Kerry Wekelo is the Chief Operating Officer at Actualize Consulting, and author of Culture Infusion: 9 Principles for Creating and Maintaining a Thriving Organizational Culture. She chats with Kevin Monroe about how she helps her company and clients infuse a people-first culture into their organizations.
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An Inside Out Perspective
Kerry explains that the book is a case study of Actualize and shows how they were able to turn around their culture from being focused on profits first, to people first. Kevin says that he appreciates that this book gives an inside out perspective.
Infusing Means Layering Flavors
As Kerry looks forward to 2020 she is thinking about what strategies she will improve on or new ones she will include. She emphasizes that you can’t just make a decision and never revisit it: it’s a constant, continuous journey of putting people first and keeping up with the times, similar to how you would layer flavors in a dish you are cooking. That’s why her book is called Culture Infusion. When Actualize decided to put their people first, they layered that principle into every touchpoint, such as their newsletter, their monthly All Hands calls, and even when Kerry checks in with new recruits. What we’re doing, she says, is a lot of little things that are infusing the people-first principle, and it’s really making a big difference. Throughout the organization people feel supported and appreciated.
Building From Your Heart
Kevin asks Kerry to unpack a quote from the book, “When it all comes down to it as the leader the most solid foundation on which you can build is your heart.” She explains that it’s important to check your gut instinct when you’re making decisions. She trusts her intuition then brings in the analytical business case.
Both Kerry and Kevin share their definition of culture. To Kerry, culture is the pulse of the organization. Kevin defines culture as the way we do things around here. Kerry feels gratified that prospective employees all feel that what they heard about Actualize turns out to be true – that it’s a great place to work.
Principles They Live By
One of the nine principles Kerry discusses in her book is surveying the team. She says that they seek feedback on several topics throughout the year. They always let their employees know what they decided based on their feedback; and if they didn’t decide to do something, they let everyone know why. Kevin asks how her process has changed since she wrote the book. She comments that she has been focusing more on gratitude in the company as well as in her seminars.
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