Lessons from ‘Good Comes First’

At their book launch party on Tuesday 28th September, S. Chris Edmonds and Mark S Babbitt, with host Ross Brand, shared insights and conversations on their new book, Good Comes First: How Today’s Leaders Create an Uncompromising Company Culture That Doesn’t Suck.

Special guests added to the conversations and insights, and I note below some key lessons I learned from my participation in the event.

  1. Senior leaders, usually the apex leader, set the organisation’s culture.
  2. Senior leaders in organisations cannot delegate the creation of the company’s culture, although many do, often to HR departments or the like.
  3. When leaders move to different companies, they take their culture, however good, bad or average.
  4. Cultural change involves complex change. Leaders need to understand that some people in the organisation may not fit the cultural change you desire.
  5. Some people, therefore, may lovingly have to go and be a success somewhere they can do that.
  6. Elise Camahort Page made a brilliant observation on returning to the office after the pandemic. If all your people do not want to be back in the office, you have something else to work on besides being present.
  7. Other contributors discussed what appears to be a respect shortage in the workplace, especially towards frontline employees.
  8. So, the question was asked, “How are you positively connecting with your frontline employees?”
  9. That raised the observation that senior leaders need to redefine how they get the most out of their employees by challenging established leadership mindsets.
  10. Senior leaders also need to recall that productivity is directly related to your employees’ mental health and correlates directly to doing the right thing by them.

Chris and Mark strongly urged us all to recapture our definition of ‘good’ and rekindle our hope for the future.

Mark summed it up by advocating that we all lead ‘contagious pockets of excellence!”

I very much liked that sentiment and the notion that continuously adding to those pockets builds a critical mass for a much better future that respects our people, embodies our shared values and produces excellent results.

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