Chapter 5

Hacking the Culture Gap

Leadership not accountable to its people, will eventually be held accountable by its people.

Few things are more critical to leadership success than building a healthy, aligned culture. As obvious as this should be to anyone, far too many leaders still don’t get it. I never cease to be amazed at how many leaders talk about culture, without actually doing anything to improve culture. Understanding how to hack cultural gaps can make the difference between success and failure.

Let me be as clear as I can—the phrase “toxic work environment” is code for bad leadership. Toxic work environments can only exist where a lack of trust and respect are present, and this can only occur in the absence of sound leadership. The reality is a toxic culture simply cannot co-exist in the presence of great leadership.

A toxic work environment thrives off of everything great leadership stands in opposition to. The fuel for toxicity is conflict not resolution, ego not humility, self-interest not service above self, gossip and innuendo not truth, social and corporate climbing not team-building, and the list could go on. Toxic cultures occur where arrogance, ignorance, ambivalence, and apathy are present, but again, not where steady leadership stands at the helm.

Great corporate cultures are intentional—they are built by design. While I suppose that a great culture could somehow evolve by default or osmosis, I have yet to observe it. Creating a healthy culture is a matter ...

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