How to Build a High Performing Culture with S. Chris Edmonds

The Culture Engine by S. Chris Edmonds

In this episode, S. Chris Edmonds discusses the key points of his book The Culture Engine: A Framework for Driving Results, Inspiring Your Employees, and Transforming Your Workplace.

S. Chris Edmonds has a delightfully simple explanation of culture: “Culture is all about how people treat each other—how leaders treat their teams and peers, how employees treat each other, and how people treat customers and vendors. It’s about relationships and respect,” he explains. As simple as that sounds, it can also be a very disruptive concept to some organizations.

Many leaders and managers are asked to manage business results but are rarely asked to manage the quality of their work culture. “Get out of the mindset that results are the most important thing. Make respect as important as results. One of the first things I do is educate senior leaders about how important it is to have a culture that is purposeful, positive, and productive—one that is going to drive great customer experiences and employee engagement.”

So how does an organization start creating the culture they want to cultivate? Edmonds suggests writing an organizational constitution—a document that outlines the purpose, values, strategies, and goals of the company. It describes exactly how employees will engage with each other, with customers, and with vendors. An organizational constitution gives meaning and clarity to every employee by providing a clear understanding of how they can do their best work, treat others respectfully, and help the organization prosper.

It is critical to urge all the leaders in the organization to model the behaviors outlined in the organizational constitution. It becomes the document they can lead by, live by, and manage performance to. It helps them hold people accountable, praise people who are living the values of the constitution, and redirect people whose behaviors are not in alignment.

If your organization doesn’t have a constitution, individuals can lead by example. Edmonds asks leaders to pay attention to the relationships they have with their direct reports, peers, customers, and vendors. “I ask leaders to shift from an ‘I need’ mindset to a ‘What do you need?’ mindset. If leaders can help their people accomplish tasks easier, or give a client what they need, they will build trust and create a mutually beneficial relationship,” Edmonds explains. “I’ve seen it work with intact teams within organizations.  I tell people to just start making a difference where they are.”

Edmonds shares several examples of working with organizations to help them define their purpose, values, strategies, and goals, and describes how these companies are creating their desired cultures. The stories bring his concepts to life.

Edmonds stresses that culture drives everything that happens in an organization day by day, including focus, priorities, and the treatment of employees and customers. A great culture not only drives great performance but also can help attract and retain top talent. However, a great culture isn’t something that evolves naturally—it must be defined, supported, honored, and modeled every day.

About The Ken Blanchard Companies
The Ken Blanchard Companies is the global leader in management training. For nearly 40 years Blanchard has been creating the best managers in the world, training over 150,000 people each year. From the award-winning First-time Manager program—based on the best-selling business book The New One Minute Manager®—to SLII®, the most widely taught leadership model in the world, Blanchard is the provider of choice for Fortune 500 companies as well as small to medium businesses, government agencies, and educational and nonprofit organizations.

About S. Chris Edmonds
For more information on S. Chris Edmonds visit his website at

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