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Culture Connection by Marty Parker

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Chapter 4It Starts at the Top: How Leadership Impacts Corporate Culture

Example is leadership.

—ALBERT SCHWEITZER

IN 1998, ONE of E. Hunter Harrison’s first challenges as the new executive vice president and chief operating officer of Canadian National Railway (now known as CN) was dealing with the permissive work practices that had developed at the railroad over time. One of these was a phenomenon known as “early quits”, where staff members would work for four hours but get paid for eight.

One his second day on the job, and after spending a few hours visiting one of CN’s terminals in Battle Creek, Michigan, the Tennessee-born Harrison—who became CEO of CN in 2003—discovered “early quits” in action: most of the workers had already gone home for ...

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