I recently lost a project I was really excited about with a leader I really wanted to work with. I lost it not because they didn’t like our thinking. Not because we weren’t a good fit. Not because of price. I lost it because there was one aspect of how the work had to be done that went against my values, and I stood firm on my values.

The values issue was nothing dramatic. I still deeply admire this leader and would jump at the chance for a future collaboration. In fact, the two of us — as individuals —…

Do you lead a company, division, function, or team? Do you have or participate in a culture? Are you a human? If so, this article is for you!

In just 3 easy steps, I will teach you how to master culture to drive your organization to new heights in 2 weeks! Just kidding. There are no easy steps. But I do think this article will give you a powerful way to think about culture so you can lead your organization to achieve its highest aspirations.

I’ve written about culture in various articles over the years. But since culture is one…

So…2020. Am I right? A year so fucked up it actually made us miss 2019. Which was no banner year either.

  • If 2020 was a cheese, it would be squirted out of a can.
  • If it was a car, it would be the Chevy Corvair (look it up young people!).
  • 2020 was that cake you spent an hour making only to find out you used salt instead of sugar.
  • 2020 was that moment when you’ve delayed doing laundry and you’re down to your last pair of underwear. Yeah, that one. …

Yes, the headline is true. No clickbait here! A consultancy actually took their own advice and the space-time continuum did not implode!

The background

Over the past 10 years, my work has been about helping organizations identify and articulate what they uniquely stand for so they can bravely live those ideas in their culture and in the world.

Four years ago, I started Rule No. 1 to continue that work but with a greater emphasis on bringing purpose and values to life through behavior and culture.

We advise our clients to start by identifying and articulating a specific set of foundational ideas:

  • Purpose: Why they exist — the impact they feel compelled to have on the world
  • Values: What they care deeply…

It’s hard to tell where we are in the course of this pandemic and the reinvigorated movement to promote racial justice. And clearly, progress differs wildly from one place to the next — even in different parts of the same country.

But it does seem that economies are switching back on.

Your organization is probably past the initial stage of simply trying to keep your head above water day by day.

Hopefully, you have the time to reflect on the crisis and what you are learning — so that you can build a renewed, more resilient, and even more purpose-led…

We all know there’s an entire category at work — departments, topics, tasks — that’s the soft stuff. Stuff that’s hard to define, hard to measure, hard to track, and has questionable impact.

I’m here to defend the soft stuff.

I’m here to say that as squishy as finance and sales can be, they still matter, and we should still treat them as a critical part of what happens at work.

Let’s explore a bit to see why the soft stuff matters. …

A call for genuine human relationships at work

In my experience, many people in business act as if the people they have relationships with at work are from an entirely different species or planet than the people they have relationships with outside of work.

Said more simply, too many people engage in behavior with humans at work that they know would be ineffective, or even crazy, in their personal lives.

Let me share an example so you get a sense of what I’m talking about.

For the purpose of this example please assume you’ve got a significant other, a few…

Like all of us, you’re probably busy now trying to keep your head above water in your personal and professional life. The last thing you need is yet one more article with mundane tips for working at home or breathless predictions about how the future of absolutely everything is going to change forever.

You won’t get any of that here.

Instead, we’d like to offer a reminder of some timeless ideas — ways of thinking and leading that have always mattered, that were becoming more of a focus before COVID, and that will continue to occupy a place at the…

If you’re a friend of mine, then you know I make my living helping companies achieve their fullest potential by being truly distinctive.

Basically, I help clients build, manage, and grow brands. That said, I’m always reluctant to say I’m in the brand business, because the term “brand” has become almost meaningless these days.

People use it to mean anything from the very concrete like a logo or slogan to the very abstract like a positioning or brand strategy. And if I’m being really honest (and I am), I think the concept of “brand” has mostly outlived its usefulness. I…

I’ve been seeing increasing grumpiness coming from the internet lately about purpose—usually in the form of a straw man or red herring.

Some common objections and misconceptions

  • Purpose is a new (and odd) fad
  • Purpose is something you can declare without having to take meaningful and difficult steps to live it
  • It’s just aspirational (someone has got to tell me why people think it’s ok to use “aspirational” as a pejorative)
  • Purpose is about altruism—and therefore not relevant to commercial enterprises
  • It’s only real if done with purity and perfection
  • Purpose by itself won’t solve all your problems
  • It’s called…

Adam Schorr

Passionately in search of people who are themselves

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