A Blog by John Bossong

Leaders Need To Shape Organizational Culture

Do you have a healthy organizational culture? What does a healthy organizational culture look and feel like? How does Zappos deliver happiness and maintain an exemplary culture? How do you create a culture that breeds monetary and intrinsic success? If it were easy, everyone would just duplicate great organizational cultures.

Do you want to shape your organization’s culture or let it happen – Andy Stanley, Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast, June 2013.

Obviously, as a leader, you want to shape the culture. You want people to behave in a positive way that adds value to the customer and their work environment.




Ken Blanchard, author of Whale Done The Power of Positive Relationships explains how fascinated he was by the ability of Sea World trainers to use redirection.  Upon encountering undesirable behaviors on the whales’ part, they immediately refocus those energies elsewhere.

Instead of focusing energy, as most of us do, on what went wrong, they redirect that energy toward a positive outcome – Ken Blanchard, Whale Done

Do you redirect or focus on catching people doing things wrong? What behaviors are you trying to reinforce?  Again, do you want to shape your organization’s culture or let it happen?

Stanley notes in the June Leadership Podcast how crucial it is to make people part of the process.  He states that buy-in is much greater when people are part of determining the organizational behaviors rather than putting a plaque on the wall.

Dysfunctional Cultures / Teams


Author Patrick Lencioni explains the five dysfunctions of a team in the video below.  Although they deal with teams, the dysfunctions are relevant to an organization’s culture as well.

Key Lessons from the Video

  • Absence of trust - Team members are not comfortable being open and honest.
  • Fear of conflict – Team members are not comfortable engaging in healthy conflict.
  • Lack of commitment – Team members don’t buy-in or commit because of a lack of healthy conflict.
  • Unwillingness to hold each other accountable – Peers don’t hold each other accountable because they don’t buy-in and have a lack of commitment.
  • Inattention to results – Team members are more concerned with their egos, silos, careers or budgets than the team itself.

If this sounds simple, it’s because it is simple, at least in theory. In practice, however, it is extremely difficult because it requires levels of discipline and persistence that few teams can muster - Patrick LencioniThe Five Dysfunctions of A Team



C – ommitment.

U – nderstanding.

L – ive the core values of the organization.

T – rust.

U – ndo the negative behaviors you want to eliminate.

R – ecognize people who model the behaviors you want in the culture.

E – everyone matters.

Have a great week.  Shape and build your culture.

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