Culture University

Positively impacting society on a global scale through culture awareness, education and action.

Why Boards of Directors Need a New Profile

By Graham Williams

A scan of the literature, the internet and my interviews with a number of governance practitioners has revealed that when selecting and developing board directors – profit or non-profit, the focus is very much on what they know, who they know, and what they’ve done.

Perhaps, given the awesome responsibilities of 21st century directors (both profits and non-profits), with business having a key role in overcoming probable mega-disasters in society, the environment and the economy; the focus should at least be equally on their character virtues, an other- orientation (not self-serving), and purpose.

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The interest in culture continues to grow but this growth comes with a proliferation of over-simplified and incorrect information about culture and culture change. Culture University was launched in 2014 to cut through this misinformation and it’s grown to be a great resource for leaders and change agents (this is post #191).

Five new posts garnered the highest traffic in 2017 and my personal top insight from each post is captured in the list below.

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Personal vulnerability is considered a liability for leaders. Conventional wisdom holds that it is difficult to lead or negotiate or make demands from a position of perceived weakness. In business, vulnerability is generally seen as weakness. Recent headlines scream for business to avoid vulnerability or suffer the consequences: “30% of Auto Parts Retailers’ Business Is Vulnerable to Amazon,” “Five Industries Most Vulnerable to Digital Disruption,” “Apple Users Are Also Vulnerable to WannaCry-Type Attacks.” Having a strategy or a model or a position that is susceptible to attack is the last thing investors, executives, and employees want.

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Perfection – a most unhelpful addiction

By Louisa Robb

I confess to being a perfectionist in a state of constant rehabilitation. I love things done right. And I mean ‘my’ kind of right. The kind of right that is so insanely satisfying to me that the absence of it leaves me bereft. I think I had an inkling that this wasn’t healthy when people who were not in constant pursuit of this demanding level of excellence, succeeded anyway. What?! How could they? They weren’t up to my standards.

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In order for members of an organizational culture to feel like they can fully contribute to the success of that organization, they must feel a sense of safety to protect, innovate and renovate. Cultures that create an environment of Cultural Dissonance eliminate the capacity for their members to help that culture evolve positively towards organizational goals. This is the experience that so many of the now famous convicted, fined and bankrupted companies navigated when the United States experienced a rash of public scandals.

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Cultivating a Fail Fast Culture

By Janet Sernack

I recently met with a client responsible for organizational development in the financial services sector who was seeking ideas, information, and input from ImagineNation™ towards cultivating a “fail fast” organizational culture. It caused me to explore what might be some of the key messages that could be sent to people to create permission, vulnerability, safety, courage, and trust for the deep learnings that mistakes and failure provide in advancing creativity, invention, and innovation.

How could developing a “fail fast” culture help organizations survive, flow, and flourish with high levels of ambiguity, uncertainty, volatility, and instability in the operating environment?

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