across their organization. Most don’t know how. Doing a values survey poorly is worse than not doing a values survey at all. Lousy questions result in lousy data that is not helpful or actionable. You need proven expertise to help you build a values assessment platform to gather insightful feedback and to act on the objective data you collect. I have that expertise. I’ve been helping clients measure values and respect for decades. Our values assessment platform helps you: Create an effective values survey based on your desired cultureAdminister your effective values survey, gathering values feedback on all formal leadersDebrief your survey resultsCoach individual leaders to demonstrate your valued behaviors in every interaction In today's three minute episode of my Culture Leadership Charge podcast series, I describe how important it is to properly structure your survey items (questions). This is episode ninety-two of my Culture Leadership Charge series. In these concise episodes, I present the best practices for creating and maintaining a purposeful, positive, productive culture - at work, at home, and in your community. This content was released in video format on my website,  on January 11, 2021. Check out my YouTube channel to view all of my 3-minute Culture Leadership Charge video episodes.