Company Culture Leaders Letter Newsletter Leadership

Leaders Letter 138 – David Siegel 5 Questions

Dear Leaders, this week I ask five questions to David Siegel. David is the CEO of & led Meetup through the pandemic, for a company that is built around connection and real-life community you can imagine the hugely negative impact and the fight for survival David and his team went through and how they bounced back, through brilliant and deliberate leadership.

David’s book is an essential read, it is my essential company culture books to reads, I also buy it for my exec coaching clients and when I run workshops I enforce the exec team to read Decide & Conquer: 44 Decisions That Make or Break All Leaders.

Onto the Q&A, this is fascinating and brilliant.

Q1. You led Meetup throughout the pandemic in near-impossible circumstances, what is the biggest lesson you took away as a business (and people) leader? 

When the pandemic hit, Meetup faced an existential crisis that could have destroyed our 18-year-old company. Until then, the focus of our business had always been about bringing people together IRL (in real life) to make connections.  When COVID-19 hit, we had to ask ourselves whether our mission was more about meeting IRL or about fostering connections. Our answer was clear: we are a connections company. For the first time in our history, we allowed groups to meet online. And it was so fortunate that we did. Online Meetup events and groups helped millions of our members get through the most isolating periods of pandemic. 

I won’t downplay how rocky that period was. Running a company called “Meetup” in a time when no one was meeting was a tremendous challenge.  We saw decreases in many key metrics including the number of events on our platform and event RSVPs, which negatively impacted our revenue. As a leader, my focus was on transparency. If the company had challenges, my job was to address those challenges head-on so we could find solutions. Building trust during a crisis by sharing the good, bad, and ugly was critical. The crisis is behind us, but our culture of trust and transparency will continue to strengthen the company.

Q2. You wrote brilliantly about your 44 decisions to make and break all leaders, which one do you feel are the most important to start with? 

First, thank you. Of all my decisions for new and seasoned leaders, I think I need to start with what I call “Decision 0,” which is deciding whether you should take the job in the first place. 

One of the most hazardous biases in decision making is the sunk cost fallacy. This is the tendency for people to be biased toward actions because they overvalue the time, money, or other investment they’ve “sunk” into an action. Most of us don’t appreciate that this time spent preparing for anything is gone. Our job is to make the best decision we can. People are often reluctant to reject a job offer after they invested so much time in interviewing. The fact is, the time spent interviewing is gone and it has no bearing on whether the job is a good fit.  

Before I became the CEO of Meetup, I went through no less than 27 interviews with WeWork (our corporate owner), followed by meetings with every Meetup vice president. After three months and hundreds of hours of interviews, it would have been easy to accept the position based on my time commitment alone, but I knew that time was gone. I needed to make a decision based on the facts about the role and the company I’d be working with, and I strongly considered not accepting the role in the first place. 

I caution all leaders (and even non-leaders) to make the right decision for you and not be influenced by how much time was spent leading up to a decision.

Q3. The power of community is a key message throughout your book, what do you think CEOs (and their leadership teams) should truly understand about community and then embracing community into their business? 

Hundreds of studies have found that community is one of the most important elements to both a happy work life and personal life. Yet, having a strong sense of community is also on the decline in nearly every country and age demographic. Early humans relied on community to survive and the need for community is hard-coded in us.

Meetup is the ultimate source for building community, whether it’s personal or professional. Many companies—IBM, Microsoft, Google, etc.—use Meetup to enhance their communities and build user networks. Community drives employee retention, motivation, collaboration and ultimately results in greater success. As more companies move to remote work, the importance of community is becoming more evident. It is incumbent on every leader to incorporate community building into their business.

Q4. What are your three leadership non-negotiables for your exec leadership team? 

First, no assholes. The members of my executive team are all kind people. We spend more time working with colleagues than we do our spouses in some cases. I only want to work with high integrity, empathetic individuals. Life is too short to do otherwise.

Second, they must have a data-driven approach. Leaders shouldn’t ignore their instincts when making a decision, but we always need to look at what the data tells us. We need data to size gauge the impact, priority, and opportunity of any choice.

Last, I look for the ability to embrace change. Leadership requires adaptability. And if a leader is not flexible then they won’t be able to steer the ship for their team during times of crisis. The ability to listen and change one’s approach based on data and experience is one of my top priorities when looking for a leader.

Q5. How has your professorship at Columbia university helped you to develop your leadership? 

I’ve always believed that when you teach you have the greatest opportunity to learn. For nearly ten years, I have been teaching undergraduates at Pace University and then graduate students at Columbia in the entrepreneurship and strategic planning program. My former students have gone on to found startups that have helped millions of people around the globe. Having even a small impact on their path to success is incredibly enriching. One of the reasons I wrote Decide & Conquer was due to my interest in helping people beyond the 70 students in my class. The book has now been read by more than 15,000 people and is being translated into Chinese and other languages. I consider the book to be an extension of the concepts we learn in class. I’m incredibly fortunate to have the opportunities to teach and learn that I do.


Go and have a great week and I’d love to hear from you about how you are going to take inspiration from David moving forward.


Danny Denhard

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Company Culture Leadership

The Corporate Buzzword Bingo Card 2023

Each year we adopt new words, new corporate jargon and buzzwords that we end up bringing into the business, not just being used but often many internal jokes made from the words we use and the style we say them in.

The 2023 corporate jargon card includes many that will be used in the boardroom, across multiple slack and team chats and often in leadership meetings, AOP and QBR meetings.

Read more: The Corporate Buzzword Bingo Card 2023

The new words for 2023:

  • Economic headwinds
  • Low performers
  • Macroeconomics
  • Microeconomics
  • Quiet Quitting
  • Return to the office aka RTO

Have fun and remember to share in your slack or teams (copy and paste –

Company Culture Leaders Letter Newsletter

Leaders Letter 135 – 5 Leadership Team Questions To Develop On Top Of For Q1 2023 (Free Template)

Dear leaders, this week’s leadership quest is for me to get you to think differently and answer five questions you have unlikely thought of or ask yourself or your leadership team. 

These are specifically designed with my focus 2P’s in mind, people aka culture and performance aka strategy and designed for you to go deep into these areas, not just scratch the surface like most will in one leadership meeting as a tiny agenda item at the end that will be deprioritised.

The issue you are solving by taking this exercise is to make management teams useful and actionable, as well as connecting as a unit again, most won’t until Q1 QBR (quarterly business review). 

So, make your management team meeting or leadership meeting (however you frame at your business) actionable with these questions, answer, actions, owner, and expected result(s) template. 

The Questions:

1. How are we evolving our EQ as a leadership team and within team members? (People aka Culture)




Expected Result(s): 

2. Where are our weaknesses and how do we improve on them to improve people and company performance? (Performance)




Expected Result(s): 

3. What are the 5 most important key performance indicators and how do we discuss these to move us forward? (Performance)




Expected Result(s): 

4. If we were to add one person to the leadership to improve decision-making and our performance, who would it be and why? (Culture)




Expected Result(s): 

5. How do we remove politics from our cross-functional decisions? (Performance




Expected Result(s): 

» Want these questions as a workable template? Click here for a copy.

The business world is going to be harder for most and more challenging most weeks within the MT/SMT/ELT meetings reduce this anxiety and be proactive by answering these 5 questions in a workshop-style session. 

Hint: If you find yourself struggling with question 4, flip the question on its head and think about who you might remove to improve it. 

Thanks and have a great week,

Danny Denhard 

P.S Want to improve your habits, here is a great video from James Clear and Tim Ferriss

Company Culture Leaders Letter Newsletter

Leaders Letter 131 – 5 Questions With Tim Grimes

Dear leaders, this week’s 5 questions are with Tim Grimes, Tim is on a mission to improve work, so embracing and pushing flexible work, hybrid work, and helping companies to facilitate 4-day work weeks

An important workstream that Tim and his company offers is their site offers new filter roles with over 20 different flexible working options.  

Tim’s answers are great and super actionable for the new year. If you are struggling with being flexible and moving to more modern ways of working, Tim’s answers will help you rethink your approach or guide your company forward. 

Q1. You are flying the flag of flexible work and making it work, what are the 3 ways leaders can make flexible work, work? 

  • Transparency: Leadership must be upfront with employees and candidates around flexibility; be it flexi-time, compressed hours, remote working, phased retirement or career breaks. Only once a candidate/employee knows their options, can they make informed choices on whether it’s right for them. It’s also critical that leaders commit to these ways of working; ideally contractually. During the pandemic many organisations bought on new staff under specific flexible circumstances, only to backtrack, which causes retention problems.
  • Individualisation; leaders must remember that flexible work is never one-size-fits-all. Every individual has different circumstances that require someone to work flexibly; for some, it can be a preference; for others, it can be a life circumstance. For myself particularly, it was a life-event that made me realise how important work/life balance is, whereas I’ve haven’t got a requirement such as childcare. Regardless of circumstance, everyone should be treated equally, which creates an inclusive culture, built on trust and autonomy. 
  • Trust & Autonomy: To make flexible policies thrive, leaders must create a culture that’s built on trust and autonomy. Many leaders have a disconnect with their team around productivity, which is primarily due to the lack of trust. 

Q2. Implementing a hybrid working model has been challenging for many businesses; what are your tips for making the most of this model? 

Since pivoting to hybrid working, many companies are still struggling to adapt or have simply failed. And there’s a reason, most organisations have attempted to continue their pre-pandemic 5-day office model into 2-3 days. With teams utilising the office on different days, and workplaces focused on desk space rather than shared space, it’s incredibly difficult to foster a productive and inclusive working culture. However, there’s a way to make it work, something Nick Bloom has built; the seamless hybrid working model: 

  1. Source feedback and data to understand your team’s existing and preferred working patterns (don’t do this company-wide); 
  2. After establishing your team’s working pattern, ensure everyone comes in on the same days; 
  3. Make sure you front-load office days with in-person meetings and events – employees come in for collaboration; 
  4. Promote wider departmental video meetings and ‘deep thinking’ work on remote days; along with building out internal tech resources to bring people together remotely. 
  5. Newer team members should come in an extra day each week / fortnight for mentoring. 

During the limited collaboration days, there’s no point in employees attending the office just to sit on video calls. Companies must focus on collaboration done correctly, and built for the new world of work. 

Q3. What is the one trend you are predicting for 2023 that every leader should be building towards from today? 

In the new world of work, every leader needs to understand the era of adaptable personnel and explore new models of working. 

It’s time to build out nimble and dynamic teams, with individuals working differently; be it part-time, reduced hours or a 4-day week. For example, before hiring, managers need to move beyond the mindset of ‘full-time default’; this allows organisations to access wider and diverse talent pools. 

These different working arrangements provide businesses with lower fixed costs, whilst still giving them the opportunity to grow. Leaders have a duty to become more adaptable & open to new ways of working.
This mentality shift could future-proof many businesses, avoiding layoffs, which ultimately protect the livelihoods of their employees.

Q4. There have been huge numbers of layoffs impacting professionals across the world, what are the most important learnings others can apply to make this period better for both those impacted and those left in their roles? 

Being made redundant can be one of the most challenging periods for anyone, and leadership must treat any period with time and consideration. You can’t and shouldn’t expedite a redundancy process; leadership and management must be given enough time to make educated and informed decisions. 

An example of where this has failed is during the recent Twitter lay-offs; many individuals were laid-off, only to be asked back a few days later.
Once an employee is made redundant, and let-go, loyalty and trust is severed; bringing people back after is incredibly difficult; something that Twitter experienced.  

For those left in their roles, businesses must do more to protect their employees. I personally don’t believe organizations do enough before lay-offs. Businesses and leaders should be continually reviewing their staff to future proof; and before firing, businesses need to give employees the opportunity to work differently before severance. 

Q5. Culture is going to be the most important factor for many looking for a new role or staying in their current role, do you have any advice to make company culture a priority in other businesses?

Many businesses are simply playing the old culture game. Nearly 50% of job seekers cite company culture as their reason for looking for a new role, yet companies are still approaching culture like it’s 2001. Back in 2001, organizations previously focused on soft perks such as gym passes, dog-friendly offices, free lunches, beer Fridays, ping pong tables; the list goes on.

In the new world of work post-pandemic, priorities have shifted and organizations must focus on people, building a culture around principles of flexible working, autonomy, recognition and trust. 

Employee Growth Culture is about a human value proposition; not giving employees things. If businesses invest in culture correctly, they’ll see a happier, more productive workforce.

Want to get in touch with Tim, get in touch below: 

On WorkYourWay site // Email Tim // or Tim shares regularly on LinkedIn and are always insightful and actionable. 

Leaders, go and have a great week and consider how you will roll out Tim’s recommendations for the weeks ahead.  

Thanks and speak next week,

Danny Denhard – On a mission to fix the broken world of work

Struggling to understand some of the core topics, here are some invaluable resources:

Company Culture

The Nine Actions To Take Straight After Layoffs And Redundancies 

Layoffs and redundancies are incredibly hard for staff, managers and leadership teams.

Here are nine actions to take to improve company culture, create a new company identity and importantly, reset company performance.


Create new priorities for everyone to follow, and acknowledge that old goals will be hard to hit and old priorities will have to be reshaped. 

Ensure prioritisation is set across the company, rolled over cross-functionally and importantly understood and brought into at department and then down to team level and is essentially easy to understand.  

Recreate Psychological Safety 

When there are layoffs you remove many people’s safety and often you remove their support and professional networks. 

Psychological safety has to be reset and you have to communicate how you will ensure the business is going to look at those who are left and why the future is going to be about collaboration and ensuring the teams are in a good place to support each other and you as the business (and business leader) will support them. 

New Buddy System

Introduce a new buddy system, you will help many people connect to new colleagues and reconnect to those who they may have had small work projects with. 

Help colleagues to connect and support each other. This will take an owner and encouragement from both management and the teams.  

Organise Regular Get-Togethers 

Sounds obvious but often is not easy, humans have survival baked into them and often look for a leader or an organiser to arrange get-togethers. What most companies have lost is the ability to organise and encourage people to eat together. Ensuring colleagues get around the campfire to eat and discuss will help to reconnect and share moments together. 

Remember: Your company culture will need to be rebuilt and new foundations need to be set, this is your opportunity to create a better work environment. 

Re-Onboard To The Team And To The Company

What most companies failed to do in the mass return to the office with hybrid working environments is to build a new onboarding to the company, to the “office” and help people remember what the space is for and how to collaborate. 

It is important to know your company is now different and will operate differently and how you communicate and reinforce this is key to win. 

Ensure you build a new onboarding journey so everyone goes through the same onboarding experience so it is shared and can be discussed as a group, not comparing their onboarding versus someone else.

Acknowledge Who You Were And Who We Are Now And What Identity You Will Be Taking On

There is a new identity you and your business are adopting, this identity is important as your people will need to opt-in and select if they wear the new uniform, adopt the new flag and fight for their refreshed company. 

Celebrate A Small Win Quickly 

The quickest and smartest way to reconnect with your team is to celebrate small wins and celebrate a relatively trivial win as quickly as possible, this can be people based or can be performance-based. 

You should create a new standard of wins and know the team should call out these behaviours and feel empowered to call out and celebrate the wins together. If you are in the position to, create a small budget to reward your team, whether that is a Starbucks card to buy hot drinks together, a small lunch together or individual rewards.  

Remove Noise! 

Unfortunately, when there is uncertainty there are rumours and gossip that spreads throughout organisations, this will naturally occur every few days unless you proactively remove the noise and intentionally communicate what is happening, why this is happening and how we are going to win together moving forward. 

Create A Decision Document  

Help everyone understand how decisions are made and why these decisions were made and what success looks like. This is for the d-team (whether this is the executive team, senior leadership team or c-suite or much wider org) to update and share with colleagues each time there is an important decision made. 

Download the decision document template

Run An Ideation Session 

Ideas are often the last thing that department leads think of to reconnect with their team members. New ideas or revisiting old ideas helps to spark new opportunities and provides a framework to move forward collectively. 

The art is to collect the ideas and then actually agree to reprioritise all working campaigns and where applicable to include the new ideas. 

Co-Create The New Identity Of Your Team Group  

Question and create what are three pillars moving forward to help everyone make the right decisions and help to create a high safety, high-performance environment.

Without a new identity for the group to buy into and pillars to guide them you will experience a lot of what it used to be versus what it is now and for the near future.  

Remember the past is always going to be the anchor for the team to work from, it is important to readdress this anchoring bias and create a brand new identity to build around. 

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Company Culture Leaders Letter Newsletter

Leaders Letter 125 – Company Culture Lessons From Apple, Burberry, Google, And Uber

Dear Leaders, today I want to share tips and lessons directly from leaders from Burberry, Apple, Google and Uber. 

The Backstory: At the recent Masters of Scale Summit, there was a roundtable discussion that was shared as a podcast, it featured Former Burberry and Apple Leader Angela Ahrendts, Uber’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi & Former CEO, then Chairman of Google Eric Schmidt. 

Three powerhouses all share their experiences that can help to change leadership behaviours to positively change the business around you. 

Below are my takeaways, I do strongly recommend you listen (embedded below) yourself as there are some real nuggets in here that will apply to your business specifically: 

Angela Ahrendts Culture Lessons & Tips: While at Apple and Burberry: 

  • Being authentic – demonstrating that work and life go hand in hand (a great story of when her daughter calls her in the middle of her first video message to the Apple team)
  • Going against the grain was difficult but essential when at Apple, one learning Anglea took from Burberry to Apple was often you have to go against old traits or behaviours to make real change within an organisation. 
  • Document culture in onboarding – responsibilities doc and report is essential to show how you work and act 

Dara Khosrowshahi Culture Lessons & Tips At Uber & Their Turnaround: 

  • Culture must be listened to but your identity has to be strong and enforced
  • People opt-in – they are default opt-out, to get everyone together they have to decide to opt-in 
  • You have to understand that face time and being seen to live and drive the culture change in a turnaround business like Uber (which had to reconstruct its culture) is so important, especially when you feel like you are forcing it 
  • There is a massive difference between management and leadership (leading with vision) – many managers will never be leaders 

Eric Schmidt Culture Lessons & Tips While at Novell & Google 

  • Having the right partners and partnerships is vitally important – it helped to drive $12m in revenue when a tech worker moved into his office (when he was CEO at Google) when Eric wasn’t there much (well worth listening to the story on audio)
  • Learn to understand the existing culture before implementing the change or inviting people to 30-minute meetings without an agenda (people might think they are being fired as that was the culture of non-agenda 30-minute meetings)
  • Hiring the smartest people isn’t enough, you have to guide them and then get out of their way – this is where I often disagree, culture has to be shaped and then ensure it is followed especially by influential people, when they are treated slightly differently when you are either deemed the smartest or best at what you do within the business, no a-hole behaviour should be tolerated. 

One main section that stood out for me was “permission to guide the culture” was something everyone agreed on.  This is my challenge to how to shape company cultures in most organisations whatever size you operate. 

Most of what you have likely heard me say in leaders letters over the last two years has been you have to create the company culture by creating the right environments to help to create the company compass for everyone to follow and ensuring everyone understands how to make the right decisions and act in the right ways to then be rewarded for the right behaviours. 

If you do not pair company culture and company strategy, culture will become a second-class citizen and become an afterthought, then an agenda item that is often deprioritised. In almost every business culture is being ripped apart from people leaving the business, from reducing headcount and making operational efficiencies that many cannot, unfortunately, explain away from a 9-box matrix. 

Often by suggesting you need permission to guide the company it suggests you need permission from everyone to do this, when there is no compass and no rights and wrongs formally outlined, often you have to create these and then adapt as you evolve. Very often the hardest and most challenging decisions by leaders are the people-first decisions and taking that first step to reshape how your business strategy can operate with internal customers (your people) as an essential pillar of your business. 

Listen and read the full transcript: 

Have a great week and allow some of these big companies’ stories to shape how you might be planning a change for the end of this year and into next year.


Danny Denhard

Essential Follow On Culture & Leadership Reading

Company Culture

10 Lessons To Teach In Hiring Freezes & Headcount Reductions

Right now many businesses are freezing headcount and many have had to reduce their headcount by a significant amount.

Here are ten important lessons to help your business progress while it might feel like you cannot do anything proactive within your business, from interview training, to introducing proven frameworks and improving company culture.

  1. Interview Training – improve the department’s ability to interview and encourage the team to interview each other. This will improve skills and enable colleagues to get to know each other
  2. Introduce Management Pods – Improve management teams by introducing rotating management pods, connect small groups of managers and department leads to problem solve and tackle challenges together
  3. Improve Problem Solving – Introduce frameworks and templates to help address and reduce internal issues. One problem two solutions framework is the most popular free framework on Focus and will help your team tackle problems in an open way
  4. Create Two Up Two Across Matrix – Most managers and companies struggle to map out their team members’ career paths, creating the next two steps up or their side steps (helping members know they could become a Product Manager from Marketing or making the move from an expert to the management track is imperative)
  5. Improve Culture With Agreed Department Principles – many departments do not clearly define their sub-culture and do not clearly call out the right behaviours to be rewarded and the bad behaviours that won’t be tolerated
  6. Learn Good Management Traits – Following on from good management traits, learn what traits you and the team like from the department lead and what bad traits you have to remove
  7. Improve Pros and Cons with The Risk Vs Benefits Framework – Pros and cons is often considered the best way of breaking down issues or opportunities, optimise this with the Risk vs benefits, explaining why and think more deeply on nuanced matters
  8. Improve Internal Communications – the core lesson: Short powerful messages + repetition + simple analogies (+ repetition)  = internal communication wins (Never ever over communicate!)
  9. Have More Coaches & Mentors – Remove the stigma around mentors and coaches and look to develop your colleagues with mentorship and repurpose bad L&D practices like going to bad conferences to hiring more coaches.
  10. Review Your Managers Reviews – Quarterly performance reviews from staff members to their managers often stops at their manager reviewing it and often not progressing the advice. One way to remove this bad practice is to ensure the department leads and leader of the business reviews the peer-to-peer and managers’ reviews

Obvious But Always Overlooked Lessons: The most obvious many do not teach is budget management and how to put business cases together to succeed within your business.

Good luck and take this opportunity to grow your people and your business.

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Company Culture

How To Manage Introverts On Your Team

The brilliant Anxious Achiever podcast host Morra Aarons-Mele (an introvert herself) provides a number of invaluable recommendations on managing and empowering introverts on your team:

From The FT Working It Podcast

Tips Provided By Morra & FT’s Kesewa Hennessy:

  1. Remove Meeting Stacking: Remove the demand to do meetings back to back, remove the demand for being on camera (aka reducing mirror anxiety ) and reduce the demand to perform on camera
  2. Stop Shaming Quiet Team Members: Stop naming and shaming introverted members who rarely speak in meetings
  3. Run Better Meetings: Structure your meetings, have an agenda and reduce the demand for loud voices in real-time meetings
  4. Enable Early Opinions: Encourage and embrace introverts (and ambiverts) early in the meetings and encourage more discussion in writing and asynchronously
  5. Recovery Time: Enable introverts to recover their energy while working from home
  6. Encourage Colleagues: to uncover the qualities of introverts (and ambiverts) within your team and encourage these colleagues to be involved in other ways than just speaking within a meeting
  7. Embrace Culture: Each workplace culture is different but that’s what makes your company unique and offers a chance to embrace different colleagues with different personality types. Embrace this and lead by example with this in mind.

Important Resources To Help Improve Management

The FT working it podcast is available on all of the podcast players and full listings of their pod can be found here

Company Culture

The Best Company Culture Books To Read 

Company culture is something so many companies are attempting to reprioritise in today’s micro and macroeconomic climate. 

While many companies are struggling with balancing the company’s needs, the stagnation of performance and ensuring their people are not burning out while a large demand on their performance, it is essential you are planning for the future and improving company culture. 

Here is the definitive list of the eight best books I have read and implemented for developing company culture, with why you should read the book and provide you with a supporting video link to help you get a feel for the book in under an hour for the book. 

Hard Things About Hard Things – Ben Horowitz 

Type Of Culture Promoted: Bureaucratic 

Why Read? Venture Captial leader Ben Horowitz book is a deepdive into making hard decisions as a leader and highlights how as a leader communication is paramount and your role as a leader is making the hard decisions and being real with your company as a leader and this fosters the best culture possible. 

Video Teaser

No Rules Rules – Erin Meyer & Reed Hastings

Type Of Culture Promoted: Bureaucratic

Why Read? Netflix culture deck was the document many companies copied to create their own culture. All of Reed’s lessons, the hard decisions and the ruthless mission for brilliance and candour are told in easy-to-consume stories. It’s not a book on how to build, it’s how to think different and provides insights into the flexible frameworks and decisions made by Netflix execs to foster the culture they demanded. 

Video Teaser

Read Focus’ no rules rules review.

The Art Of Gathering – Priya Parker

Type Of Culture Promoted: Intentionality  

Why Read? Priya Parker offers great insights into why intentional meetings in all forms of life are essential and why without strict guidance humans are not engineered to dislike unguided meetings/gatherings. Personally, I recommend this book for anyone who leads people and is operationally weak or naive and fails their team by allowing no or weak agendas. 

Video Teaser

The Five Dysfunctions Of A Team – Patrick Lencioni

Type Of Culture Promoted: Commitment Culture  

Why Read? Patrick Lencioni and the Table Group are known for their forward-thinking and easy-to-consume leadership style and people-first performance approach to company development. The five dysfunctions go through The Table Group’s ideology around leaders’ lead, knowing that conflict can be healthy if the muscle memory is built and maintained as a healthy occurrence and everyone is brought into their role with commitment and ownership of outcomes. 

Remember teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability” – Patrick Lencioni.

Video Teaser

Turn The Ship Around – L. David Marquet

Type Of Culture Promoted: Commitment Culture 

Why Read? This is a brilliant book telling you how David Marquet turned around the worst performing boat into the best performing boat by changing how the boat communicated, flipped only the leader shouting orders to trust being shared throughout the boat by flipping language (“I intend to” x is a great reminder how language can be so powerful when making important decisions). A must-read for any senior leader. 

Video Teaser

“Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility” – Patty McCord

Type Of Culture Promoted: Commitment Culture

Why Read? Patty was an early HR lead at Netlfix and despite leaving earlier in the journey Patty shares why radical honesty is so important within high-performing teams and why freedom and responsibility work so well when everyone knows their role and the expected outputs. This book will help you to reshape your business if you can build resilience within the business and can trust the middle management to buy into and promote honesty and allow freedom across their teams. 

Video Teaser

Decide and Conquer – David Siegel 

Type Of Culture Promoted: Commitment Culture

Why Read? David Siegel is the CEO of and is a leader who helped to turn around meetup in the middle of covid and pivot their business in what would have killed many other similar business. David takes you through 44 decisions that will Make or Break All Leaders but have to teach your teams and then adopting within your business with deliberate steps forward. David doesn’t hold back and is frank throughout the book about how difficult it can be to be a leader and make positive change. David promotes open communication, disagreements and tension will help to improve your business, why transparency across the business is key but will be challenging and why kindness (not niceness) will prevail if you build up better and intentional focus. 

Video Teaser

Rebel Ideas – Matthew Syed 

Type Of Culture Promoted: Commitment Culture  

Why Read? Matthew Syed writing is always thought-provoking and something that leaders will need to dedicate time to read, note and consume. Rebel Ideas is full of deliberate questions and examples of different approaches and driving you to encourage collaboration and embrace diverse thinking. Syed highlights a huge number of known issues many leadership teams do not address, important 3 areas to ponder now (1) Dominance dynamic – the flow of information and lack of flow (2) the ignorance towards status games and hierarchy and (3) the wisdom of the crowd but why businesses are often set up for us vs them rather than embracing coaction. This is the book I gift leaders the most and highly recommend you form a book club around your business leadership team. 

Video Teaser

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Company Culture Leaders Letter Newsletter

Leaders Letter 112 – How do we work together to be successful? 

Dear leaders, the title of this week’s newsletter is simple. 

How do we work together to be successful? 

It is something that is rarely discussed and I believe is often the one missing part of conversations between colleagues and mostly between managers and their direct reports. 

In almost every working relationship I have had, there are a few questions I ask that enable you to build trust and understand each other quickly.

Three of my favourite questions I ask are: 

  1. How do you like to communicate? 
  2. What’s the best way for you to receive updates and how often?  
  3. Are you about the macro or the micro? 

These three questions will open up their working styles and help you to understand how you should communicate with them. 

Don’t be surprised if some people like the ‘micro’ and micromanagement, it is the one area we all think we hate, however, many know this is how they are going to be successful in their job.

Following these questions, it is important to say how you like to work and how you will or should provide updates. 

Common ground is essential, especially the more senior you become and work seems more politically charged

Hybrid Complexities: In a hybrid work world, we are going to see face-to-face become a real challenge unless you have set days, however, it is important that face-to-face can be replaced with video or audio calls (and likely should be if calendar conflicts). Slack or teams channels are noise that should be cut down and you leverage decision documents and more asynchronous work styles. 

Scale? An important note, communication styles and updates don’t scale very well if you have a direct reporting line of over 20 as it becomes a juggle versus being effective and making sure the comms lands as best as possible. 

Shared To Win: This is where department principles will work great for you as a department lead. 

Over the next week and if you are in a place where you are hiring and backfilling roles, ask these three questions and build out a better, more effective working style. 

Thanks and have a great week. 

Danny Denhard

Three Articles To Be Inspired By:

Should businesses remove chat apps like teams and slack? 

Can you be inspired by Spotify’s fully remote working style?

Are you embracing the digital presence?