Jesse Lahey

Culture Is Your Job

by Jesse Lahey on August 14, 2019


“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” ~ Attributed to the late Peter Drucker; popularized in 2006 by Mark Fields, former CEO of Ford

A mid-level professional gave a presentation to a group of vice-presidents of the company where he works. He sprinkled in some of his trademark humor, which usually gets a positive response from his audiences and helps them connect with the real human behind his subject-matter expertise. But this time, the response was … crickets. No one even cracked a smile.

Later, one of the VPs pulled him aside to provide feedback. “Your presentation was full of great insights and information. But I don’t think the humor was necessary. Stick to facts.”

Oh, the Irony

That company’s official values and policies encourage people to “be their true self at work.” As at many organizations today, their strategy recognizes the business value of cultivating an inclusive environment and attracting diverse perspectives. But this story about the VPs seems to show that their strategy isn’t yet being lived out in their culture.

Yeah, I get it. You’re just a ______ (fill in the blank … VP, mid-level manager, individual contributor). So many factors driving corporate culture fall outside your sphere of influence.

And yet, there are six personal drivers of culture that every person in the organization can own … and in fact, do own, whether or not they realize it. Regardless of your role in the company, it’s your job to cultivate the right culture. And you have every one of these six drivers at your disposal:


The professional in this story realized that culture is his job. After listening to the feedback, he thanked the VP (after all, the well-meaning VP was practicing caring and coaching).

And then he said something like, “I’m choosing to set that feedback aside and continue being the authentic ‘me’ in that type of situation. Because I think it’s important to set an example of being our true self at work. Our company’s culture and business sustainability depend on it.”

Which of these Cs was he practicing?

By the way, all six Cs are necessary and equally important … as I’m reminded by the consequences when I fall short in any of them. In your leadership, how are you practicing all six Cs of culture?

How to Shape Your Company Culture

by Jesse Lahey on January 16, 2019

Culture. How we do things around here — how we treat each other, customers, and suppliers. It’s not just about communication. And yet it has everything to do with communication. [click to continue…]


The Power of Everyday Sabbatical

March 1, 2017

Several years ago, I called to reconnect with one of my mentors from my college days at Xavier University. Early in my conversation with Gene, I mentioned that I thought I recalled reading in Xavier’s alumni magazine that he’d recently completed a one-year sabbatical. (As at most colleges and 15% of US companies, Xavier periodically […]

Read the full article →

Why I Added a Habit Tracker to My Productivity System

February 22, 2017

The Productive habit tracker is an app that reminds you of things you’d like to do on a regular basis. I look at it a few times each day to see if there is anything I forgot to do. Its interface makes it fun and easy. Previously, I tried putting these types of activities in […]

Read the full article →

3 Apps for Quick NY Resolutions — It’s Not Too Late to Start

January 10, 2017

Starting a new year is a great time to start healthy new habits, quit unhealthy ones, or just try something new that may improve your life’s satisfaction or effectiveness. But it’s already more than a week into the new year. Many of us have already tried and failed on our resolutions. For many others, the […]

Read the full article →

Visual Examples from O2E Brands

April 21, 2016

These fun examples of visuals to promote contests and milestones were discussed in GC35: Enhancing Millennial Performance at Work | with Aaren Terrett.                              

Read the full article →

4 Ways to Boost Benefits & Wellness Results with Behavioral Econ

April 12, 2016

The new book The Power of Fifty Bits: The New Science of Turning Good Intentions into Positive Results by Bob Nease, PhD, is the first practical guide to help business leaders apply the principles of behavioral economics (sometimes called “Becon” for short) to workforce engagement issues. The framework of seven strategies explained in the book […]

Read the full article →

Make Leading Easier with Behavioral Economics

April 6, 2016

The new book The Power of Fifty Bits: The New Science of Turning Good Intentions into Positive Results is the first practical guide to help business leaders apply the principles of behavioral economics (sometimes called “Becon” for short) to workforce engagement issues, including wellness and benefits. Author Bob Nease, PhD, who was the chief scientist […]

Read the full article →

Behavioral Economics Strategic Framework

March 23, 2016

Most people want to do the right thing. They just need help acting on those good intentions. ~ Bob Nease, PhD If you are a business leader — especially a benefits manager or the leader of a wellness program — you’ve probably heard the term behavioral economics tossed around. For the past five to 10 […]

Read the full article →

How to Help People Enjoy Their Life’s Work (and Stop Modern Slavery)

January 30, 2016

Do you know what it’s like to experience the pleasure of full engagement in your life’s work? We all have “Monday blues” at least occasionally, and we all love to get away now and then for a vacation. But life is not complete unless we get that satisfied “high” that comes from productive work. Perhaps […]

Read the full article →

The 5 Most Important Leadership Books of 2015

December 29, 2015

Jump-start your new year with the past year’s best thinking So many books, so little time. If you’re like me, the number of appealing books published every year is overwhelming. These are the five books from this past year that I believe are the most important for leaders — with ideas and principles that will […]

Read the full article →

126: Holacracy – An Agile Management System for a Rapidly Changing World | with Brian Robertson

December 15, 2015

Holacracy is a fundamentally different “operating system” for organizations. Holacracy revolutionizes how a company is structured, how decisions are made, and how authority is distributed. Perhaps the best-known examples of companies who have adopted Holacracy are Zappos and David Allen Company. “No one reports to anyone anymore,” explains The Washington Post about Zappos. “Instead, employees […]

Read the full article →