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Best Practices Growth Management Personal Development

Crafting Culture

Crafting culture goes beyond adding a suggestion box in the office corridor. An organization’s culture can be a deliberate choice for every business; however, many organizations weave it to become something that becomes unconscionably crafted through the lives, actions, and experiences of the people within that organization. The tough part about culture is that it is always an end state and an aggregate result. As organizations, we have to be deliberate in crafting the type of culture that we want to see within our organizations through the actions, standards, and norms which are true to our values not only as an organization but as people and as executives.

There are deliberate steps to this, and all require prudent and strategic decisions on behalf of the individual employees, leaders, executives within the organization.

First, being deliberate early on and setting the standards from when a company is small, everyone’s wearing different hats, and there is a rapid startup mentality. Early on during this stage, organizational leaders have to be able to say, “This is the culture that we want for our organization, this is the feeling that we want to build, this is the way we want the interactions to be, and these is the norms and the values of our organization.” If we don’t set all of these early, they can each become unconsciously set, and changing it, especially a radical change, becomes exceedingly difficult, if not impossible.

The same goes as we are growing our organizations. It means carefully selecting and onboarding personnel on the norms and traditions of the company. Onboarding these ideas is not making sure that they are a quick 15 minute PowerPoint within a business’s onboarding process. It is making sure that new employees see great examples, understand the leader’s messages, and that the leaders themselves are espousing these values so that they can pass them on. It’s having these standards being acted out on and the value statement moving off the poster into the break room on the break room wall into everybody’s daily interactions and actions.

The last piece is to remain focused on growth. This is something that culture yes is an end state and aggregate result, but it is continuously changing based on the lives, actions, and experiences of the people. So what happens within the organization contributes to the future culture of that organization. This means that organizations and leaders are finding ways to encourage the informal influencers in the organization to build new ideas, achieve new goals, and share information about what is in line with the overall strategic arc of the company and where they want to go and what they want to achieve in the future—making sure that the people taking action are espousing the ideas that enable that action to happen. Culture is mutable and constantly adjusting for the situations companies find themselves in.

Current circumstances provide new input, changes, challenges, and opportunities for companies to build towards better cultural pieces. New and current situations offer ideas that can be espoused to remain ahead and competitive within their markets. These ideas do not always have to be a top-down push, and most times, this is going to be something that is a grassroots effort. Because something is going to work down in the line somewhere and having the frameworks in a place where these ideas, best practices, and influence can be shared is incredibly powerful.

As organizational leaders, we have to focus on these 360 degrees of influence and find the people within the organization that can drive the organization towards greater success with these new ideas, with these new experiences. What leadership allows to happen influences this greatly. Whether it be good, bad, or left unsaid, all of these actions contribute to the culture of an organization, and often something weak that’s adding into the lifestyle and remains unspoken about is allowed to continue—diminishing the overall culture of the organization.

Executives must act decisively and make sure that the culture is being steered in the right way, and that the personnel within the organization know what’s right, wrong, and acceptable, as well as know where they can be pushing the envelope to develop these new ideas. Crafting culture should not be left as free for all. It is something that everyone can contribute to, but it has to be guided.

For organizations that want to see cultural development of any type, there are best practices: Being open to new suggestions and ideas, especially informally helps immeasurably. Do not expect people to put things into a suggestion box that’s then blindly read and never acted on. Cultural development is based on the interactions of people. And in those interactions, we have to encourage what we want to see more of, and we have to nip problems in the bud quickly before they become systemic or swept under the carpet. We have to show both what we do want and what we don’t want for our companies.

Ed Brzychcy is former U.S. Army Infantry Staff-Sergeant with service across 3 combat deployments to Iraq. After his time in the military, he received his MBA from Babson College and now coaches organizational leadership and growth through his consultancy, Blue Cord Management.

Growth Leadership Personal Development

The Case of the Cashmere Cancer

I have worked in and with about 20 different workplaces in my career, some as a lowly worker bee, some as a manager, some as owner. Some had excellent workplace cultures- which I define “as a place I enjoyed working.”, some did not.

I will confirm what you already know- these enjoyable workplaces had little to do with the work or the pay or the benefits. (one of my favorite work experiences was working at the Minnesota State Fair, serving for fourteen hours a day at nineteen bucks a day! Hard, hard work, and so much fun!)

And some places were not fun to work at. Why these places were drudgery is best explained by Kevin the Cancer in Cashmere.

Before Kevin (Kevin was not his real name) was hired, the radio station I worked at featured low pay and long hours and a great culture. We loved our work, would hang out together after work; we didn’t always agree, but we were passionate about it. Sometimes you’ll hear a phrase, “we don’t talk about work after work.” I remember we loved to talk about work, ways we could do our jobs even better, the competition, the opportunities in the market, everything, and anything.

Then Kevin was hired. Here were a few facts about Kevin:

  1. He was supremely talented- very good at his job.
  2. He looked good, dressed up, and wore cashmere sweaters. Kevin was always polite to management and deferred to them when in meetings.
  3. He was also two-faced- snide and sarcastic, insulting management behind their back.
  4. He greeted co-workers in the hallway with “You’ve got a dumb job.”
  5. And this is the most important thing I remember…everyone secretly hoped he would get fired, but management was the last to figure it out because they were so enamored with his politeness and his talent.

An excellent Culture is easily evident in a thousand different small ways that look like one quick observation that anyone can see when they walk in the door: people like working here.

It is and can be tweaked and adjusted and manipulated and improved. But the biggest, simplest and hardest step to getting your good culture back is finding if there’s a Kevin.

Here’s why Kevin is hard to find:

Kevin is a cancer. And he is clever. He knows how to hide from your managerial immune system using talent and appearance, but your employees know him and have probably tried hinting about the problem.

Here is why it is hard to get rid of Kevin:

You are worried.

You think he will go work for the competition.

You think no one can take his place.

You think company profits will suffer.


But as you think about further about it, you understand that working for the competition will be your best possible outcome. You realize that other underutilized workers are waiting for an opportunity to take Kevin’s responsibilities, and with a flash of insight, you believe your company profits will increase.


So long, Kevin.





Best Practices Entrepreneurship Marketing Personal Development

Pivot and Flex (for speakers and experts)

Welcome to another day in the crazy, upsidedown land of COVID-19. 

I was just telling my amazing spouse – aka The Hot One® – how the headlines change daily, sometimes hourly if you watch your phone notifications. 

And it’s wild ups and downs like we’ve never seen… 

One day (or hour) it’s “OMG we ain’t seen nuthin’ yet and this is all going to get much worse before it gets better – horrible, horrible, scary, scary”… 

The next day (or hour) the news is “Hey great news – there are signs of this slowing down, we might be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, it looks like we’re finally coming out the other side”… 

Only to be followed up with more terrible news and dark predictions the very next day. 

So are we supposed to change our whole business model? 

Are we supposed to wait it out and hope things come back to normal? 

Nope. And nope. 

I just recorded a new masterclass for you on how you can pivot your business model for more virtual and online delivery of your expertise. 

And how you can flex your marketing messages to be COVID-19 hyper-relevant today to gain prospects’ attention when they are obviously distracted, upset, and have more problems than ever. 

And no, things will NEVER come back to the way they were in January of 2020. 

Don’t get me wrong – live events will come back. 

The economy will bounce back. 

But it won’t be in the same way as before. 

It will be back – but different. 

If you want to position yourself to survive now – and thrive later – as a speaker, trainer, coach, consultant, or expert – watch this training right now and you’ll see how to pivot and flex your business. 

And how to build a permanent virtual and remote delivery capability into your business model that will lead to profits now and income protection for the rest of your professional career.

Want to move your business online NOW? Building online and virtual profit centers is smart both short-term (obviously) and for the long run. Imagine if you never had to depend on live events or face-to-face interactions of any kind – unless you wanted to – and still generate multiple six figures of revenue and be of good service to great clients who need and want your help? That’s what this 25-minute laser-focused training is all about. Check it out now.