Business Leadership Today

John Spence On Building A High-Performance Culture


In this episode we talked with author, consultant, and leadership coach John Spence and discussed the top 10 most important things that a leader needs to do to create a workplace culture where leaders and team members truly care for each other.

John is recognized as one of the Top 100 Business Thought Leaders in America and the American Management Association named him one of America’s Top 50 Leaders to Watch along with Sergey Brin and Larry Page of Google as well as Jeff Bezos of Amazon.

John has a unique ability to recognize patterns among all the organizations he works with. This, along with the roughly 100 business books he reads each year, makes him an extremely valuable resource for any organization or leader who wants to learn the keys to success.

Join us as we learn the principles and practices John has found to be successful among multiple organizations. Learn how foundational concepts such as setting clear values and being an example of what you expect from others create monumental change. Hear real-life stories in which companies were faced with sticking to their values or sacrificing them.

Here is a link to John’s website:
John’s Website

Here is a link to John’s book:
Awesomely Simple

Here is a link if you want to connect with John on LinkedIn:
John’s Linkedin Profile

John’s Top 10

“I think that leaders that do the things that we do, that are a living example, live by their values… love their people… to me after 30 years of experience it is the only way to not only succeed but make sure everyone has fun along the way.“ – John Spence

1. Lead With Authenticity and Vulnerability

“When the leader says ‘It’s okay to not have all the answers, it’s okay to be anxious or scared or nervous, it happens to me too,’ it gives people a safe place to share ideas for, or issues with the company…that safety really helps build a strong culture.”

2. Set Clear Values

Setting clear values within a company sets a framework for decision making. When in doubt, look to the values as a guide. When the values are clear, decision making becomes easier.

3. Communicate The Values Continuously

Maintaining a constant recognition of the values ensures that no one, no matter how junior or senior, is unaware of what the values are. Also by continuously communicating the values, you also communicate how important the values are to yourself and the company. 

4. Be A Living Example Of What You Want To See In The Culture

Being a living example not only helps guide your employees as to how they are expected to act and perform, but it also proves to your employees and customers that you genuinely believe in the values of the company.

5. Love Your People

When a leader genuinely cares about those who they are leading, they earn a level of trust and respect that you are unlikely to achieve with any other approach.

6. Only Work With Customers Who Are Aligned To Your Culture And Values

Working with customers who are not aligned to your culture and values may not seem like a sacrifice in integrity but in reality it is. By doing business with customers who do not share our values, we indirectly communicate that our values are not truly important to us.

7. Set Clear Expectations For Both Work And Behavior

Having clear expectations that are communicated and enforced guide decisions. These expectations also build a culture that will naturally appeal to employees and customers who are aligned with your values.

8. Set High Standards, Refuse To Tolerate Mediocrity

Part of caring for a company and its employees is to expect a high level of performance. By setting high standards, we call ourselves and everyone around us to consistently grow both as individuals and as colleagues.

9. Create A Culture Of Accountability

If you refuse to maintain accountability with all employees as well as leaders, you sacrifice integrity. With time this sacrifice in integrity will lead to your employees and leaders following suit and moving away from the values of the company as well.

10. Have Fun

While we all want to succeed, success isn’t only measured by dollar signs. A company who succeeds in building a culture of employees and leaders who care about each other and have fun is a highly successful company and more often than not succeeds financially as well.

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