Everything we do, we do in relationship.
None of us are living or working in a vacuum —yet many people and teams act like it. The work world is fraught with “Us vs. Them” thinking, the absence of accountability, issue avoidance and polarized conversations.
Meanwhile, we have complex problems to solve together. Business-as-usual —profit-at-all-costs —isn’t working, and it’s causing social and environmental damage faster than we can repair it.
To solve the issues and problems we face —at a team, company or country level —will require a new way of working together.
Culture-building is the craft of creating new ways of working together. Culture-building is what leaders do to help shift a group from ME to WE. Culture-building is what I have been up to for the last 24 years. I am committed to inspiring leaders to embrace the role, the opportunity, and the responsibility of intentionally shaping the culture of the groups they lead.
I want to embed the phrase “culture-builder” and “culture-building” into mainstream business parlance. I want to provoke a wider conversation about what it will take to stop ignoring the relational dimension of business and life.
There are four primary ways I get to do this
Curator at Culture-Builder.com
The field of culture-building is exploding right now with new things being published every day.
Culture-Builder.com is a resource site for leaders, founders and influencers who are committed to doing what they can within their sphere of influence to build team cultures that empower people to help meet the challenges we face.
At culture-builder.com, you will find a ton of links to both inspirational and practical content including:
- Culture-Building Inspiration: Links to maps, models, manifestos and a large collection of company culture codes.
- Culture-Building How To: A collection of links organized around the primary focus areas and drivers of building team culture: Culture Code Design; Hiring, Onboarding & Separating; Managing Performance; Leadership Example
- Foundational Culture-Building Books: Our top ten list of the books to enhance your perspective or guide your culture-building efforts.
I offer keynotes and talks that can inspire and help leaders embrace their role as a culture-builder—to learn how to strengthen working relationships across their organization so that their teams can be more productive, effective, impactful, and profitable.
Recent Talks include
“Bringing Wisdom 2.0 Back to Work” Wisdom 2.0 (Feb., 2015)
“Culture Coding” PMI Silicon Valley Symposium (Oct., 2015)
“The Art of One Conversation” Culture-Builder Dinner @ Pixar (Feb., 2016)
“Everyone is a Culture-Builder” Intuitive Surgical Leadership Unplugged Series (Jun., 2016)
“Cutting Edge Culture-Building Trends” Cooking Up Culture in the Kitchen Series (Mar., 2018)
Partner at Evolution
As a partner at Evolution, I get to do some of the best work of my life.
We work with companies that strive to be iconic, world-enriching, evolutionary businesses such as Slack, Dropbox, Coursera and many other high-growth start-ups who care about impact AND growth, people AND profit.
And, I get to do this with an amazing community of executive coaches and consultants that have come together to help companies scale without losing their soul.
Community is not only something I preach, but also practice.
I have dedicated the past 25 years of my life to creating community where I live.
The best example of this is our annual community camping trip. Since 2002, 80 of us have gathered in the redwoods to practice community. It’s part hanging out with friends and family, part digital detox, and part workshop on how to live in community. We call it family camp, a multigenerational gathering with families of all ages including elders and children.
From monthly community gatherings to yearly communal camping trips, I have been involved in different iterations of community and connection.
My journey towards community began on the day I was born.
I was put up for adoption and taken home by a foster family. Two months later, my parents came back for me, but from the earliest days of my life, I have always felt this very core drive to create connection with those around me.
Rumi says that our greatest gifts often come from our deepest wounds. In my case, my uncertain beginnings helped me develop a superpower in creating connection. It also propelled me to learn everything I could about how groups of humans connect. I have spent thousands of hours pursuing, learning, being trained in, and practicing the art of facilitating connection in groups. As an enneagram type 7, I love tasting new ways of doing things, adding to my library of options and then synthesizing new and compelling ways of offering these tools and methods to others.
I am an optimist. Even with all the current threats to our shared future on this planet with limited resources, I believe we can still pull together and, if not turn the tide, adapt and innovate to create less suffering and more thriving.
But in order to do that, we must do these three things:
1) Be aware of, and at choice about, our in-the-moment internal state. Am I in my reactive fight-flight brain or my more resourceful, rational and connected brain? By cultivating a daily practice of locating where you are are in any given moment and using any one of a number of proven strategies, you can shift back into resilience and presence.
2) Know that some things are personal –and everything else is impersonal. Treat what is personal with care and empathy and face everything else with intellectual rigor, without flinching. Don’t confuse the two.
3) Be able to hold a difference (a different perspective, feeling, goal or experience) with another human and STAY in relationship with them.
- If we have a difference, we have the difference while staying together.
- If we disagree, let’s disagree while staying connected, together.
- If there are three ways to get there, let’s decide how we’re going to get there together.
Something I do to invite deeper connection with my friends and family is to offer a sentence stem that invites us to reveal something about ourselves. One of my favorites is this one: “If you really knew me, you would know…” I’ll go first:
If you really knew me, you would know…
- I love pick-up basketball, creating music together, being in one conversation or any activity where 1+1 > 2.
- I prefer circles to squares and seating arrangements where everyone can see everyone else.
- I have a childlike enthusiasm for epic low tides and the hidden worlds they reveal.
- My “church” is somewhere West of Bishop, CA, North of Mt. Whitney in the Ansel Adams wilderness.