Archive for July, 2016

Move from Panic to Purpose

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

It’s a great feeling when things are all going right; revenues are growing, your people are productive, new orders are flowing in.  But what happens if there’s an unexpected change? The market shifts, you lose your largest customer, or your revenue starts dropping.

Let’s face it, when you’re facing major change, your people can make or break you.

It all depends on your culture; the underlying beliefs, behaviors, social norms and how you all engage at work.  A simple definition: culture is how people act and make decisions when nobody is looking!

Facing unexpected change can go one of two ways:  You’re pushed back by panic and fear or you’re propelled forward by purpose and passion.

If your culture is based on fear based thinking and decision making it’s easy to keep doing the same old business practices over and over because they used to work; only now you’re not getting the same result. So you worry, stress out, cut back, shut down emotionally and mentally and make yourself and everyone around you miserable in the process.  It usually results in disorganization, conflict, uncertainty, disengagement or turnover.

As Einstein once said, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

The way to move from a culture of fear to one of purpose is to begin with the WHY. Refocusing on the reason your company exists and reclaiming the passion you all had when you started it.  Remembering the unique way you serve your customers, your employees, and your community. Recognizing how your products and services make a difference. That’s what’s made you successful and what will bring you back to the flow.

Many of my clients start with a visioning session or retreat, gathering the team together and asking such questions as:

  • What’s the highest vision for our organization?
  • What makes it powerful enough to get us out of bed each morning knowing that we make a difference?
  • What gifts and talents do each of us bring to this vision?
  • What are the values that shape our culture and underlie all our decisions, and interactions?

The experience of sharing from heart and personal perspective and really listening to each other is amazingly impactful and just plain awesome!

The input from the group gets formed into a vision and values statement that is simple to remember, and inspires creativity, innovation and service.

By refocusing on the WHY, you can then plan a course forward founded on a culture that aligns with your core vision, values and purpose.

Blessings, Marla


PS  For a list of visioning questions and guidelines email me at


As I reflect on my 30 years of business it all boils down to my WHY: to serve as a chief culture officer helping my clients navigate major change to make the workplace better for everyone.  If I can support your organization let’s talk.  303-456-0388

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