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S2E11 - The Culture Effect
Episode 114th July 2022 • Open Your Eyes with McKay Christensen • McKay Christensen
00:00:00 00:30:53

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This week, McKay talks about aspects of the culture effect, including creating culture, maintaining it, and how to rescue it. He opens up with a story detailing Tonga’s devastating volcanic eruption and how the Tongan culture, which values respect and open-mindedness, helped the people weather the storm. McKay notes that, when teams or families have a strong culture, they will thrive and prosper, but, on the other hand, when culture is weak, it can destroy your team and everything you’re working for. 

McKay also emphasizes that, as leaders, we have the opportunity to influence and shape the culture that drives us, and goes on to share that, to do so, we must learn to value feedback. So, make sure that you are slow to speak and quick to listen when it comes to creating a culture and values. Likewise, an influential leader will lead by example, sharing and modeling the values by which they hope their team will abide. McKay draws this episode to a close with one final piece of advice: be careful who you let join your team. All it takes is one person to totally alter your culture, so protect it and you will protect your team as well.

The Finer Details of This Episode:

  • Tonga’s devastating volcanic eruption
  • The fall of IBM
  • Defining culture
  • Influencing culture
  • The importance of feedback
  • Sharing and modeling values
  • Why mid level managers create culture

Quotes:

"Tongans look out for each other and respect others. Many Tongans may avoid outward signs of wealth or affection. They dress in modest ways, and they're highly receptive to other people's opinion and behavior.”

“Culture can guide a team, lead a company to thrive and prosper, or culture can, like toxic ash, choke a team and cause companies to fail, or fall.”

“Most leaders don't understand culture and they don't know how to diagnose or influence it.”

“Culture can help teams be more agile, loyal and effective… Culture can also be a significant liability when it's misaligned with your strategy or values. And it doesn't matter how dysfunctional your culture may be on your team today, you can improve it with a plan and intentional effort.”

“So, like the researchers in Roseto, you may have to set up camp for a while on your team, maybe even in your family - watch, listen, and observe. See if you can uncover some of the cultural behaviors and assumptions that your team members have.”

“You see, some leaders stopped showing up for the small things. And the result? Their people do the same. What you do duplicates, so if you want to change the culture on your team, model the behavior.”

“Hire and recruit people who exemplify what culture you're trying to create. And over time, these managers will influence your entire team. So be very selective about the people you let influence your team.”

“Listen, learn, and determine where your culture is today to define the mission and values that will underpin your future culture.”

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Open Your Eyes with McKay Christensen

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