Communication shapes culture.

Some workplace cultures are so toxic that the rank-and-file require gas masks.

The leaders hid behind their manipulated data and their posturing and their $5,000 suits.

Let’s go back to when Alan Mulally became CEO of Ford Motor Corp. Alan had to re-shape the way his lieutenants treated and spoke with one another. He had to reshape their language and set a new emotional tone for his leadership team. At the time, Ford’s culture was toxic and back-stabbing. All anybody was really concerned about was looking good in front of others, and people would throw their colleague under the bus if it made their division look good. Alan brought in his leadership lessons from his decades at Boeing and saw right away that he needed to instill structure and discipline into Ford, two key features its executive team lacked. Due to such massive, widespread lying and misinformation, Alan had to demand honesty in the way the executives spoke at the Business Plan Review meetings each Thursday. He not only demanded it, he encouraged it, he embodied it. And when an executive finally showed some negative news about his division, Alan praised him for doing so. Back then at Ford, showing negative data about your division was thought to be a death sentence. Nobody wanted to do it. Nobody did it. Instead, the leaders hid behind their manipulated data and their posturing and their $5,000 suits. Alan instilled in his lieutenants that it was not only OK to show negative data, it was necessary in order to determine the health of the entire company. Honesty became the only way. Alan knew honesty and shaping communication was key to raising Ford from the ashes. He also knew reshaping communication was key in evolving Ford’s horrible culture. Since time was short, Alan also had to focus on a simple strategy of revitalizing Ford while he molded its culture. He was savvy — he knew Essential Drucker. Culture eats strategy for breakfast.

Radioactive waste of a toxic workplace and culture.
Leadership hypocrisy is toxic to a culture.

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Jeffrey Bonkiewicz

Jeffrey Bonkiewicz

I’m a sales, marketing and tech Pro who creates content designed to help people solve problems and shift perspectives.