Organisational Culture is such an important aspect of strategic and tactical execution… BUT how many managers or leaders understand the dynamics and impacts on employee behaviors, attitudes and performance.

I recently came across the BRAVE Cultural Approach. This simplifies a leaders’ or managers’ perspective into the big melting pot of organisational Culture manageement, creation, assessments and influence.


BRAVE Cultural Framework

BRAVE encapsulates components of culture including the way people create

  • Behaviors
  • Relate,
  • Attitudse,
  • Values & Beliefs,
  • Environment workspace


  • Behave: The way people act, make decisions, control the business, etc.
  • Relate: The way people communicate with each other (including mode, manner, frequency, and disagreement), engage in intellectual debate, manage conflict, credit and blame, etc. (1)
  • Attitude: How people feel about and identify with the organization, its purpose, and its stakeholders, etc. A big part of this comes through in individual and organizations’ sense of commitment to what they are doing.
  • Values: People’s underlying beliefs, principles, approach to learning, risk, time horizons, etc.
  • Environment: The way people approach the work environment in terms of formality/informality, preferred office layout, etc. In the end, a BRAVE culture is one that is ready to change in terms of will and skill.

This is why we’re all new leaders all the time and must continually inspire and enable others to do their absolute best, together, to realize a meaningful and rewarding shared purpose, leveraging five questions across Behaviors, Relationships, Attitudes, Values, and Environment (BRAVE):

  1. Where play?
  2. What matters?
  3. How win?
  4. How connect?
  5. What impact?


Looking at the Leadership attention required for the organisational Culture components. Sratring from the Environment first



As a leader, you must also understand the business context in which you’re operating  and interpret and create a positive, engaging, empowering context for others to success too, Today’s workplace environment is filled with pressure, stress, uncertainty and danger, so make sure you understand all the risks and opportunities both outside and inside your team and organization.



What is the CEO’s / leaders real job?  Consider that the #1  function CEO/Leader is to fullt embrace, own, clarify, enable  and drive the company’s vision and values (Destiny, Cause and Calling). For Optimum impact and engagement, challenged-happiness is a great place to begin. For most people this involves a combination of  MEANING…doing good for others, VALUE… doing good for themselves and MASTERY… doing things they are good at.

It is imperative for a leader to define the value you will create and the principles you will follow aling the adventure to get there.


Business Strategy is about making intelligent sense of signals and smart choices. You must decide..

  • Where you are going to focus your efforts
  • How you are going to process and win
  • Why this is Important and Vital
  • Where you are not going to focus.

Marry that with the appropriate approach and posture. Market Domination requires a long-term perspective and actions and strong ongoing discipline. Success in a niche like requires responsiveness, flexibility and sensitvity. Innovation like Apple requires a relentless passion, commitment and investment to keep one step ahead of everyone – on an ongoing basis.



Everything you do or don’t say, act on, listen to and observe communicates about you.  As an effective leader you must choose a single, simplifying message intentionally and purposefully and leverage it in all your communications, building and strengthening relationships along the path. If you let people interpret and misinterpret things as they see fit and allow the grapevine to prevail above your leadership signals.. you have a problem.


Workplace Environment, Peoples values, Existing attitude and prevailing relationships all inform and impact behaviors. You lead with Walking-your-talk, with what you DO, rather than with what you SAY.

Leaders are defined by  followers.  The best way for you to achieve your organisational outcomes and vision, in line with the agreed values, in the cpmetitive terrain and context you choose, is through the BAR…Behaviors- Attitude – Relationships  you engender in your followers – as they follow your role-model. At the end of the day you need to get your EGo out of the way… Who is it about really?  Your answer will define who you are… Egotist or … Enable  and servant of the BRAVE.



It’s the context that makes it so hard to duplicate a winning culture. Because every organization’s environment is different, matching someone else’s behaviors, relationships, attitudes, and values will not produce the same culture.


As you work to evolve your culture, focus on attitudes. There’s a strong case to be made that IBM‘s near death experience was a result of a bad attitude. It thought it was the best. It thought its customers needed it more than it needed its customers. It stopped being flexible. The big thing Lou Gerstner did  as an effective leader was reversing that negative, unhealthy IBM staff attitude. Behaviors and relationships followed.

More recently, we’ve seen the same thing at Hewlett-Packard. It started believing its own myths and lost the congruence between strategy and posture. Any CEO can only be sustainably successful if…. they are able to change the organization’s attitude and behaviours.

Be careful about how you engage with the organization’s existing business context and culture. Crossing the need for change based on the context and the cultural readiness for change can help you decide whether to Assimilate, Converge and Evolve (fast or slow), or Shock.


Leaders have as much “responsible opportunity” to generate employee engagement throughout their businesses as anyone. Keep in mind, that a leader can operate at any level, in any position within an organization. Whether bearing a title of authority or just the ability to influence others, a leader can promote the culture of engagement.

Here are 5 ways business leaders can promote engagement among employees:

Ready, steady attention to management An effectively engaging business employs a philosophy of management that focuses on seeing that employees engage in what they do, rather than just do it. An effective leader dedicates her attention to how thoroughly and how well managers develop their employees with focus on engagement.

Ready, steady communication w/ managers In addition to observing the performance of managers as regards engaging their employees, a leader keeps up continuous communication with those managers. This communication is conceptual as well as tactical. The leader seeks information as to the manager’s perceptions and measurements of leadership. The leader provides resources to the manager to stimulate greater engagement efforts.

Demonstrate leadership-by-engagement Engagement demonstrated by leadership stimulates employees’ appreciation that engagement is part of the business culture. A leader should not only lead the organization but also give evidence that he supports the practices of employee engagement as fundamental to the culture..

Observe engagement in competitive businesses Gathering and communicating knowledge from competitors serves the leader, the employees, and the business itself. If a leader truly desires her organization to engage  and achieve greater success, she makes time and effort to study competitors and learn how they achieve such success.

Observe engagement in different industries Taking that knowledge to a higher level, the leader looks outside the industry to study successful engagement. By understanding how dissimilar businesses achieve higher levels of engagement (and so, higher levels of success), a creative leader adapts that information to innovative engagement practices in her business.





Let’s begin with five ways an executive can promote engagement by employees. (The executive is defined as having administrative, supervisory power over an organization.)

Articulating culture. A dynamic business culture embraces employee engagement as contributing to success. A business that merely attempts engagement efforts on an as-needed basis is less successful. The powerful executive articulates how, what and why engaged employees are critical to the business culture. She conveys the message to her leaders, her managers, and her employees.

Being visibly engaged. Employees should clearly see executives engage in directing the business. A steady stream of communication — spoken, written, video’d —  provides this visibility. This may seem accountability, but it is more accurately imprintability. This imprints the desired culture — engagement — in employees’ minds.

Talking engagement within. The more the executive talks about engaged employees — their actions, their successes, their contributions — the more engagement is understood as a root element within the business culture. Words, stories, examples of engagement  within the business should flow continually from the executive. Talking engagement without. As well, the executive should speak of the business’s engaged employees to investors, shareholders, customers, and community members. Demonstrating the power of employee engagement to the outside world reflects pride back to the employees and creates a victorious cycle of increased engagement.

Regularly reviewing cultural reality. The executive must never take his eyes off the specifics of the business culture. Every business adjusts continually to changing realities of economy, market, customer, and employee. Slight adaptations of the culture of engagement, when required, allow that culture to remain strongly active and generate ongoing success.



Fraser Marlow,
VP Research & Marketing, BlessingWhite



5 Ways Managers Create More Engaged Employees

“It’s not up to the manager!” (???)

At the tail end of yesterday’s teleseminar (Employee Engagement: Increasing Satisfaction and Motivation during Tough Times), a participant asked me, “What can I say to a manager who feels it’s up to the employee to be engaged, it’s part of the job expectation that the employee be engaged, and that it’s not up to the manager!?”

I was tempted to answer, “Reposition or just replace that manager!”

Instead I considered that maybe, just maybe, that manager just wants some ideas about how to increase engagement among his/her employees.

So whether you have that type manager or not, here are 5 ways you and your manager can boost your employees’ eagerness to engage in their work:

Communication: the more (and the more often) managers talk with their employee, the more the employee feels appreciated, cared for, and valuable. Those feelings create the motivation to engage.

Behavior Model. Every employee, from the new-hire to the most seasoned veteran, keeps an eye on his manager for cues and clues to behavior. It’s logically better when he sees the manager’s full engagement as the behavior to emulate.

Mentoring/coaching. Professional improvement is everyone’s desire. Fear of the unknown and fear of failure sometimes block that desire. The manager who takes on a little mentoring or coaching (and who creates a program involving others as mentors and coaches!) helps wipe out that barrier.

Respect.Anyone works more willingly (aka, engages) when she knows her work, her effort, her person are respected. The simple signs of respect knowledge of an employee’s background, education, experience.

Personal Appreciation.This takes the above Respect to a slightly more personal level. It never hurts to say, “Happy Birthday!” for example. On the correct date, of course.