The Culture Blueprint

The Culture Blueprint by Robert Richman is one of the better guides to building company culture that i've come across. It provides a really solid framework upon which to build a culture strategy, you'll still need to add colour that aligns with your company, but it's a great foundation.

The Culture Blueprint

Culture is our strategic advantage!

 What is culture?  Culture is a feeling.

What creates feelings? Experiences that create emotions - it’s the experience that makes the impact and lasts, not the information.

Culture is a set of shared beliefs, values and practices that generate experiences and ultimately, feelings.  

 A great culture creates the context in which people do great work.

 Culture happens, so let’s create deliberately rather than by default.

 The focus has changed form pension to purpose.  Good boss to good colleagues.  9-5 to whenever. The office to wherever. Career tenure to for as long as it suits.

 Amazing people need purpose, not just a paycheck.

 The old model is based up on command and control - look at the war-like language (strategy, recruit, train, fire, engage, deploy) vs sports (coach, team, player). In the new model people matter more than land in war.

 The 7 Principles of Culture

  1. Culture is co-created.  

No one person is responsible for creating it, whether you’re there or not culture is present.

People feel ownership of what they’ve created (think dinner party)


2.  Share what you want to keep.

Sharing inspires integrity and accountability, you can’t hide it.

Sharing inspires a culture of giving.


3. Culture feeds on culture

Stories and language power culture.


4. Culture is composed of systems

It’s what’s invisible that matters.

Elements, interconnections and purpose (the purpose is deduced from the behaviour of the system) It’s not strategy that guides the system BEHAVIOUR DOES! Like a game of football, change the rules of the game and the behaviour changes.


5. Culture is a game

The problem is a poorly defined game. Games all have this in common

1. goal (clear and defined).  2. rule set (core values that everyone knows).  3. a way to keep score (feedback, KPIs).  4. opt in play with no compulsion to play (pay to leave).


6. Your story is currency

Don’t tell people customer service is important, tell as story about how it changed and employees life - Charlotte for example.

A great brand is a story that has value


7. The secret to innovation - SAFETY. Create a culture of safety.

When is the last time you celebrated failure? Is it on display that it’s OK to fail? It takes time to develop but stick to it.

 People don’t take action due to fear - step on toes, get wrong, hurt company, lose job, lose house etc.


Lay the Foundation

 Step 1. Mission and vision.  

 What is a mission? - It’s a purpose that never changes, it’s why you come to work each day.  Zappos “to live and deliver wow”. Simple, powerful, easy to remember and evokes emotion.  It addresses both inside and outside of company (employees and customers). Got to take care of people before they take care of others.

 What is the real mission? Ask “What business are we really in?” What business do we need to be in?

 Step 2. Create your vision. It should be realised in 2-5 years, enough to accomplish something big but not small enough for them to leave.

 Needs to build upon and use the resources in the vision and be short, simple and easy to remember, and inspiring.

Criteria for a great vision

  • serves the vision or purpose

  • verifiable way of achieving it

  • Creates a larger context for day to day work

  • people see themselves in the larger story

  • builds upon itself

  • creates a sense of drama through unknown

  • inspires every level of employee

  • makes even the most menial task worthy of excellence

 Question to ask - what would we do if we could do the impossible?

 Step 3. Establish your values.

 This is most important, these are already running the show, you just don’t know it.

Values provide a decision making framework. The values start to manage people because they create a container.  Without this, any decision can be justified - chaos - high level of policing  necessary.

 When boundaries are clear, it’s easy for people to step up and say ‘hey that’s not right’.

 Dan Mezick - The Culture Game calls this ‘loose constraints with high integrity’.

 Values are the key ingredients that transcend charismatic leaders.

 They outlive goals, trends, strategies and even people.

 Values create a self managed organisation.

 When the values are clear it’s easy to see who’s a good fit in the organisation

 Values create the experience you want.

 Values outlive goals, trends and people.

 Did Disney survive without Walt? We don’t want our culture to be dependent upon CEOs or leaders.

 Must set expectations around high integrity around values.  

 The true test of values

  • The leaders live them and it’s obvious

  • The company hires by them and fires by them

  • The values are used as decision making criteria (any employee can challenge any decision)

 The magic formula to turn values into action

  1. Set a standard. Standard = value + unwillingness to compromise

  2. Make a bold Promise - both to customers and people

  3. Deliver on that promise regardless of market conditions

 Before you can deliver your bold promise first you must know your values.

 How to find your values?  They must be clear, not vague. Here’s a few...

  1. Key differentiator values (distinguish us from any other and helps us lead the field) - Zappos is customer service, Apple is design, Google its intellectual brilliance.

  2. Supporting Values - supporting of vision and key differentiator (learning, growth)

  3. Experience values - adventure, fun etc.

  4. Uber values - must be present or others won’t work (integrity, willingness, relevance)

  5. Defensive values - eg. respect. Make sure the wording is proactive rather than defensive

 An example of a value from Zappos - ‘Build open and honest relationships through communication.’

The priority is the relationship, it’s clearly articulated, starts with a verb - it’s actionable.

 Need to have document, examples and stories of how this value is practiced.

 Understanding values at a mechanical level…

  1. What causes the value and what beliefs are necessary.

  2. What will happen if we do this or don’t do this

  3. How do we know the value is in action - evidence?


 The Core Value Discovery Formula 

  1. Commit to running a core values based company - Vital! Committing to the long term, the benefit is having an organisation that almost runs itself

  2. Determine your personal values - must be in alignment to company’s. Think about best moment in life  or movie scenes - what values were present.  Think about your worst times, what values were absent?

  3. Determine key people’s personal values. Who embodies the values you desire?

  4. Combine the discovered values, find trends, 30 or less

  5. Test the values. Ask managers to see if they’re in alignment with their best employees

  6. Test your commitment.  Are you willing to hire and fire based on this

  7. Send the list to the entire company and ask for feedback. Don’t use a committee to decide, they’re great for feedback but leaders must decide.

  8. Change the list to uniquely worded values. Make them statements instead of just words. Start with verbs. Limit the total to 10 or less

  9. Share the values with the entire company. Show a public commitment, often

  10. Integrate the core values into everything you do  - processes, policy. Co-create and crowdsource this step - get help!


The Why is the Mission

 The What is the Vision

 The How are the Values

 General principle for aligning core values…

  • Share them. Values are transmitted through language. Get them into all touchpoints

  • Create feedback mechanisms, open up channels and communicate to leaders and what’s being done

  • Teach them. One of the fastest ways to learn is to teach  

  • Empower departments and subcultures

  • Select the right people and empower them to do what they do best

  • Evaluate them. When in doubt, communicate. Start a conversation - in a triad because you’re building relationships between two others.

As a leader it’s not my job to determine culture - simply to articulate and communicate values clearly.

 The Blueprint

 Movement it key. Studying will not shift your culture, only action and conversation will do it. The blueprint is designed as you’re building the culture. 

1. It starts with inspiration - the reason why.

2. Become the culture hero. Because you care and because you’re willing.

The Hero - Joseph Campbell.

3. Immerse yourself in culture- immerse yourself in the world you want to create.

4. Create your vision - an image of what you want to achieve. Short memorable and powerful.

5. Take a bold action step. The threshold - the test. Risky. No turning back.

6. Find your culture crew and mentor. Get people to opt in and apply to help you.

7. Attract and repulse (, serve and deliver, induct and initiate, engage and sustain, share and observe.

 Job descriptions - start with a wish list of everything you want in a candidate. what would be his / her ideal skills, behaviour, demeanour, creativity. AT least you know what you’re training for.

Create a vision for the day you want this person to experience - visualise and clarify.

Interview process and application guidelines. The way you do one thing is the way you do everything. Pose a challenge in the job description to sort out who's good at paying attention to detail - eg. make a video.

High leverage questions:

  • How lucky do you feel you are on a scale of 0-10?  More lucky

  • How weird are you on a scale of 0-10?

  • Value focussed interview questions eg.

  • Tell me a time when you went out of your way to help a coworker

  • What’s your favourite swear word - and please use this in your next answer

  • If you could get paid to do anything, what would it be?

 Saying no to candidates is a great experience. People appreciate being treated like people

 Saying yes - make it unique, fun and rewarding.  

  • shoot a video from the team

  • send care package.

Induct and initiate

 You’re letting them into your home and family.

 You never have a second chance to make a first impression.

 Should go through customer service training.

 Present history of the organisation.

 Create an onboarding process where their success is not guaranteed.

 Structure of the onboarding training program. 

  1. Introductions or character development. Have the trainers introduce themselves about how they came to the company.

  2. History

  3. Core values and how they’ve changed people’s lives

  4. Training - what is the core skills everyone must have

  5. Get them into action to learn by doing

  6. Offer to turn back the opt-in, give them an out and offer money to quit. This is powerful because if they don’t take it, they’re investing into the values and own career

  7. Challenges or quests - give them projects they can only complete by working together

  8. The oath. It internalises a true feeling

  9. Celebrate - they’ve graduated  - have people cheer them.  

  10. Gameify it

  11. Create rules - be here at 8am

  12. Feedback - coaching and support

  13. Opt in - a month’s salary offer to quit

Team initiation

Introduction letter with tips and tricks.

“welcome to Vinomofo, ….

Team shadowing - have a new person sit with someone else as they teach. It’s observing and teaching.

New manager introduction  

The key to keeping everything going is a system, culture can be systematized.


  1. Gather ideas.  What experience do you want to have every day at Vinomofo? What would be a ritual that would make that experience come to life? Gather them on Trello.

  2. Select the idea with the longest effect or the highest leverage. Discovering and implementing values? Do more with less - let someone go!  

  3. Write down every thought, goal and obstacle connected with the idea. Experiments vs Prototypes - people are resistant to change so create a beta test experiment.

  4. Know your goal - be specific about  what it is. Determine the stakeholders and the gatekeepers.

  5. Plan your pitch. Don’t get buy in or sell - offer your belief as a hypothesis. Dimensions to plan this and make the experiment doable for scope, reach, duration, segment, value, cost, technology

Example of how to improve onboarding - a beta test run through dimensions...

Scope - change from entire recruiting process to only the interview

Reach - use only one department

Duration - limit test to one month

Segment - switch depts. to group that is more open to test

Value - switch test to the application process

Cost - reduce hours by reducing number of interviews

Technology - use excel rather than fancy software

How are you going to keep score? Increases, decreases, experience quality, engagement index. Make it emotionally relevant.

When we make it personal it becomes real and it hits home.

People make decisions by emotions, bring it back to a story and make it real

Practice your pitch to highlight blind spots. Ask someone “did you feel moved by the idea”, “do you believe in the value, do you think it’s reasonable?”  Like flirting, you’re playing, dancing to see if you really connect.

 Market internally. Internal comms are devalued. Anything new requires a change - change will take away or add. Gotta have employees excited about a change through a build up phase. Imagine the changes at Vinomofo to feel like an apple product launch.  

Lose this language ‘ “how do we make people do…”  Instead - “how do we find their needs and serve them…”

How to get buy in for a new initiative: 

  1. Stack the deck in your favour - start with those that are on board with the idea

  2. Don’t make it available to everyone - roll it out gradually, to drive demand and avoid overwhelm. Builds in room for learning

  3. Gain small commitments. They’ll likely see it through. Require interested people to attend a class outlining it first, then fill out a sheet articulating goals.  This builds clarity and commitment, slows down the process

  4. Celebrate the achievers. Those who achieve are given bracelet, lunch, pin etc.

  5. Socialise the success. So people know the program is working - do this publicly.

 The Culture Sell

The self reinforcing positive feedback loop.

Event becomes ritual. From ritual comes stories which are circulated that feed the value.

Value growth and learning?

  1. Create a ritual that makes the value come to life. - Monthly lunch and learn where team members teach a new skill to the group - ninja email skills etc.

  2. Collect success stories and share to build excitement.

  3. Create a process that makes this more manageable

Story Capture.

Stories hydrate culture. They become mythology. The power of video is so valuable.

Competition always motivates.

Collect customer feedback stories.

Start meetings with a story - of customer service

Questions to ask before we do anything

  1. Importance - Why must we do this?

  2. Urgency - Why must we do this now?

  3. What is the immediate action or win?

  4. Do you have regular meetings set up, how do we maintain momentum?

  5. Is this a ‘hell yeah”, if not, what would make it one?

The process of transformation.

 It doesn’t matter where you start, it matters that you start. 

  1. Potential - where the idea starts, opportunity, frustration, change

  2. Action - action illustrated in detailed through beta blueprint (above)

  3. Result

  4. Change the belief that you can do it which results in new potential

  5. Potential...

 Limiting beliefs

Need to be noted and accounted for. Write them down and ask yourself…

  1. Are they true

  2. Would you bet your life on them being true?

  3. When you hold this belief, what’s the cost?

  4. If you were to give up this belief, what opens up, what becomes possible?


Immediate Wins

  1. No offices - get people out in the open and turn offices into meeting spaces

  2. Take calls with customers - CEOs, build in a ritual where people at all levels are dealing with customers.

  3. Lose ‘that’ guy who drags people down. Removing them will be like pulling the weed from the garden.

  4. Recognition and rewards. Acknowledgement and recognition are fuel for culture.

  5. Popcorn machine in the lobby, reception. Great pattern interrupt

  6. All hands on deck - unify people at some time

  7. Serve your people.  CEO / COO serve lunch, coffee - directly serve team

  8. Good morning. Say good morning, hold doors, smile!

  9. Tape ball / ping pong.

  10. Give all that you can with benefits.  High leverage.  

Culture Hacking vs Best Practice

Look at a system then find a weakness to exploit then experiment until you get your outcome.

  1. Start with where you see problems, obstacles or frustration.  Clearly articulate the pain

  2. Look at the system in which it exists and find the point of weakness in which it breaks down

  3. Determine an high leverage action and keep playing with it until it works.

  4. Hack your meetings. They’re a major source of waste, can suck your energy, make them fun by gaming them. Establish the ground rule - a clear goal, supporting agenda, clear rules and a way to track progress.

  5. opt-in is essential.  

Never create a meeting without naming and clearly stating the objective.

State working agreements clearly and hold people to these agreements. 

No Bullshit Leadership

It doesn’t matter what your title is, it’s your clearly stated intention and rallying resources to make it happen.

May not be qualified, but acting like a leader will make you qualified.

You are not fit for the job but by doing it, you become fit for the job.

Let’s change leadership model that’s broken, from one defined by qualifications and information to one defined by action and doing.

No Bullshit Leadership

True leadership cannot be taught, it must be experienced

Tony Robbins - take people 30 miles from hotel, with an apple and 20c and mission was to get back to hotel within 24 hrs and convince someone to come with them.

Rick Roy (Navy SEAL)- students are woken up at midnight, dropped in the pitch black ocean and required to swim a mile to shore.

There is no escaping the need for experience over information. 

A LEADER’S JOB IS NOT TO BE LIKED, IT’S TO SERVE. Serve based on your vision and values and come what may.

Traits of highly successful people

  • Be succinct. Exceptionally brief with their words. Words are a great resource

  • Creating awkwardness is OK. Great leaders are respectful and polite but don’t bother with avoiding awkward.  FOCUS ON WHAT’S MOST IMPORTANT and avoid small talk

  • Spend little time on FB and Twitter. At least only after they accomplish. Use it as a broadcast medium but don’t procrastinate

  • Break through  limiting beliefs. They hold you back and the only way to break through is to do something you previously thought impossible. Keep doing this as a habit - so you can lead from a place of empathy ‘CAUSE YOU’VE BEEN THERE YOURSELF.

  • Stay out of touch, time is a precious commodity. Focus interactions on those you deeply care about or those related to goals or those you’re giving back to by mentoring or advising.

  • Create differently to reality. Create your your own reality.  Do you participate in other’s reality, or do you create your own, events etc. Create your own universe and the universe will form around you.

  • Obsess over learning.  Those who adapt the fastest win. Learning allows you to adapt, learn and put into action

  • Be direct. Maintain integrity by STATING WHAT YOU REALLY MEAN. Don’t hide, hedge, or fudge.  PEOPLE TRUST A NO BULLSHIT LEADER.

  • Credit others for success and take the blame when things go wrong.

  • Build structures for time optimisation

  • Announce your intentions - succinctly.

  • Stress is for amateurs. Take care of yourself so you can take care of others (oxygen mask in an airplane) If we don’t self care we force someone else to take care of us.

  • Learn what makes you tick so you can take care of your needs

  • Know yourself so you can serve yourself - strenghts, weaknesses, triggers so you can reduce stress to near zero. Stress is a choice.

  • Power of the one-to-one. Hear poeple out in a safe environment where you get to know people as people.

  • Make decisions, not dictate decisions. 

Trust comes down to two things -  

  1. Say what you mean

  2. Do what you say you would do - make a promise and deliver on it

Assemble your team

You don’t do this alone, we co-create.

“No company can consistently grow revenues faster than it’s ability to get enough of the right people to implement that growth and still become a great company.”


  • Are resourceful

  • Don't ask for permission, ask for forgiveness

  • Make decisions

  • Work well in start-ups

  • Thrive working for other drivers

  • Do whatever it takes to make it happen

  • Set the standard for culture

  • Publicly commit to follow through

  • Develop confidence in ability to deliver

Challenge of growth is to make a consistent experience without limiting innovation

When this happens drivers can be a liability.  A larger company has more at risk, need to mitigate risk. Instead of looking for drivers train corporate navigators.

Corporate Navigators

  • looks out for interests of entire organisation while remaining focussed on their role

  • knows the relationships - the way work gets done. Who knows who, doesn’t need to know everything just who does know

  • Understands what’s important to the organisation - customers, clients, finance, legal

  • Thinks like an owner and guides decisions on behalf of

  • Uses influence as a currency - sharing ideas in a language others are receptive to, demonstrating insight into how idea plays into larger mission, showing proof of success, thinking about what resources are required, conveying ideas in less than 12 minutes

  • Lets go of their own agenda - team interests wins, company interest wins ultimately

  • Model behaviours and share thinking out loud as you go

The Subcultures

  • Must be unique with personalities shining through

  • determine unique expression of company values

  • Allow people to express themselves - nerf guns etc.

  • Stay in touch with other departments

The Culture Crew

  • Needs to be people from across the organisation

  • Announce you’re assembling a crew of people who’re passionate about creating epic workplace culture

  • Ask them to email you and with what they’d like to contribute to the group

  • Give the group a fun name

  • Have a first project in mind which will deliver a quick win

  • Determine when you’re going to meet, how to contribute, communicate, select ideas etc.

  • Keep it interesting, exciting and fun

  • Create a support network - a mentor / advisor for everyone - know what you’re looking for, weaknesses, blind spots etc. Start by asking for advice on a particular topic to see if it’s a fit. Do something for them.

  • The Mastermind - 7-10 people. Good for support, resources, accountability. Members should have similar mindset and commitment, diverse background, track record of being resourceful and outcomes focussed 


Create immediate safety. Look after people first to ensure they’re safe. 

Whenever you have a new initiative or introducing performance measures - do not dictate what will happen. Don’t demand an outcome - start with an open ended question based on where you’re already aligned for eg. improving the customer experience. Don’t start with your idea, ensure it’s mutual, otherwise you won’t get buy-in, you’ll get resistance.

Instead - start with an opening question that’ll elicit their best ideas and then you can decide where to go from there, even if you don’t use their ideas they’ll feel heard and thus more invested in the decision.

The best thing you can do is be cool, calm and collected.  If you send a signal that there's a reason to worry, then everyone will be right there stressed and worried with you.

Break through obstacles.  Whenever you need to build group alignment, clear out frustrations, merge teams or re-build morale this will work… 

Obstacle Breakthrough (3hrs to half a day)

20 people or less you can do it all together, larger groups use triads (speaker, listener, observer)

  1. Create a safe environment (10 mins).  Highly underrated but it’s constantly an issue even if not acknowledged. People won’t take risks unless they feel safe to do so.  Whoever is the authority in the room, say “during all of this, I want you to say everything, even things you think I don’t want to hear”.  Ask the question - “What does open and honest conversation look like to you” - thus defining the rules for engagement. These may seem obvious but they need to be articulated, such as ‘what does respect look like’. Clear the energy of the room by asking people to take a few deep breaths.

  2. Where are we out of alignment? (30mins) The question can be asked in several ways: “what is frustrating to you right now”, “where are we saying one thing and doing something else”, “who are we disappointing and how”, “where are we failing our own expectations”, before they answer let them know we’ll be talking about solutions but for now this is not what we’re doing, simply identifying problems - like throwing up when you’re drunk, yes it’s horrible but you always feel better once it’s over. Write the answers on a whiteboards or big pieces of paper to keep track of what’s been covered.  Always ask, “what else”, “tell it like it is”...  Get real, really real.

  3. After this, have everyone stand up and shake it off. This shifts the energy of the group

  4. Group share (10 mins) Have people reflect on the process itself and identify trends.

  5. What’s working? (20mins) Rather than go straight to solution, this is a key bridging step. Focus on what’s working well, don’t miss how far we’ve come, acknowledge the positives (write these down), where are we kicking ass, what can we be grateful for? It changes the vibe to pride and the list becomes assets you can apply to the challenge of solving the problems.  Shake up the room physically after this process - high five, back rubs etc.

  6. Individual appreciation. (30mins)Start by having one person stand in front of the group and encourage others to share what they love about this person for a minute, don’t call on them, just encourage them to speak out. What would you miss about them if they left?

  7. What’s possible (30 mins) we’ve cleared out underlying negative emotions, recognised we’re doing well as a group, have appreciated individuals and now it’s to ask killer questions - what’s next, where to from here, what’s possible? Have people stand up as they talk to each other. Gather ideas, write them up, identify themes.

  8. Leverage into action (20 mins) Everyone should be feeling good, so strike while the iron is hot. Lock in all the learning and put it into action. What would this look like in action? What habits and rituals would help? Low hanging fruit - what could we do immediately to generate momentum? Notice who has energy and passion for what and assign them to outcomes

  9. Don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions.

Solutions not problems framework

  1. Identify a problem

  2. Articulate the cost of the problem

  3. Offer a solution

  4. Outline potential objections address them

  5. Propose the next step

  6. Resolve conflicts


SOLVE YOUR OWN PROBLEMS - the three step process for dealing with people problems.

  1. People must work it out on their own before coming to someone else.

  2. If the problem can’t be resolved one on one, call in a witness to add perspective, the witness does not judge.

  3. If the problem is still not resolved they go before a committee of people to discuss in front of. Most problems stop here because people don’t want to air out dirty laundry in public. If it doesn’t stop here.

  4. CEO decides. 

The conflict resolution meeting - teach this to teams.

  1. Ask permission. Ask if they have a moment for a private conversation or request a time to meet

  2. Centre yourself. Take a moment to be silent and centre. State your higher purpose for the conversation by citing a core value or stating a reason - such as improved relationships

  3. Get the facts. Crucial. Most people argue without being in agreement of what the argument is actually about so first, confirm the facts. Not interpretations or feelings. Stick to a) what you said. b) what they said c) what actions took place that can be observed and objectively agreed to, avoid any interpretations or feelings until…

  4. Discuss feelings. Statements should start with “I feel, or I felt”.  Must avoid judgements or interpretations. Note: if more facts come up you need to go back to step 3. If you don’t feel like the other has really heard or understood your feelings, ask them to repeat your words back for clarity until you feel they understand you.

  5. State what was missing. Eg: I wanted you to give me feedback at that time which would have made me feel respected

  6. Request. Ask for a request, eg. whenever I share an idea I’d request you give me feedback or tell me why it won’t work. The person giving feedback has these responses, a) yes. b) no. c) propose a counter offer. If there is a disagreement about the request refer back to your commitments and think about what can be done to really make it happen.

  7. Close. Make sure to acknowledge each other for showing up and taking the time to create a positive team.

The best leaders delegate.  Delegation is not dumping and handing off your responsibilities or to do list.

How to delegate: 

  1. Always say the ‘why’ - tell them why, give them context

  2. Give them a chance to say no - ask them. They can say no if a) they have other priorities that you both agree are more important or b) they need to ask questions to gain clarity.

  3. Be clear on your criteria - what makes for a successful completion, how will you be judging this?

  4. Clarify how much follow up and feedback you’d like. Do want them to just do it, or do you want weekly check ins, how much input?

  5. Recognise publicly and give props when it’s complete.

The best team building activity

Improv comedy. Because it’s built on..

  1. Being fully present

  2. Affirming and loving reality. Yes and…

  3. Full commitment over judgement - that’s when the humour and fun comes out

  4. Make your partners look good over your own performance

  5. Listen so that you're open to change rather than planning in a vacuum, you must listent to what comes next.

  6. Promotes service, engagement and collaboration

Share the finances internally.



If you love it you must fix it. If you don’t love it, you must get out.

Don't’ medicate with culture change!  Is what you’re looking for in culture merely a substitute for what you don’t have in your own life?

Are you trying to change your own life through the culture?  

The only way you can change culture is to have something to give, something to share.

Don’t be needy and try to sell your idea of what culture should be, people won’t buy it.

Instead… Create a list of things you're excited about in your past… You’ll be no longer frustrated and filling the void, but excited and wanting to share!  COME FROM A PLACE OF GIVING RATHER THAN NEEDY VOID FILLING. 


  • Do I already have this outside work in my life? If yes, bring it with you. If not, do whatever it takes to get it.


Why isn’t culture change working?

  1. You don’t know how - get skills

  2. You’re scared. There is no right way! THE RIGHT WAY IS RIGHT BECAUSE WE BELIEVE IT’S RIGHT. There are no sure-fire ways for success but there is one for failure - do nothing!

  3. You actually don’t want to. Do you really want this? Do you truly give a shit about your people? Sometimes people really don’t want to do it - can’t see it or don’t know it.  Do you wish you could just leave? What question would I have to ask you for your answer to be HELL YEAH!?

Whenever someone says “.... is hard” they’re in a trap. Eg: culture change is hard.

Q: What specifically is hard about it?

A: Communication

Q: What specifically about communication?

A: Communication between departments

Q: What specifically about communication between departments?

A: Sales and product development

Q: how are they specifically at odds…


Great… where does the breakdown happen

What would it look like if they were talking? 


It structures our communication around the paradigm of selling.  

It assumes two fundamental and false premises are in place

  1. There is a limited resource at play. We’re talking about agreement here, not time or money

  2. I have to sell you on this. Nobody really likes sales calls.

The best word to replace this with is alignment. It means nothing unless there's direct correlation between agreed upon principle and values. Gotta explicitly state what you're aligning with. Not aligning with each other, you’re aligning with a core value, principle or goal.  

the source of your greatest frustration is the key to your success.

The solutions must come from outside the frustration. Look elsewhere.

Frustration is blocked passion - they care more deeply than anyone else and have the potential to become your greatest advocates.

Frustration is gold! Get in touch with that passion that’s being blocked. Connect based on values and open up to possibilities.

The opposite of entitlement is gratitude.  

My job is to make decisions, not dictate decisions.

Policies for travel, expenses, entertainment, gifts, vacations etc.  “Act in Vinomofo’s best interests”