006: The Power of Culture

006: The Power of Culture

A positive and healthy work culture should be the foundation that you can build upon in your business. But toxicity can creep in in a number of ways and threaten to disrupt and dismantle your core.   


Unlike some words, it’s not one that I’ve ever heard to have an alternate or opposite meaning.

I mean, it’s not like fat or sick or… I don’t know… “juicy”. Actually, I don’t know if juicy has some other meaning but if any word would it would probably be something like juicy. “Dude, that car is sooo juicy”

Not toxic, though.

You never hear “toxic” and think something positive. Toxic waste. Toxic relationships. Toxic environments. Yep, all of those convey something that has a stench about it. Something you want to stay away from.

And the same is true with a toxic company culture.

If you’ve ever worked somewhere with a toxic culture, there was just an icky feeling about it. I know I’ve experienced it. Things just seem a little… or sometimes a lot… off. Overt favoritism, lack of communication, mistreatment, buddy-buddy relationships, back-door dealings, lack of trust, people treated like robots and more.

Often the toxicity is clear and evident and everyone can see it. But sometimes it’s more hidden. 

One thing is for sure though. It is never good for a company and will eventually drive out the types of people you want to attract.

Because of my bent toward relationships and people, culture has also been a huge part of what I’ve observed and seeked to change and improve in the places I’ve worked. When there is truly an openness to making things better, there is hope. When management really values their people, you can see a difference.

If you’ve ever been someplace with a killer culture, you can just tell. There is a positive peer pressure that comes down from the top. There is an overriding understanding that “this” is how we treat people here. Each person is valuable, listened to, respected, understood, encouraged, equipped. And when people come in that don’t fit that culture, they stand out because the don’t mesh with those cultural attributes.

It’s really refreshing to be a part of.

A solid culture provides stability, freedom of thought, security and trust. It allows your people to bring their ideas, goals, thoughts out into the open. They can be vulnerable. They are able to fail and try again without fear. They can trust that they will be treated fairly, given a chance to grow and advance.

Not only does a healthy work culture reduce stress and provide a better atmosphere for your team, it also makes you more efficient as a company and better able to provide those goods and services to your customers with less weighing you down.

Think of a football team. If there is infighting, mistrust, lack of communication, favorites, etc. they are just not going to be able to get the job done. Inevitably, when push comes to shove each will revert back to protecting their own interests because they feel no one is protecting theirs. You’ve seen with teams with poor cultures. Players sulking on the sidelines, ignoring coaches, yelling at each other, shoving others under the bus instead of taking responsibility. 

It leads to each looking out for their own interests and, ultimately, to failure.

In upcoming episodes we’ll talk about what a healthy work culture can look like, how you can make changes in your own environment and the impact this can have on the people you value so dearly.

And as for that toxic smell coming from that container of sour cream in the back of your fridge? You… might want to deal with that soon.

Thanks for listening to today’s episode.

I can’t wait to connect with you again tomorrow

001: Introducing the Engineering Your Business Podcast

001: Introducing the Engineering Your Business Podcast

Today I’m introducing a new podcast that’s been already playing in my head for years but will now finally make it into your earbuds for the first time. Going forward, a new episode will come out every weekday morning, starting a week after this intro episode.

Before I get into the show itself, let me address the change in the podcast feed. You may notice that there are older episodes out there of a podcast called Stories of Starters. If you’re new to it, that was my first podcast, where I interviewed people who had taken a vision or passion and turned it into something bigger.

In order to preserve those interviews, which I still think offer a lot of value, I decided to start here where they left off instead of with a totally new feed. But feel free to dig through some of those older episodes and enjoy.

As for the Engineering Your Business podcast, it will be a totally different format and focus. Where Stories of Starters was a semi-weekly show that featured interviews which could be anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour, Engineering Your Business will be a short daily show (I’m thinking five minutes or less) that will focus on helping you optimize the People and Processes that you deal with every day as a business leader. My goal is to provide you with bite sized episodes that you can easily grab and go daily… or even batch on the weekends.

Personally, I have a mix in my own podcast playlist. Some are longer, interview or monologue shows while others are short daily shows like this one. I’ve really taken a liking to the shorter ones as they pack a punch, have a lot of variety and yet are easy to get through even if I’m short on time.

So, back to this podcast, you might ask “why the name Engineering Your Business”? Well, it has sort of a dual meaning. On one hand, I’ve been an engineer working in manufacturing for over 25 years and I’m bringing some of the lessons I’ve picked up over that time to your and your business field. As well, the episodes will help give you tools, encouragement and practical ideas that you can use to engineer your business and get it running at peak efficiency.

Now, about the specific focus, People and Processes? That comes from my wiring and makeup. I’m part engineer (it’s my job and I’m also generally curious about how things work), I’m part human resources (in that I’m relationally wired), I’m part creative (I love to write, create and see things differently) and honestly I’m part comedian (sarcasm is one of favorite languages). Granted, I’m not sure that those four types would often hang out together outside of my head, but somehow they get along in there.

And that all brings us to you, the listener. You are a business leader with a lot on your mind daily and a weight of responsibility for your business or department. You have demands. You have stresses. You have goals. And a lot of the time you might feel stuck. I want to be able to help give you a jolt, a boost, some new insight or even just some encouragement along the way.

Personally, I’ve often found that I can pound my head against a wall over and over trying to solve a problem or how to make something more efficient and then someone will come by, offer a few words and totally change my thinking or perspective. And that’s my goal with this podcast.

That said, I also believe in being yourself and offering the world your own special flavor, so you’ll find plenty of humor and creativity mixed in among the often-stuffy business talk.

I appreciate you taking the time to listen to this intro episode. Your time is valuable and I don’t take that for granted. I mean, you could have been catching up on the latest social media buzz or watching ESPN highlights or organizing your sock drawer, but you chose to spend these few precious minutes with me… while probably also doing those other things… which is why I love podcasts so much.

If you haven’t already, hit subscribe so that the next episode drops right there into your favorite podcast player. And I’d love it if you told a friend or coworker about the podcast as well.

Thanks for listening to today’s episode.

I can’t wait to connect with you again tomorrow