Inspired Action For Imperfect Humans – S4 E10: “Culture Should Be The Cornerstone of Corporate”

“Culture Should Be The Cornerstone of Corporate” Brief Summary:

Are you taking an active role and participating in a positive culture in your workplace? Or are you complaining and contributing to a negative space? In this Inspired Action For Imperfect Humans podcast episode, Christopher Lawrence and Kyle Kalloo discuss culture in the workplace, why it’s important to participate and foster a positive space, and why culture should be the cornerstone of any corporation!

“When it comes to culture, I think often employees forget the role that they play in contributing to that culture. And if you’re complaining about it, then you’re as much a part of the problem as your leadership is.”


  • Introduction
  • Why it’s important to take a deliberate role in workplace culture
  • What should the bottom line be in fostering culture?
  • Why loyalty doesn’t matter
  • Fostering a dynamic culture
  • Your brand identity, and the corporate brand identity

Calls to Action:

Even before the remote workforce evolution, office culture was inherently fragile. After all, it’s made up of imperfect humans interacting with other imperfect humans. And while perfection isn’t the goal, we all secretly wish for a workplace where people find ways to bring out the best in each other. Unfortunately, that’s not always an intuitive skill. It takes guidance, practice, and then more guidance and practice… but with the right leadership, it’s definitely achievable. How do you enhance your workforce’s ability to engage, collaborate, and adapt in this volatile and uncertain reality? Get the answers to your culture questions when you setup a complimentary Discovery Session with Kyle Kalloo at

Not loving your career? Feel you need a change in your job? Let’s Strategize! Book a complimentary Strategy Session with Christopher Lawrence here:

Tell us your “inspired stories” stories by visiting

Christopher Lawrence LinkedIn:

Kyle Kalloo LinkedIn:

Change My Life Coaching & Change My Business Coaching LinkedIn:

Looking to create a corporate coaching culture? Reach out to Kyle Kalloo:


“Culture Should Be The Cornerstone of Corporate” Transcript:

[00:00:00] When it comes to culture, I think often, um, employees forget the role that they play in contributing to that culture. And if you’re complaining about it and you know, Kind of leading the way with it, then you’re you’re as much a part of the problem as your leadership is. This is the thought of being imperfect, keeping you from taking action.

Welcome to inspired action for imperfect humans. Each week, we give you real life stories and thought provoking research that inspires your soul to live a more fulfilled life through your own actions. From the heart of Calgary Canada. Here are your hosts. Award-winning coaches Christopher Lawrence and Kyle Kalloo. Hello, friends and family.

You are here joining us on inspired action for imperfect humans. And I’m here with my nasty cohost Kyle Kalloo. I actually might be today because I’m having some technical [00:01:00] difficulties between my headset and my speaker. And I know how much you love to rag on me about, oh, you have to have your headphones and dah, dah, dah, dah.

So anyway, so I might be jumping in and out. If that happens, I’m a little bit slow to respond. Know, that’s the challenge. I wonder if you thought about coming prepared. I knew you were going to say that you’re going to say that you do not create a culture for me to really Excel. It’s all I’m saying. I’ll tell you what culture should be.

The cornerstone of every company and girl, if there’s one thing I have, it’s a cornerstone,

maybe a headstone I’ll take care of that for you.

You’re such a bitch. Um, oh man. Okay. Let’s talk about that for a second. Like what will we talk about? Can we talk about culture being the [00:02:00] cornerstone of every company today? Oh man. You know, I have this thing about culture, you know, and I know you, and I’ve talked about this many moons ago. I think you actually did a blog about the culture just being, Hey, it will happen.

I think that’s the thing that when we talk to our people, we work with, they don’t realize culture is already there in your organization. The question is, was it deliberate or not? Right? Yes. We’ve done a couple podcasts. Exactly. Have you done something to make that deliberate, but here’s the thing I find with culture is that.

It’s the responsibility. I believe of the leaders and the employees. It’s probably, you know, amongst many of the things, both of them actually work together to either create, I agree with you a hundred percent. I find when, when culture isn’t deliberate, it’s usually because leadership is saturated and sometimes they don’t know.

You know, but I find leadership saturated in the doing parts rather than the leading parts, [00:03:00]uh, is, is a big part of it. And I find that actually a lot of the employee base, um, tends to kind of complain about culture. Um, and listen, I’m like the ultimate employee advocate. I’ve coached over 2000 employees in the last 10 years.

Are you actively contributing to your corporate culture?
Are you actively contributing to your corporate culture?

So, so I feel very confident saying this when it comes to culture, I think often, um, employees forget the role that they play in contributing to that culture. And if you’re complaining about it and you’re not kind of leading the way with it, then you’re, you’re as much a part of the problem as your leadership is.

Um, and I think if I can make one more point about this, I think people underestimate how much is driven. Particularly if, if you have a board of directors or shareholders, how much is driven by, by, um, keeping your shareholders happy and your board and board of director direction. Right? Like I think people underestimate that, which doesn’t mean that it has to be a bad culture.

I just think that people [00:04:00] underestimate that it’s. No, it’s because we’re not having real conversations. Right. It’s like, it’s like, well, we’re, we’re, we’re piecemealing bullshit together. When actually we should just say that is not the direction that the board of directors want to go in. It’s not good for our shareholders.

And it’s like, well, it shouldn’t always be about the bottom line. And it’s like, I agree with you. It shouldn’t. But I think when we acknowledged that it is almost always about the bottom line, then we can actually start to build a culture that takes the bottom line into account. And as a healthy, positive, amazing culture.

But if everyone in your company doesn’t know that we are here to make money first and foremost, number one and keep our shareholders happy, or the owner happy, then you are totally out of line with, with what’s happening. And, and it sounds really cold and cruel, but once you acknowledge that, then we can actually build a culture because it’s the truth.

Yeah. You know, what, if we step in, if we go that step deeper and go out the box a little bit, because I agree with you, uh, [00:05:00] financing, it’s a currency, it’s the bloodline for a lot of businesses, lots of employees. You need to pay your mortgage. You need to pay your rent. You need to pay your thing. We need that bloodline.

And I think the bottom line. Is when you take a little spin on it, it’s about actually culture. That truly is the bottom line, because if that is not working in unison, then how the hell are you gonna make this money? How the hell are you going to be engaged? How do you, how are you gonna do all these other things right now?

Interestingly enough, last week I actually did a workshop with a group and we were talking about the great resignation. Specifically. It was about a recent article that was published by McKinsey and company. Um, back in September of 2021, where it reported that because of the isolation, the uncertainty and the change about this pandemic with employees, they’re all craving human investment in the workplace.

Christopher. Here’s the thing. There is a talk about communication. There’s a disconnect between what the employers think is important to what the [00:06:00] employees think. And this report, really this survey, this research really identify that. So there’s no wonder there’s no surprise why the cultures are not succinct.

They’re not connected because if I’m the employer and here’s the thing that I’m finding in my experience is a lot of employers. Are so operationally D um, uh, divided they’re so operationally focused that they’re not people focus, whereas the people are people focus right. Blaming the employers, but I’m just saying take naturally to operation.

Yeah, it’s more than one factor. Sorry, I just got a comment on this. You said there’s a reason why it’s not succinct. I think, I think you meant synced that too. So yeah, there’s a, there’s a story that I want you to finish with that. I remember from your time working in tourism. But I, I want him to get into some of the stuff here.

That’s, that’s coming out in the research in terms of, um, [00:07:00] in terms of like culture being a cornerstone. And I’m going to tell you where some of it I disagree with. I’ll give you a one. So we talk about strengthening loyalty, but actually I don’t, I don’t agree with loyalty. I don’t think loyalty can happen.

When you’re trying to keep an owner or shareholders or board of directors, happy to hit certain number of benchmarks, which is crap. I wish that that wasn’t the way of the world, but it is the way of the world. We are predominantly capital at, well, okay. Hang on. I’m going to get a bunch of economists on here, blasting us.

Fulfillment is key in fostering positive corporate culture.
Fulfillment is key in fostering positive corporate culture.

But, um, but, but instead of loyalty, I would actually focus on, on engagement, fulfillment and happiness. Right. Did you know that happy employees are 45% more productive? Like not surprising at all. So I would focus on engagement on growth, on opportunity. People are like, you know, I had somebody say to me, I’m throwing a council that I’m on.

It’s like, you know, at what point in time do, does the employee recognize that I pay them [00:08:00]to do something I said, but that’s the point though. You’re not focused on them doing something you’re focused on their time. And so focus on their. Deliverables, forget about loyalty. Cause loyalty is going to come and go.

It’s the flavor of the day. We’re loyal until we’re not look at what happened. It’s like how many people worked for 30 years? And then we hit our economic downturn and they get, let go before retirement garbage, garbage, and loyalty is dead focus on other things. Yeah. And I think this is where employee. Uh, leaders specifically gets really distracted with these operational things.

So based on that story, but you were just asking about the story of tourism. The one I remember to prove and illustrate this point around when we’re not focused on the right thing, which could really impact the cornerstone of culture. I worked with this other leaders now at the time I reported to this leader, you know, And people would always like from the frontline would ask about certain things.

Even I asked about doing certain things differently, either, you know, a process [00:09:00]procedure, or just fundamentally something we want to do differently. And her response usually what was the one ask that you made that triggered this? Uh, I mean, I don’t know if I remember, but there’s so many, right. There’s just so many things.

Can you give an example though? Cause I think our listeners would like to hear a specific example, something that you asked for and she was kind of like. ’cause I remember this story. Yeah. W w what was he asked? Do you remember what it was about me? He meant the story, but do you remember the deliberate ask it what it was.

Say it again. Or do you remember the deliberate ask? I did. Cause you know, I asked her a lot of things cause I tell you about this is what it was. Right. Okay. So there are some of the asks could be, Hey, you know what, our flexibility with the scheduling, um, some of it could be, you know, understanding someone’s going through something.

And I remember a time, we wanted. Um, someone’s, uh, training as you know, their, their annual training as a F um, I’m talking about specifically a flight crew that they would have to change their, their schedule. And this person [00:10:00] had a stagged where they need to change their schedule, but also this person had a history of changing their schedule all the time.

And. From our experience. If you don’t do your technical training in a certain period, then they go to another thing that you need transport Canada kind of jump in and do something else that goes with that. But anyway, they wanted to make the change. Now they had a legit reason for that change. And we were saying, is there something we can do?

Hi Hiro. There was a quick little picture of puppy puppy there. If you’re on YouTube. You could see his little face, my hands wants to be there, but, and then he doesn’t, he doesn’t want the intention back to the office. So, so I’m at home alone now. So the dogs is a hundred percent of my time and attention you’re going to have to coordinate it.

Could we make that exception for her?
Could we make that exception for her?

So anyway, I was asking her to make this change based on the individual, uh, flight attendant need that, you know, she was explaining that she was going through something and, and we need to be able to make this change. And could we make that exception for her? Right. Is when we be able to do [00:11:00] it. And so. She made the comment, uh, about, well, if I do it for you, I have to do that for everybody.

And I looked at her after and I was just. Well, not everyone is lining up the door with the same situation. How, why can we not look at the individual need and recognize that? And normally that it wasn’t even the individual flight tends to really make an exception. We actually had a business decision. We had a company departmental process that was not serving the need of the frontline.

And so that’s where we needed to make that change, because although this was the one-off, I am sure that other people, and I said to her, what if other people needed that? So a lot of other people needed it. That’s the thing I think we get so stuck in our thinking that we’re not like, like we get so stuck in bias thinking, thinking that our default position is no, as [00:12:00] opposed to what’s behind that.

Is everybody asking, do you know what happens if I do do this? Does it set a precedent? If it needs to be an exception, how can we ensure that this person knows that this is an exception because of their unique circumstance? Right? And I w the, in that company, we saw some really horrendous things. And even in this situation when we went even further down, because of course, no, I was a dog with a bone and I wouldn’t let it go.

And so what ended up coming through it was where she was getting stuck was she didn’t know operationally how we were going to do it. And so, because it wasn’t clear for her, it was an automatic no, instead of understanding, you know what, this may be a cultural thing. This may be something or where people want and need.

Right. He’s such a spoiled puppy. That guy.

Um, so I, I agree. Sorry. He’s distracting me. Okay. So, so I agree with you. He’s going to start growing cause he just moved away and he wants to [00:13:00] be comfortable and have scratches. Um, uh, I think, you know, I agree with you, Kyle, I think, you know, and, and no fault to her. Cause to be honest with you, she was just doing what her predecessor said.

So it was kind of. You know, I think sometimes we need to find a way to, yes. And, and to do that, we have to understand, um, uh, other things. So we talked about loyalty, which again, I would focus more on engagement, engagement, involves people having autonomy, right. They need to have an opportunity to grow.

They need to know that they can grow. You have to check the paycheck box. Right. You have to make sure that they’re well fed, uh, autonomy growth and, um, purpose. Right. They have to have a reason for doing it. That goes just beyond kind of. The paycheck. Yeah. I mean, and I think as an organization, you have to also question are a lot of the practices, the policies or procedures does it actually play well with the rest of the organization, right?

Because you can’t say as a company, we really value, friendly caring [00:14:00] services, but our policies do not allow for us to be on. Right. Yeah, there are thing that’s coming out, uh, here, Kyle and, and some of these articles and stuff is talking about service above self. And I do agree with that. I do agree with that, but it’s interesting cause you and I heard an interesting talk recently about they versus I, and some of us are more, they focused so focused on being attuned to those around you and I focused being more focused on yourself and of course you need the balance to get two weeks.

I don’t mind service above self at all. I think that’s a really important piece when you’re working in any organization, but I wouldn’t say above self, I would say service for others and service for self, because I think we do a very poor job of ourselves as leaders, but also mentoring our team. To identify specifically what they want and ask for it.

Right. It doesn’t mean it’s always going to be a yes, but we should at [00:15:00] least be knowing what we want and asking for it. So, and when you have a culture that fosters that type of level of thinking and practice, that creates a dynamic culture. I totally agree with you. Kyle the third thing that’s in care, uh, that would be worth mentioning is kind of curating your brand identity.

So part of that is about company brand identity, and that should in these next 10 years include how you are going to appeal to, uh, to potential employees, um, because you want the best talent and your, your flavor is not going to be everybody’s flavor. But I also think helping people curate. Their own brand within the company.

What are you known for? What's that unique thing that you're known for that the organization cannot live without.
What are you known for? What’s that unique thing that you’re known for that the organization cannot live without.

So like, like we do these haphazard resumes and people don’t think about it. It’s like, but what are you known for? What’s that unique thing that you’re known for that the organization cannot live without. And I think that what that does and, and leaders might be like, well, if they get so good at this, maybe they’ll go somewhere else.

And it’s like, they might go [00:16:00] somewhere else. I said, but if you help them curate that, you know what you’re going to do. You’re going to, you’re actually going to create, uh, dare I say it loyalty. You’re going to help them curate loyalty because they’re going to feel purpose. They’re going to feel purpose and why they’re there.

It’s like, you are my blank person. You are the person who does this. Right. And then allowing them to explore it and be flexible when they need to change. And, and that kind of thing. I don’t know. It excites me. It excites me where, where big corporate culture can go. If they just put a tiny bit of time into this and get some buy-in from their leadership, like it excites.

I mean, speaking of exciting, one thing I will always remember, and you, you hear me all the time, bring it up and no one can say anything bad about this company in front of me, which has. I grew up on McDonald’s learnt a lot from McDonald’s McDonald’s took risks with me. They took a chance on me. They mentored me to do, I mean, there weren’t perfect.

Any organization? No, one’s perfect. But there’s so many [00:17:00] cornerstone principles I learned from McDonald’s regardless of what you say about them, they did right by me and other people that I still fundamentally hold. Now McDonald’s was sure would love to have you work there forever and what have you, but they actually built me up so I can be better in other companies.

All right. Totally. You’re I’m about to make you happy sometime you guys, sometimes when Kyle’s coughing or coughing talking, I just do things like, like make sure that my pompadour is like nice and crisp, but a lot of culture make them laugh. Um, yeah. So, so Kyle, I’m curious, just kind of, as we’re wrapping up here, um, I’ll give you the final word.

What. It’s the bottom line here for leaders. And what is the bottom line here for, uh, uh, employees and team members in an organization? The main things from the live, from the leader, prospective leaders. I know you’re operationally task [00:18:00] saturated. I know folks above you, especially middle management folks above.

You’re telling you about the operational deliverables, I get it. Right. And there’s something that should be done for that. And we can help you with that. If you don’t know how to deal with those conflicting priorities, definitely reach out to us. But I would say shift. Some of your time into people, focus, shifts some of your time to your one to ones.

When you’re truly asking your people, you know, three things around, what can we do as an organization to make you feel valued? What can I do as your leader to make you feel valued? What can we do together to ensure that you have a sense of belonging. So that’s the leadership side of it from the employee side. This is where I would say, don’t wait for your leaders to meet with you.

You meet with them and share with them. What is one thing they can do or contribute as an organization to make you feel valued? What specifically do you want them to do as their [00:19:00]leader? You know, as your leader to make sure you feel valued. And what is the one thing you need to happen in the organization for you to feel a sense of belonging.

I am going to finish on a quick story here. That was the problem I ran into my, in my early career. I was so busy, focused on like the problem with this and the problem with that. But I wasn’t actually taking the time to sit down and ask myself the question. What do I want? And being specific with that ask, I think so often when team are disillusioned, they, they walk in.

More with kind of like problems. They walk in saying I’m overwhelmed. They walk in saying, no, the culture is a problem, but actually what they’re not doing is they’re not coming forward with one simple initiative that they could begin owning. That would make a huge difference. When you do that, it starts to change.

I remember our organization, we were working on a horrendous project that put a lot of people on mental health leave. Uh, when I was working in one of my previous organizations [00:20:00] and. Um, and they also decided that our project, it had nothing to do with this, but in addition to this horrendous internal software project, we were going to be the first ones to test the brand new Microsoft office suite, which was significantly different from the previous suites and, and, um, It was overwhelming for everybody.

I put my hand up and said, you know what? I think I know enough about this, that I could actually do some lunch and learns. So I started doing lunch and learns and showing people neat tricks that you could do with the software that created efficiency. It’s just, you had to think differently about it then how you thought about it now, right?

It wasn’t dropdown menus. It was using the ribbon that created such a sense of significance. Um, for them and for me that it, it kind of ease thing. So I think you have to go in specifically with things that you’d like to try and test and trial. So folks, that’s your imperfect inspired action for this week.

Looking forward to connecting with you next week, when we are going to talk [00:21:00] about a bar flexibility, being the new currency, it’s our goal to build a global community of inspired action takers, and we can only do that with your help. So if you love inspired action, please leave a review. Favorite podcasting app and share a signer socials you’ve heard from us.

Now we want to hear from you go to inspired action and tell us what is the inspired action you took this week next week on inspired action for imperfect humans. This is really important Kyle because. I, I really think when we talked flexibility, people are only thinking in terms of their time, but there’s so much more to it than that.