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ROLE MODEL stories feature people and organizations that support humanistic cultures where there is relentless passion for kindness, empathy, dignity, trust, transparency, sharing, happiness, compassion, and love.


Role Models

Whole Person Organizational Cultures©

Ideas for Now and the Future

Gerald R. Wagner, PhD.

January, 2016

Suggestions for Using Culture ROLE MODELS

  • If you are a company employee, arrange brown bag lunches with your colleagues to discuss each issue.
  • If you are a teacher, devote a class time to each issue.
  • If you have an internal newsletter, write a summary article to publish for each issue.
  • If you are a consultant, lead brown bag lunches for your clients where you summarize contents.

If you are already doing something similar, let me know and we'll make everyone aware.


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Workplace Spirit Employees Wish For

We had a really nice response to my request of Culture ROLE MODELS viewers to participate in a brief project. This was not an employee engagement survey. By philosophy and intention it is a lot different. It is about what employees wish for and not opinions about the workplace as it is now. That leads to designing and planning a workplace spirit that employees would love to have.

This was the question: From the following list pick 9 that you would WISH TO HAVE represent your workplace spirit. This is for what you wish for in your workplace and not the way you think it is now.

The results are not at all intended to be generalizable or apply to your organization. The respondents are unknown and from many different sizes and types of organizations as well as positions. But in your review of the data it might spark some ideas. As a result of the data received I have significantly modified the employee values list. Thanks to all that participated. See the results at the end of this issue.

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I recently had the good fortune to get to know Graham Williams in South Africa. In 2015, Graham and his colleagues published the book “A Virtuosa Organization,” and recently Graham and I have published related blogs on the Culture University web site. It was through Graham that I became aware of UBUNTU.

I have been amazed by the similarity between UBUNTU philosophy and the current splurge of activity around positive and happy workplaces. I am not qualified to thoroughly explain UBUNTU, but I wanted to give you an introduction, so below is some information I’ve taken from two primary sources (both of which are shown at the end of this piece).

If you're anything like me, you might become ‘hooked’ and want to study further on your own. If you do, your insights and findings would be welcome for future issues of Culture ROLE MODELS.

UBUNTU is an example of a values-based way of living. It is an ancient code of ethics, referring to the ‘humaneness’ of the human spirit. It’s about goodwill, generosity, dignity, reconciliation, a feeling of responsibility for each other’s wellbeing, and solving problems together. A key concept of Ubuntu derives from the South African saying: ‘umuntu, ngumuntu, ngabantu’ which means ‘a person is a person through other persons’ – otherwise expressed as: ‘I am because we are’ or ‘I exist because you exist’.

Reverend Desmond Tutu

Quoting Reverend Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Laureate: “UBUNTU is a part of the gift that Africa will give the world. It speaks to the very essence of being human. When we give high praise to someone we say, ‘Yu, u nobuntu’: he or she has Ubuntu. This means that they are generous, hospitable, friendly, caring and compassionate. They share what they have and are able to go the extra mile for the sake of others.”

The genius of UBUNTU lies in caring for people. The dimensions of UBUNTU are Survival, Solidarity, Compassion, Respect, and Dignity. You will notice the similarly of what is so often written about today’s flurry of articles and books on workplace wellbeing, engagement, happiness, spirit, and satisfaction.

Survival: Relying on each other though brotherly caring; Members of a group work together as a collective to solve problems of individuals; Differences are set aside to survive; Teamwork consists of openness, communication and honesty.

Solidarity: Solidarity is about accomplishing difficult tasks collectively; Personal interests are less important than community needs; Happiness and harmony also fall under the spirit of Solidarity; A happy life indicates that other people should be praised for achievements and gratitude for favors done.

Helen Sayers book

Compassion: Understanding of the other one’s problems and the urge for helping them; By sharing and giving one eventually receives; It can be compared with the value of love; Team members develop a shared vision; Deep caring and understanding of each other.

Democracy: In Africa this is described as ‘sitting under a tree and talk until everybody (more or less) agrees’; Smiling and laughing is a very basic behavior; Everybody has a chance to express their opinion and for everybody to listen and discuss.

Respect and Dignity: Note, the paper referenced considers these two values are taken together as one dimension. Regard for rights, values, beliefs and property; Trust is closely related; All voices are heard; Diversity of views is encouraged and protected.

In Grahams book there is a lovely Shona proverb to sum up ubuntu: chra chimive hachitswane inda (A thumb working on its own is worthless. It has to work collectively with the other fingers to get strength and be able to achieve).

After this brief introduction you may now understand why I said I was I was amazed by the similarity between UBUNTU philosophy and the current flurry of interest in positive and happy workplaces.

Here are the two sources for most of the above words: UBUNTU or Humanness as a Management Concept, D.S. Sigger, B.M. Polak and B.J.W. Pennink, CDS Research Report No. 29, ISSN 1385-9218, July 2010; UBUNTU The Spirit of Humanity, Helen Sayers.

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A Purposeful Culture by Design

The leaders of GSD&M consider no assets more valuable than its people and its culture. In the Words of the agency's leadership team: “the company is built on love and momentum—without love, it would be just another business, and without momentum, it would wither.”

Circled up in the lobby of the Austin, TX headquarters – the GSD&M family.

This philosophy started with the entrepreneurial spirit of the company’s creators. It was simple: They wanted to stay in Austin, stay together and make a difference. And these goals—which have created a strong foundation for the organization’s growth—are ones the team still shares today.

“Our culture didn’t happen by chance,” says SVP/People Dorian Girard. “Our founders were grounded in the golden rule and knew that how you act and treat each other is what’s important. We have great people here at GSD&M—some of the most caring, talented, passionate, collaborative, restless and curious people out there. All this makes for a great culture to create ideas that make a difference—together.”

Forty four years later, the milestones, memories and ideas that the company has created and surpassed have kept team members together and continue to weave the fabric that pushes them forward.

When one of GSD&M’s employees, Jared Dunten, was injured in an accident that left him paralyzed, the staff came together to do whatever it took to keep him as a part of the team. They partnered with DreamFund, a non-profit dedicated to serving those in need in the advertising/marketing community around Texas. With this, GSD&M contributed toward the construction of a wheelchair-accessible home so he could continue chasing his dreams and talents (painting and writing) which he still practices at GSD&M today.

And as important as it is for the company to build its agency community, it values helping maintain the local community as well. Annually, GSD&M helps over 26 non-profits with creative and design assistance and its 4Ward Program gives each employee up to four hours of PTO a month to volunteer for an organization of their choice. Not only does it allow staffers to build a relationship with their community, but it also lets them experience important and humbling causes together.

Third annual Big Wheel Race.

Annually, GDS&M's social club orchestrates (among countless other social activities from a Thanksgiving potluck and Bring Your Parents to Work Day to an epic Halloween party) a department dodgeball competition. The group builds teams, meets in the backyard and competes for first place prize. Additionally, the annual Big Wheel Race brings together Austin’s creative agencies to compete using none other than a homemade tricycle.

Team members love what they do, where they do it and who they do it with, and the culture allows for individuality and freedom. Whether new to GDS&M or not, the company wants to insure staffers feel at home, so this year they launched Join In, a program to provide employees with the opportunities and resources to build relationships across the agency.

“Inclusion and engagement are important at GSD&M because they bring together people from different backgrounds and help people get to know their coworkers and that leads to inspiration, creativity and new ideas,” says EVP/Chief Creative Officer Jay Russell.

It also helps to maintain the company’s unique, family-like culture. Values are instilled in each staff member much like they’re carved into the lobby floor. These values are not only evidenced by the company's milestones—in joy and sometimes sorrow—but also in the award-winning work they've produced for clients such as Southwest Airlines, Avocados From Mexico, the U.S. Air Force and Walgreens.

Annual Dodgeball Tournament.

GSD&M’s continued momentum is also backed by the honors it’s received. Notably, Adweek named the company the Top Shop in Texas, Austin Business Journal titled it the Top Advertising and Marketing Agency in Austin, O.C. Tanner named it one of the Top 10 Coolest Companies to Work For in Austin and most recently, the Austin Advertising Federation created the GSD&M Innovator Award to honor the organization and other agencies moving forward with the highest level of integrity and quality in the industry.

Of course, while the GSD&M team works hard, they play hard, too. The group takes what they love about their hometown, Austin, Texas, and fully embraces it—from breakfast tacos, kegs of locally brewed beer and private performances by Austin musicians, to the annual South by Southwest 4,000-person bash. For 2015, Adweek deemed the 5th Annual GSD&M SXSW Party “one of the best parties at South by Southwest”.

Live performance at the 5th annual GSD&M SXSW party.

Overall, GSD&M’s leadership and staff are exceptionally proud of the culture they've built. As CEO Duff Stewart says, “No one’s contribution is eclipsed by another’s; it takes us all.”

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Mindvalley is an amazing company in Malaysia. They will be featured in the March issue of Culture ROLE MODELS. Before we get there here is a short video “What happened when Mindvalley brought love into the workplace.” You might want to think about something similar for your workplace.

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Emmas's Brand New BookJanuary 26, 2016

Dr. Emma Seppala, the science director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University, says she has worked in a lot of high-achieving environments (Yale, Stanford, Silicon Valley, New York City) and noticed too many people pursuing "success" at a cost to themselves. They were postponing their happiness now in pursuit of success...with the idea that, when they attain success, they will be happy. Yet they were burning out themselves (and others) out in the process. She too joined the rat-race as it seemed like what everyone was doing. It seemed like the right thing to do. But it wasn't.

Dr. Emma Sepalla.

When she looked at the research, she saw that - overwhelmingly - happiness is actually the secret to success. If "you prioritize your happiness, you will actually be more productive, more creative, more resilient, more energized, more charismatic and influential. You will have more willpower and be more focused, with less effort. That's why I wrote this book".

Emma’s new book “The Happiness Track” is for anyone who wants to do their best but feels overwhelmed by the pace of the modern world. Whether a business leader or a stay-at-home mom trying to keep up and do your best, the data is clear: if you take care of yourself and others, if you take time off and find joy in your life, you will be more successful, not to mention happier.

Everyone wants to be happy and successful. And yet the pursuit of both has never been more elusive. In her new book Emma explains that our inability to achieve sustainable fulfillment is tied to common but outdated notions about success. We are taught that getting ahead means doing everything that’s thrown at us (and then some) with razor-sharp focus and iron discipline; that success depends on our drive and talents; and that achievement cannot happen without stress.

The Happiness Track demolishes these counter-productive theories. Drawing on the latest findings from the fields of cognitive psychology and neuroscience—research on happiness, resilience, willpower, compassion, positive stress, creativity, mindfulness—Emma shows that finding happiness and fulfillment may, in fact, be the most productive thing we can do to thrive professionally. Filled with practical advice on how to apply these scientific findings to our daily lives, the book is a life-changing guide to fast tracking our success and creating the anxiety-free life we want.

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Abundant Positive Social Impact

Firespring headquarters in Lincoln, Nebraska.

When Firespring founder Jay Wilkinson was 16 years old, he attended a summer leadership workshop conducted by the Nebraska Association of Student Councils. He thought it would be boring, but given the male to female ratio of 1 to 5, decided to go. That decision changed the trajectory of his life.

Around Firespring.

At the workshop, Wilkinson was grouped with other students in a “co-op.” A sign hanging on the wall of the group’s room read:

“I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show, let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”

The workshop included five days of hands-on activities. Wilkinson left with a passion for helping people find their calling, and eventually became a catalyst for change and a voice for compassion and acceptance in his school.

Fast forward to now, and Wilkinson owns Firespring, one of the largest marketing communications firms in the Midwest with nearly 250 team members in Lincoln, Omaha and Council Bluffs, Iowa. The company provides an unmatched range of integrated print, creative, website, IT and technology solutions in addition to subscription-based software and turnkey marketing tools for nonprofit organizations.

Initially, Firespring was a print communications provider with storefronts in Lincoln and Omaha. Wilkinson and team soon began to sense that the “internet thing” might catch on and in 1996 started developing websites for local businesses. Over the ensuing 20 years, Firespring expanded into new product lines and acquired and/or merged-in more than 15 printshops, advertising agencies and technology service providers to become the company it is today.

Web development and creative teams.

Firespring is obsessed with its clients’ success, and actively believes each client has the capacity to change the world. The company's highest priority is to create an abundance of positive social impact, and it uses the greatest resources it has to leverage the company as a force for good: technology, money and people. This is called the Power of 3 program, wherein Firespring gives back 3% of its human resources (team members volunteer 1 day every month with local nonprofits), 3% of products (3% of clients are nonprofits that receive free products and services) and 3% of profit (cash contributions to local nonprofits).

As part of its Power of 3 program, Firespring and its founders donated more than $1 million to seed-fund the Nonprofit Hub in Lincoln. The Hub is Nebraska’s first collaborative workspace exclusively for nonprofit organizations and social entrepreneurs.

In 2014, Firespring became the first Certified B Corporation in Nebraska, joining TOMS Shoes, Ben & Jerry’s, Patagonia and more than 1,500 other companies leading a global movement to redefine success in business. B Corps are for-profit companies certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.

At Firespring, core values are more than just platitudes posted on a website: they represent the reality of how people within a company operate, rather than being aspirational. The list is simple, to the point and unfiltered:

  1. Bring it. Every day.
  2. Have each other’s back.
  3. Give a shit.

These values, when combined with the company's purpose of being a force for good, has created a vibrant work culture at Firespring. The average adult spends more of their waking hours at work than anywhere else, so Wilkinson wanted team members to work at a place that energized them, rather than sucking the life out of them.

The Firepit: Daily meetings are held here at 11:11 a.m.

Every business day since 2007, all Firespring team members have gathered at 11:11 am for a meeting that never lasts longer than 11 minutes. At this meeting, they recognize one another for living their values and highlight key numbers that drive the business. Everything, including financial results, is shared with team members. Once a month, they gather at an all-team meeting and dig deeper. Three team members are inducted into the culture hall of fame every quarter.

The sign on Wilkinson's co-op room all those years ago now serves as the guiding principal of his company. Firespring team members are passionate about doing good and showing kindness, always.

As a result of its team-centered culture, Firespring was featured in Inc. magazine as one of the Top 50 Small Company Workplaces in the U.S. Of course, if you ask any of the company’s team members, they’ll tell you Firestone is #1.

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What Has Deb Been Up To?

Deb is one of our wonderful Institute teachers. You can see her video on the Institute web site.

Deb Westcott.

"For the last year, I’ve been focused on the City of Fort Collins (Colorado) government, working inside their leadership programs and with their Executive Leadership Team. It’s been thrilling to partner with an organization that not only supports but also champions its leaders and their development".

I’ve been using the ISEI Emotional Intelligence Assessment for a few years now, and am happy to have a tool that gives me a wealth of in-depth information about the individuals I coach. The assessment has 26 indicators and the fun part is seeing how they all fit together.

Here’s a great example: a person scores low in Self-Awareness, low in Emotional Management and low in Empathy. I think you can all guess how this person functions in the workplace and (even more importantly) as a leader. He/she sees the world only in terms of how it impacts them, is not aware of their feelings or how they are expressed, and has very little awareness of how their feelings and behaviors affect the people around them. We all know these types of leaders are NO fun to be around.

Fort Collins, Colorado.

The good news is, when they learn about this information from an objective assessment, they may be willing to address the possibility of change. They know that their performance as a leader is lacking; they know there is a sense of mistrust, anxiety and general negativity in their teams; but they didn’t know why — until they see the results of their assessment. Then, for possibly the first time, they begin to understand how important their own Emotional Intelligence is to their success as a leader. I am working with some tough leaders right now, and we’re going back to the basics.

I call one of the most important tools I use Set Your Clocks to Self-Awareness. This is both simple and life-changing at the same time: I ask the person I’m coaching to take out their cell phone and set a timer for every two hours. When the timer goes off, they know to check in with themselves. What are they feeling right in that moment? What’s going on around them that is creating that feeling? What are their current behaviors? How could awareness change the outcome? The goal is curiosity.

Whether we call this self -awareness, mindfulness, or just being present, it is the foundation for Emotional Intelligence, healthy leaders, and healthy/more positive work environments. (I have this fantasy that the City of Fort Collins will be full of employees with timers going off, doing personal check-ins … can you imagine the difference that would make?).

Mindfulness Pays Off.

In my spare time I’m working on my own mindfulness. My best practice of mindfulness and being fully present comes when I’m fishing. There is nothing that slows me down and makes me focus more than patiently hooking a fish!

My clock is set to self-awareness every time I feel that fish get hooked. What do I feel in that moment? Unbelievably excited. What is creating that feeling? The pull of the fish on my line. What is my current behavior? Reel that bugger in as fast as I can. What is the outcome? Fish for dinner!"

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Transparency And No Bureaucracy

Operating out of Singapore and Beijing, aAdvantage Consulting Group Pte Ltd is a unique firm whose business consultancy work exemplifies its core values: passion, people, clarity, collaboration and openness.

Established in 2002, the company has a team of 40 professional staff across Singapore and China who work on the company’s eight integrated solutions including Business Excellence, Business Facilitation, Change Enablement, Culture Development, Customer Experience, HR & Leadership, Research and Insights and Team Building & Development.

Directors Vincent Ho and Jacqueline Gwee with strategic partner Phil Clothier from Barrett Values Centre.

With a flexible work culture, Advantage empowers employees to achieve work-life integration without compromising on its business needs. This is accomplished through a commitment to certain rules of engagement including: be open, be accessible, be responsible, respect personal time and be clear. As a result, staff are able to continue with their work while at the same time attend to any personal needs which is especially important considering the various demands they have in the different life stages they are in.

Overall, the company offers a positive environment where staff is empowered and enabled to do their best to deliver work that matters to them and to clients. The company is transparent, believes in the value of every contribution, has accessible leaders, an open office, and no bureaucracy.

“A fun loving bunch of people,” is how Consultant Clement Ho describes the group. “There is a learning and collaborative culture where we share project learning and experiences, and help each other, even directors.”

Celebrating our colleagues’ milestones are part and parcel of our DNA.

Team members are self-driven and motivated by their shared passion for the work. HR policies and systems are actively aligned to the corporate culture and aforementioned values. During the recruitment process, potential candidates are assessed not only on their competencies for the role but also on their corporate culture fit.

The company also conducts a cultural values assessment every two years that measures the level of cultural entropy in the organization. The current, healthy entropy score is attributed to the company’s active commitment to its values, and staff and intern feedback supports the notion that aAdvantage's culture and values are integral.

Teambuilding activity during our annual corporate retreat.

Making aAdvantage Consulting a great place to work has taken conscious effort on the part of everyone working there. But the efforts have borne fruit, evidenced by the testimonials from staff, interns and clients as well.

“My internship with aAdvantage was an immensely fulfilling experience,” said David Mok, a university intern in 2015 - “Supportive seniors who held back nothing in ensuring our growth, and opportunities to work on projects in our areas of interest really made a significant difference to me. There is a strong culture of collaboration and openness, where even an intern like myself was empowered to make important decisions. Thank you aAdvantage for this memorable internship stint!”

Great Place. Great Minds. Great Work. ONE FIRM.

Overall, the company's commitment to culture requires that they continually work to keep it strong and effective, regularly engaging in dialogue around any potential issues. Leadership commits to listening to everyone and exhibiting flexibility in order to do what’s right for staff, clients and organization. This is both an art and science, says the company's founder, and underlying the decisions are two additional values: Trust and Respect. With these on its side, aAdvantage continues to rise.

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The Business Of Kindness

Meet Olivia McIvor. I was first introduced to Olivia when I read her article, “The Business of Kindness”. It’s such an important topic that I decided to be bold and ask her if she’d write a piece for us. Luckily she did just that. Olivia McIvor is an international HR and OD expert and a bestselling author of three books.

Olivia McIvor.

Do the daily stressors of your work cause you to say or do things that may be “unkind”? Could kindness be a remedy that relieves workplace stress and increases employee engagement?

Stress in the workplace can lead to a multitude of issues: high turnover, diminished productivity, health problems, absenteeism, disability claims, lawsuits and, worst of all, workplace aggression. The World Health Organization calls stress “the health epidemic of the 21st century.”

According to a Towers Watson’s Global Workforce Study, increased workplace stress leads to increased disengagement. The study, conducted in 2012 with 32,000 employees participating, offered a snapshot of worker engagement levels. The findings were startling: only 35% of employees felt engaged in their work.

Can Kindness be a Solution?

Kindness is a simple concept - too simple, one might be inclined to think, to provide a solution to the stressors and challenges faced daily at work. Yet current research suggests that kindness has the power and magnitude to effect change and decrease stress for individuals and organizations.

The American Management Association (AMA) discovered the power of kindness at work when it set out to examine whether a manager’s character had an effect on employee engagement levels and retention. Respondents were asked if they planned to work for their company for a long time. Of those who worked for a manager they considered kind, 79% answered yes; of those who worked for someone they considered unkind, 23% answered yes.

Respondents were also asked if they looked forward to going to work every day - 74% of those who worked for a kind boss answered yes, compared to 32% of those who worked for someone they considered unkind.

Academics at the University of Michigan and Emory University in the United States and the University of British Columbia in Canada identified what they referred to as a cascading effect when a worker experiences kindness in the workplace. The researchers found that employee engagement with each other and their work improved when they practiced acts of kindness. They also found that the positive emotions generated by acts of kindness increased job satisfaction, lowered job stress and turnover, and contributed to feelings of wellbeing and psychological safety.

An example of kindness would be John, a civic employee who ran out of paid sick days and short-term disability for an unexpected illness. In response, his colleagues took up a collection and sent it around. They weren’t collecting cash; instead, they asked for donations of unused sick time in increments over four hours to multiple days. His comrades collected enough for him to take an additional two months off with pay - one heartfelt sick day at a time.

Taking this individual example out further, Dr. Myriam Mongrain, of York University in Toronto, Canada monitored a test group of over 700 subjects who, for one week, were asked to do something kind for someone each day in some small way. The participants were interviewed six months later to see if that week of doing good deeds had any lasting effect on them.

She found that over 50 percent of the participants voluntarily continued doing good deeds because they felt such an improved sense of wellbeing. Some participants even stated that the experiment had actually changed their lives for the better. Mongrain concluded, “What’s amazing is that the time investment required for these changes to occur is so small; we’re talking mere minutes a day.”

Create a Culture of Kindness

Using kindness as a business driver is a proactive approach aimed at enhancing the wellbeing of individuals within an organization, and the sustainability and health of the organization itself.

A quick formula for treating others with respect and kindness is to pause and ask yourself three questions: Is what I am about to say or do truthful? Is it necessary that I say or do it? And, above all else, can I say or do it with kindness?

There are endless ways to bring more kindness to the work environment: help a colleague who feels overwhelmed, give small gifts, offer words of appreciation, deliver a cup of tea to a work station, offer a ride home on a cold night, demonstrate empathetic listening, and allow a grieving colleague to work through their grief while on the job. Focusing on kindness as a core value and as a standard for personal decision-making provides a solid foundation from which to recharge and center oneself.

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Project Results

Survey Monkey truncates the labels so I’ve tried to put two reports side by side in order to see the full labels. We now have our own custom software for the instrument.

Participants were asked to add additional comments and here is what they added. More good stuff.

  1. I love your list!! Here are a few others to consider: compassion towards self and others, unconditional acceptance of diversity, treating one another with respect and dignity, positive attitude or optimism.
  2. Break the traditional linear hierarchy/break the perceived "linear" path to success.
  3. Celebrate often, have fun, support wellbeing, own it, fear free, coach mentor train.
  4. We find our work meaningful.
  5. We are continuous, life-long learners.
  6. We trust our managers, our managers trust us, our managers treat us as whole human beings.
  7. We feel that our company understand our needs.
  8. The giving and receiving of constructive feedback is a dynamic and ongoing process that contributes to creative ideas for business development, problem-solving, and individual growth.
  9. The giving and receiving of constructive feedback is a dynamic and ongoing process that contributes to creative ideas for business development, problem-solving, and individual growth.
  10. We feel safe to innovate and fail.
  11. Confidence, Able to receive constructive feedback, risk taking, independence.
  12. Activities outside of work.
  13. It supports my individual and personal life and work style.
  14. We respect each other, we feel appreciated, and we are rewarded for going above and beyond.
  15. Psychological responsibility for one's own psychological wellbeing as well as that of those you interact with, sharing responsibility for the future success of the organization amongst the entire workforce.
  16. We get feedback on our performance--both good & bad.
  17. We are proud of the community we are part of. We are collegial.
  18. Trust is not questioned, we all experience it.
  19. Loyalty, Ethics and Integrity.
  20. Shared sense of purpose that we all believe in.
  21. We work in a company that cares about its employees as well as profit margins.
  22. Mutual respect, trust, nimble, shared goals.
  23. We believe that every employee, regardless of position, contributes to fulfillment of our mission.
  24. We focus on what's right about people, not what's wrong with them.
  25. My manager reminds me of how important I am to the organization. My opinions matter to my organization. I am recognized and rewarded for my outstanding performances. My HR manager cares about my Wellbeing as well as my coworkers. My organization allotted me with some Paid Time Off in case of family emergency. My organization has a platform for employees to submit their ideas and recommendations for consideration.
  26. Not so much about not having micro-managers but having leaders that give their directs what they need and when they need it.
  27. Recognized for work that is done and compensated adequately.
  28. In my experience, I require these five things: 1) A climate of personal respect; 2) engaging and stimulating work; 3) engaging and stimulating colleagues; 4) autonomy; 5) compensation that I regard as fair.
  29. Each department understands and supports co-workers in other departments.
  30. Have a written employment agreement. Have an unwritten social contract between employees, peers, management, and the company. Be meticulous in fairly interpreting these contracts and err in favor of the employee if ambiguous situations arise. Explicate the solution to such situations and discuss in open employee meetings. Preserve employee privacy and confidentiality at all time. Be fair in mentoring disputes between employees. Have a consulting psychologist available to help in this process.
  31. Loose balls are picked up by "conversation circles" -- people volunteering to solve problems not assigned to any group yet.
  32. We know what is expected of us, our job is well suited for our skills/abilities/character.
  33. We have real opportunities to move to other jobs within the company...not just talk, we have educational opportunities that help us perform our current work.
  34. Assurance that people are able to get their needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness satisfied.
  35. Timely recognition of individual and team accomplishments, "BS Free" communications.
  36. Accountability for those that do not meet these criteria--the bullies seem to get away with things unencumbered.
  37. Autonomy, Collaboration, Mutual Respect, Sense of Humor, Time OFF to Celebrate.
  38. Being able to bring your "whole self" to work.
  39. Results oriented, trust in the workplace.
  40. We give back to the community.
  41. Value for experienced employees' knowledge, excellent retention of employees.
  42. Our company operates with a high degree of Integrity.
  43. Clients can perceive the positive workplace spirit.
  44. Family feeling.
  45. An internal feedback system so that employees' issues can be addressed, which would result in better team chemistry.
  46. We trust and respect our leaders and each other.
  47. Management needs to recognize performance.
  48. People are not afraid to speak up, not be terminated.
  49. Work-life balance, compensation by achievement rather than time, vacation time, good healthcare.
  50. Hard to improve on that list; honesty and integrity are on the top.
  51. Hire, promote and fire based on our values and guiding principles.
  52. Respect, care, recognition, appreciation, joy in learning and working TOGETHER, Quality, serving customers, one Aim, career dev.
  53. Communication (employees are last to be informed), accountability/professionalism (CEO/VPs need to role models) Proper code of ethics, utilizing company time appropriately, etc.) , CEO needs to interact positively with every employee from every department to show interest / sincere gratitude in their job.
  54. We feel protected to do the jobs we were hired to do.
  55. Diversity is celebrated, especially in ways of thought.
  56. My manager reminds me how important I am to the organization.
  57. I am recognized and rewarded for my outstanding performances.
  58. My HR manager cares about my Wellbeing as well as my co-works.My organization allotted me with some Paid Time Off for personal use and in case of family emergency.
  59. My organization allotted me with some Paid Time Off for personal use and in case of family emergency.
  60. My organization has a platform for employees to submit their ideas and recommendations.

[ Back to Table of Contents ]

Please Let Us Know Who you Suggest as Role Models

At the Institute for Inspired Organizational Cultures recognizing individuals and organizations that support the advancement of Whole Person Organizational Cultures. This is a community project so please help. We want to especially feature businesses who are not already in the high profile limelight.

Please send Jerry a note about individuals or organizations that you think might be good candidates to include. His email address is

Click here to watch videos of our curriculum faculty. Our complete curriculum with videos and suggested reading materials are free for all email addresses ending in .edu and also for faith based and/or charitable non-profit organizations with .org email. For others the fee is only $79 per year.

Gerald R. Wagner, PhD.

CEO, The Institute of Inspired Organizational Cultures.

© 2016 The Institute for Inspired Organizational Cultures, Inc. All rights

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