- The book is a practical guide for leaders who want to create a culture of excellence in their organizations, based on the author’s experience as a former NFL player, a keynote speaker, and a management consultant.
- The book introduces the Five-Step Fanatical Framework, a proven method for building and sustaining a culture of excellence, which involves being fanatical about attention, development, and nurturing; focus; alignment; follow-through; and the why.
- The book also shows how culture can help organizations make a difference in the world and serve a greater purpose, beyond profits and performance.
Executives absorbed by revenue, profits and market share also need to pay attention to corporate culture – often a controlling or highly influential factor in competitive advantage, performance, engagement and operational excellence. Former Chicago Bears linebacker Matt Mayberry spells out this sometimes-elusive concept, drawing lessons from NFL football.To succeed, he says, firms must plan and implement the culture they want at every level. Executives set the pace, but corporate culture ultimately is a bottom-up endeavor, so involve your employees. Mayberryshares insights from professional sports, including his take on teamwork, peak performance and the central role of organizational culture.
- All good things become possible with a robust and sustainable culture.
- To learn how to create a thriving culture, talk to coaches who train athletes.
- A strong corporate culture has five elements: employee energy, alignment, clear expectations, accelerated execution and talent.
- Leaders must heed revenue and profits while remaining attentive to cultural issues.
- The quest for profit blinded Boeing’s leaders, and hundreds of its passengers died unnecessarily.
- Take five steps to create and sustain a vibrant corporate culture: define it, discover it, launch it, drive it and let leaders “blaze the trail.”
- A “cultural purpose statement” can help your workers understand what a new or revised culture means.
- Re-doing your corporate culture requires preparation and planning.
- Become a “chief culture driver” within your firm.
All good things become possible with a robust and sustainable culture.
Culture matters in every organization, as Matt Mayberry, a linebacker with the National Football League’s Chicago Bears, learned when he played football at Indiana University. When Mayberry joined the team, his college was one of the worst performers in the Big Ten Conference. Then Terry Hoeppner (“Coach Hep”) became the head coach and changed everything for his team.
“Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.” (Simon Sinek)
Coach Hep energized his players’ enthusiasm for football and for representing their university. He engaged his players by reading memorable poems to them and sharing inspirational quotes. Coach Hep told his players, including Mayberry, that their team would win if they were willing to change its culture.The most significant change, he said, is that the players had to expect to win games, not lose them.
During Mayberry’s sophomore year, Coach Hep died of a severe illness. The players dedicated the season to him and tried to embody his “passion, vision and spirit” on and off the field by putting the cultural change he wanted into action.
Thanks to their new spirit, the Indiana team earned an invitation to its first post-season bowl game in 14 years. What accounted for this dramatic upturn? It wasn’t better players. The talent level remained unchanged from previous years. It wasn’t easier opponents. Indiana’s schedule included the same perennially tough Big Ten teams, including Ohio State and Michigan.
The difference was Coach Hep’s lasting influence. He inspired his players to come together as a unified team with a shared mind-set to achieve one goal: winning. The team’s positive new culture was Coach Hep’s legacy, a model other inspired leaders can follow to shape a fresh culture within their organization.
To learn how to create a thriving culture, talk to coaches who train athletes.
Knowledgeable coaches appreciate the importance of culture. For example, a June 2121 article in The Athletic magazine cited several top coaches who stressed the importance of building a solid team culture. They report that culture is foundational, not just a trend or a buzzword.
“Regardless of what the end goal is, improving or successfully changing culture is predicated on the level of commitment from leaders to engage the hearts and minds of all employees.”
These coaches explain that the right culture often translates into a winning season. They suggest using a three-point game plan to build the culture you want:
- Work with your people to generate a strong desire to enhance the organization’s culture.
- Remain positive and energetic.
- Don’t manage the people in your company; coach them instead.
A strong corporate culture has five elements: employee energy, alignment, clear expectations, accelerated execution and talent.
Your all-encompassing corporate culture is made up of five crucial factors:
- “Employee energy, excitement and value” – An organization’s culture must engage and excite its workforce. The right culture is hard to quantify and varies with each organization, but if you hit on a winning strategy, your culture can energize motivation and loyalty.
- “Alignment and togetherness” – The separate divisions in most firms create silos that hamper teamwork. When people who must work together aren’t aligned, frustration is inevitable. However, a positive, inclusive culture can foster unity and counter these internal divisions.
- “Clear expectations” – A “culture by default” will emerge if your company doesn’t define and nurture the culture it wants. Default cultures impede morale and undermine results. Without a forward-looking, upbeat culture, employees don’t expect their actions to have good results. Instead, they anticipate feeling alone, nervous and even more stressed. Their performance suffers, and their bosses feel like failures. To avoid these issues, build a “positive workplace culture” that encourages and supports your employees’ endeavors.
- “Accelerate execution” – A positive culture contributes far more than feel-good emotions among your staff members. It turbocharges operational excellence and shapes the development and implementation of effective strategies.
- “Talent attraction and development” – Organizations with a positive culture and an upbeat environment find it easier to develop their employees’ talents and recruit superior job candidates.
Leaders must heed revenue and profits while remaining attentive to cultural issues.
Executives who focus on negatives – reduced profits, soft sales or complex new tech systems – may neglect their corporate culture. They need to understand that improving the culture will have a positive effect on their firm’s overall health and well-being, sometimes providing as much impact as better sales and profits or a shiny new technological system.
“Some business leaders and managers clearly understand the power of culture, but most allow it to become a flavor of the month rather than developing the consistency required to build a great one.”
Developing a strong corporate culture is complex and all-consuming. Maintaining that culture proves equally challenging. But for any organization, almost always, nothing proves more critical.
The quest for profit blinded Boeing’s leaders, and hundreds of its passengers died.
In 2018 and 2019, Boeing became an example of the dangers of a negative culture. Long a well-respected organization, Boeing experienced a dramatic downfall when its top executives focused on revenues and profits over culture and excellence. They were “blinded by greed,” and two Boeing aircraft crashed, one in 2018 and the other in 2019. Hundreds of passengers and crew members died.
“Simply because a certain structure and method of doing things have worked in your organization for 20 years does not guarantee that those same strategies will continue to work in 2023 and beyond.”
The company’s leaders could have addressed the malfunctions that caused the crashes, especially after the first one. They did nothing, undermining Boeing’s previously upstanding reputation.
Don’t let the pursuit of profit deflect your focus from crucial cultural issues, such as inculcating responsible, moral behavior among your employees. Display your strong values and enforce them as cultural imperatives in your company.
Take five steps to create and sustain a vibrant corporate culture: define it, discover it, launch it, drive it and let leaders “blaze the trail.”
Leaders who focus on cultural issues deliver substantial benefits to their organization.An appropriate culture can help any company come closer to its goals, often in only a year or so. The right culture can help a company achieve greater growth, superior product development, increased sales and market share, and enhanced profitability.
“While planning and strategizing for both short-term and long-term cultural impact are critical, it is also vital to reverse engineer your attention to the daily process.”
Shaping your culture requires hard business skills and the deft use of such soft skills as communicating and coaching. As Tom Peters, author of In Search of Excellence, explains, “The hard skills are the soft skills. The soft skills are the hard skills.”
To shape a positive culture, develop your employees as individuals and create a nurturing, culturally aware environment. Take five steps to create and sustain the culture you want:
- “Define your culture” – Employees at second-rate companies can’t describe their firms’ culture. In contrast, employees at top-notch organizations can describe their culture in a few words because their bosses already defined it and made sure that everyone understood it.
- “Discovery through collaboration and inspiration” – The development of your culture should emanate from the bottom up – from your workforce – not from the top down. You want your employees to collaborate in developing your culture.
- “Launch, cascade and embed” – To promote your corporate culture throughout your firm, embed its values in all aspects of your business.
- “Drive long-term impact” – As an executive, your job must go beyond inspiring a temporary buzz about your corporate culture. Tap into and promote your company’s “core DNA.” Prioritize long-term innovation and cultural sustainability.
- “Leaders must blaze the trail” – As in all other aspects of organizational leadership, executives should be role models who offer consistent, positive examples of the correct cultural values and behavior.
A “cultural purpose statement” can help your workers understand what a new or revised culture means.
Having a foundational purpose statement can help you develop a strong corporate culture.Gather your leaders and ask them to list terms that describe your company’s purpose, mission and environment. Avoid boring cliches like “excellence, commitment” or execution.”You and your people must burrow deeper to find original concepts that apply specifically to how your organization goes about its business. Effective cultures are “well-defined.”
“If you believe that building a great culture comes down to hanging posters with your mottos and core values written on them throughout the office or simply including more perks, you run the risk of promoting fluff that lacks real substance.”
Create a clear definition or cultural purpose statement that can inspire your employees to defy their limits and generate consistent superb performance. The most powerful cultural purpose statements are concise and memorable. For example, Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits of Illinois – where the leadership team became involved in developing the culture – uses a call to action, “Get Better Today…Together!”, as its cultural impetus and goal.
Re-doing your corporate culture requires preparation and planning.
Your leaders should spend the time it takes to develop a “cultural playbook” that will help employees build the desired cultural environment.
“Setting a successful vision requires not only communicating the vision for your culture early on, but also continuously painting a clear image of where the company is, where it is going and how the company is going to get there.”
Explain that a fresh culture must address six pain points that can hamper productivity:
- “Poor preparation and planning” – A sound playbook spells out each stage of implementation, from planning and rollout to early wins.
- “Lack of understanding” – Employees must understand your culture to relate to it meaningfully. A lack of understanding will impede staff members from taking ownership of their role in implementing cultural change.
- “Misrepresentation of old mind-sets and behaviors” – Leaders must communicate the revised processes and behaviors they want to adopt. But just saying what you want to happen won’t transform people’s mind-sets and ideas. Your people will need more profound insights into the reasons for cultural change and for particular elements you wish to adopt. Explain clearly why old ways of thinking are no longer adequate or appropriate.
- “Insufficient communication strategy” – Don’t assume you can communicate your preferred cultural changes to your employees by using the same methods you employ to share everything else. You may need to upgrade your communication skills, become more aware of other people’s perceptions and have more personal conversations.
- “Absence of shared behavioral shifts” – Creating the culture you want requires having the right values, but resetting values alone isn’t enough to manifest the change you seek. To get there, you must transform your values into the right behaviors, though even that isn’t your end goal. To make sure your employees share these values, distribute information about them and how applicable they are every day. Develop compelling visuals to coach employees on the behaviors you want to encourage and explain how their actions support the new culture.
- “Failing to highlight positive examples” – Draw plenty of positive attention to early wins in your cultural transformation journey. That builds the necessary momentum for cultural change. Celebrate all your wins and put them to work for you.
Become a “chief culture driver” within your firm.
As a leader, you have a built-in role as a “chief culture driver.” Begin by living the changes you want to see. This may mean leading and relating to your employees in a new way that represents the new culture.By becoming a living example of the values of the culture you intend to implement, you are driving cultural change. People will support you when they see the unceasing, sincere effort you pour into leadership.
“If more companies truly prioritized developing their employees as people first and providing an environment in which they could thrive, the benefits would extend beyond the workplace.”
Whether your company’s cultural changes fall on your shoulders or not, as a leader you have the responsibility of bringing your employees into the organization’s culture and helping them shape it, participate in it and benefit from its influence.
About the Author
Linebacker Matt Mayberry played for the NCAA’s Indiana Hoosiers and the NFL’s Chicago Bears. He gives speeches and appears on television to discuss leadership development, performance, culture and teamwork, and has written for Forbes, Fortune, Business Insider and Entrepreneur, among others.
The book is a practical guide for leaders who want to create a culture of excellence in their organizations. The author, Matt Mayberry, is a former NFL player, a keynote speaker, and a management consultant who has worked with many Fortune 500 companies. He draws on his own experience as well as the latest research and data to show how culture is the key driver of organizational performance and employee engagement.
The book is divided into three parts. The first part explains what culture is, why it matters, and how to assess the current state of your culture. The second part introduces the Five-Step Fanatical Framework, a proven method for building and sustaining a culture of excellence. The third part provides practical tools and tips for implementing the framework across your organization.
The Five-Step Fanatical Framework consists of the following steps:
- Step 1: Be fanatical about attention, development, and nurturing. This step involves creating a clear vision and purpose for your culture, communicating it effectively, and providing ongoing feedback and recognition to your employees.
- Step 2: Be fanatical about focus. This step involves identifying the vital areas of improvement for your culture, setting specific and measurable goals, and aligning your actions with your desired outcomes.
- Step 3: Be fanatical about alignment. This step involves ensuring that everyone in your organization is on the same page, working towards the same vision, and sharing the same values and behaviors.
- Step 4: Be fanatical about follow-through. This step involves executing your plans with discipline, accountability, and consistency, and measuring your progress and results regularly.
- Step 5: Be fanatical about the why. This step involves connecting your culture to a higher purpose that inspires and motivates your employees, customers, and stakeholders.
I found the book to be very insightful, engaging, and actionable. The author uses many real-life examples and stories to illustrate his points and make them relatable. He also provides useful exercises, checklists, and templates that can help leaders apply the framework to their own situations. The book is well-written, well-organized, and easy to follow.
The book is not only relevant for leaders at the top of the organization, but also for leaders at every level who want to make a positive impact on their teams and departments. The book shows how culture can be a competitive advantage that can help any organization achieve its goals faster, better, and easier.
The book is also not only about creating a culture of excellence, but also about creating a culture of impact. The author emphasizes how culture can help organizations make a difference in the world and serve a greater good. He challenges leaders to think beyond profits and performance, and to consider how their culture can contribute to social change and environmental sustainability.
Overall, I think this book is a valuable resource for anyone who wants to learn how to create a culture that drives organizational excellence and unleashes the full potential of every employee. I highly recommend it.