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Declining engagement, AI, globalization, the great resignation, accelerating competition, quiet quitting, burnout ... there are many forces today putting extreme pressure on our organizations.  CEOs and leadership teams are struggling to respond. 



We are creatures of habit.  It's the way our brains work, we learn things and relegate the learning to our unconscious mind; behaviors become habitual. This mechanism serves us very well… but also makes rapid change very difficult in the way we see things, the way we approach things, and the way we behave. We become comfortable with our habits and these habitual behaviors become our comfort zone.  Human beings are committed to comfort.  We're inherently motivated not to change.     

Darwin’s model of Generational evolution and growth is no longer sufficient for our organizations to remain viable. Left to our own devices, we will live out our entire lives in our comfort zone…and become obsolete. We must develop the ability for inner-generational development; the ability to retool ourselves many times within our lifetime. 


The word transformation is used so much today it has lost all meaning… Installing a new computer system or starting a new exercise routine get tagged as being transformational.  If we could use a different word, we would—but transformational is the only word that means what we want to say: a fundamental change in the basic character of a person or a culture.  


Growth and development always require that we operate outside our comfort zone… if we are to grow, we must be motivated by something more compelling than our commitment to comfort. An introverted parent who fears public speaking but stands up in a PTA meeting because they believe that speaking up for what's best for their child is a great example. That parent is more committed to their child's welfare than to their own comfort.  Personal transformation is a fundamental shift in a person’s behavior that arises from a conscious choice: to operate out of my commitment to comfort…or to operate out of my higher purpose. 


A transformational culture in any organization develops when leaders generate a focus on a higher purpose; a purpose that people find meaningful, that provides an opportunity to make a difference. This provides people with a simple, but not easy, choice: Am I going to behave in a way that makes me comfortable or am I going to behave in a way that serves our higher purpose?  

Such a culture is rooted in: 

Inspirational leadership ~ keeps people focused on a compelling purpose that fuels growth and change. 

Supportive accountability ~ ensures results. 

Insightful Coaching ~ helps people become aware of habitual behaviors that are ineffective, and generate new, effective behaviors. 



If we are to change culture, we must first understand what it is. We define culture as the unspoken rules of engagement within any group of people. These unspoken rules govern everything; what can and cannot be discussed, what language is allowable, the assumptions decisions are based on — everything.  What we know from decades of experience is that Culture Eats Everything



Culture just happens. When you walk into work do you say to yourself, “I’m going to follow these rules today” or “I think today I will be a micromanager“... of course not. Humans are social animals; once we are acclimated to a culture, we will adopt its practices unconsciously because we want to fit in.  

Most efforts to change culture overlook this basic characteristic of culture, which is why such efforts frequently fail. How can you change something you are not conscious of?  Any culture change process that ignores these “comfort zone” behaviors is doomed to failure.  



The practice of changing cultures is complex and difficult. Once we understand the nature of culture, why it's so difficult to change, and what it takes to change it, we can develop a methodical operating system to drive culture change.  

Our work supports the development of such an operating system. This operating system impacts an organization’s propensity to:  

  • Be Engaged 

  • Innovate.  

  • Perform as a United Team.  

  • Evoke Engagement from Associates

  • Produce Results.  



Cultures arise from the behaviors demonstrated by the organization’s leaders. Cultures mirror the CEO’s or Superintendent's behavior and the collective behavior of the organization's ’ leaders.  Therefore, the first and most crucial step in cultural transformation is to foster transformational leadership.   

Transformational Leadership :  

Generating a vision that people adopt as their vision, that changes their focus from an unconscious, fear-based purpose of self-protection, to a consciously generated love-based purpose of contributing to the growth or benefit of others.  

You may think this sounds overly idealistic but Transformational leadership isn’t a new management fad. A consciously generated commitment to providing value or service to others is at the heart of every great organization, and it’s existed throughout history. It’s at the heart of historically impactful groups such as the Founding Fathers, the blacksmiths and farmers who changed the world; or the “Greatest Generation” of World War II, who experienced personal transformation en masse and adopted a commitment to a bigger purpose than their own comfort and fears in the war against Hitler’s Nazism.  


Transformational leadership inspires rather than instructs. Most training is ineffective because people are not motivated to try new methods or approaches—but you can inspire them to commit to a higher purpose that motivates new behaviors.  


You might ask: Why doesn’t the leader just change the priorities? Not so simple! Those priorities arise from her or his unconscious behavioral needs. Behavioral profiles such as Disc, Myers-Briggs, or our own The Elevate System™ offer insight for people into what their unconscious priorities are and how they shape behavior and therefore culture. And the entire leadership team must be made aware of how their collective unconscious behaviors are impacting the organization if they are to have a shot at improving their organization’s culture.  


Once leaders are aware of their unconscious habits and which ones support the type of culture they’re trying to build and which do not, they can begin to develop conscious habits that intentionally support a high-performing culture.  

Any culture change effort must begin by helping leaders develop their ability and propensity to exercise transformational leadership. 


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