Top 10 Posts in 2014

Top 10 Culture University Posts in 2014

It’s been an exciting first year for  We launched in March, 2014 with the purpose to positively impact society on a global scale through culture awareness, education, and action. I was frustrated with all the superficial and incorrect information about the subject of workplace culture and wanted to bring visibility to what some of the top experts in the world have to say about the subject.

Culture is a powerful force but we’re buried in tips, keys, and levers that barely touch the surface of what it takes to effectively shape or change an organization’s culture with a direct and sustainable impact on performance.

We built a solid base of content in 2014 and all but one article also ran on, one of the largest and fastest growing HR blogs. Our top 10 posts in 2014 were:

#10 – The future of customer experience improvement is all about culture – by Tim Kuppler

I researched numerous approaches to customer experience improvement and found many “expert” consulting firms in this field barely touch the subject of culture.  It’s not good enough to have a great product or service these days; you need an exceptional customer experience and culture is a key to success.

#9 – There’s no ‘butts’ about it, purpose driven companies have much to teach the world – by Larry Senn

CVS Health made big news in 2014 with their purpose-driven decision to stop selling tobacco and to forego a source of over $2 billion in revenue.  Learn about purpose-driven companies from the founder of the workplace culture company that originally worked with CVS when they defined their purpose: Helping people on their path to better health.

#8 – Using the trust matrix to build the seven levels of trust – by Richard Barrett

The insightful and clear trust matrix diagram had tremendous sharing across Twitter.  The article also includes an explanation of culture entropy, definitions of the components of trust, and an exercise for building trust.

#7 – Cultural transformation only comes with personal transformation – by Larry Senn

The title is so true and barely touches the surface of the great content in this article.  Learn what it takes for personal and organizational transformation including unfreezing our underlying thought system, using an inside-out approach with teams, helping people make a personal connection to the change and much more.

#6 – Leadership, humble inquiry & the state of culture work – Tim Kuppler interview of Edgar Schein (Part 2)

What an honor for a culture enthusiast like me to personally meet Edgar Schein and for him to graciously share his insights as was launched. He has such a clear and consistent approach to culture and leadership.  It was interesting to hear that what troubles him is the “misuse of the word culture.”  An interesting point in a year when culture was identified as the “word of the year” by the Meriam-Webster dictionary.  Learn more about how culture is catching on (the good news and bad news),leadership, humble inquiry, and Edgar Schein’s future work in this post.

#5 – Organizational culture has reached its tipping point, yet many culture change initiatives fail for four key reasons – by Larry Senn

Yes, organizational culture has reached a tipping point and most CEO’s know culture can have a strong impact on business results.  Unfortunately, most culture change efforts fall short of their potential for four reasons.

#4 – The first principle of successful culture shaping – the shadow of the leader – by Larry Senn

Larry Senn is on the countdown once again with the important concept of the shadow of the leader. Most of us have experienced this shadow but many CEO’s aren’t personally engaged in leading culture change.  This insightful article includes videos with Yum! Brands Chairman and CEO, David Novak, and USAA CEO, Joe Robles.

 #3 – The four roots of engagement – by Jim Haudan

This article was extremely popular on social media and  Engagement “naturally occurs” when a company culture incorporates these four roots. Learn more about the four roots of engagement in this article which also includes an associated video.

#2 – 10 clear principles for the 96% that need culture change – by Tim Kuppler

I wrote a popular article about a survey from Strategy& where 96% of respondents said culture change was needed in their organization in some form.  I was somewhat critical of the recommendations that accompanied the results.  Someone at Strategy& sent me a follow-up article a few months later that was titled 10 Principles for Leading Change Management.  These recommendations were dramatically better and I covered them, along with some personal commentary, in this article.

#1 – Culture fundamentals – 9 important insights from Edgar Schein – Tim Kuppler interview of Edgar Schein (part 1)

This article was the most popular by a wide margin.  It’s likely a result of the timeless and clear fundamentals shared by Edgar Schein.  I love his point about how “culture can be a bottomless pit” and the importance of focusing on a business problem, challenge, or goal.  Learn about this and the other important insights in this article.

What about 2015 at

We’ll build on this outstanding foundation of content with additional insights from our current faculty and guests along with new faculty and guests.  We’ll hopefully increase our post frequency if we find a major sponsor to off-set the costs and we’ll be adding a clear subject directory so CultureU becomes a well-organized repository of outstanding workplace culture insights on most related topics.

Thank you for all of your comments, sharing, and support!  I also want to thank all of our faculty and guests for sharing their content to improve workplace culture awareness, education, and action.

About the Author

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Tim Kuppler

Faculty Tim Kuppler is the founder of Culture University and former Director of Culture and Organization Development for Human Synergistics, a 40+ year pioneer in the workplace culture field where he led collaboration and partnering efforts with culture experts, consulting firms, industry organizations and other groups interested in making a meaningful difference in their organization, those they support, and, ultimately, society. Currently with the Compass culture division of the staffing powerhouse, Insight Global, Tim authored Build the Culture Advantage, Deliver Sustainable Performance with Clarity and Speed, which was endorsed as the "go-to" resource for building a performance culture. He previously led major culture transformations as a senior executive with case studies featured as part of the 2012 best-selling book – Leading Culture Change in Global Organizations. He was also President of Denison Consulting, a culture assessment and consulting firm and is an accomplished speaker and recognized as a Top 100 leadership conferences speaker on Tim's 20 years of culture and performance improvement experience includes the rare mix of executive leadership, coaching, and consulting knowledge necessary to help leaders quickly improve team effectiveness and results as they focus on their top performance priorities, challenges, and/or goals. He networks extensively in the workplace culture field in order to learn and apply the latest insights from many experts.