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CYC 005: To Deal with Your Culture, First Get in the Ring (WWE)

CYC 005: To Deal with Your Culture, First Get in the Ring (WWE)

It started at the Oil Palace in Tyler, Texas.

It was a whirlwind year of sweaty men, crystal-covered speedos and crappy concert food.

I traveled to new places and met great new friends. Yes, for a year I traveled the U.S. going to WWE professional wrestling matches. What interesting and awesome memories!

Now, no one sat me down and said, “WWE has a specific culture built around three major principles of blah, blah and blah.”

Observation built my perception of the WWE culture… as a customer.

Regardless of what culture mission statement they have hanging in the corporate offices in Stamford, CT, I learned over the course of the year what the culture was like out on the roads, at small events with no TV, live TV events in large cities, and two WrestleMania events.

Your company culture is probably different from the culture of WWE, but there are valuable lessons from my year of WWE.

You need to take a hard look at the reality of your company culture.

Not the culture you think you have. That you intended to have.

What you actually have today.

Get in the ring now.

Your company culture is important for building your team of employees, attracting and retaining good people.

Culture also affects your customers.

Your fans. Your spectators.

The people watching your team handle a screaming client. The people listening to the receptionist schedule a meeting.

Your culture is your brand turned inward.

Your brand is your culture turned outward.

Your brand and your culture are linked.


  1. How I ended up traveling the U.S. to see WWE matches several years ago.
  2. Three positives and one negative observation about culture based on my year of WWE.
  3. Why you need to take a hard look at the reality of your company culture today.

Complete Your Workwork:

I encourage you to complete a more comprehensive audit of your culture and how your team communicates with each other and your customers.

Don’t stress. Let’s start small.

For the next week, I want you to do a quick check on a few basic ways your team is communicating with customers.

  1. Call your office receptionist or executive admin to listen to what the greeting is like. How do they handle a call.
  2. Call your customer service line and listen to how a call is run.
  3. Evaluate how YOU answer the phone.
  4. Listen to voicemail messages for key team members (or all team members if you have a small team).
  5. Listen to your own voicemail message.
  6. Look at what your team has in their email signatures.

Then make changes as needed. Set a standard for how your team should answer the phone. A standard way to set up email signatures. Standard message for voicemail recording messages. Of course, these are small tasks, but they are a great way to start.

You can still encourage employees to put their own personality into their messages, but give them guidance on how they need to project your culture and your brand.

Set your employees up to succeed.

Let me know what you learned in the comments below.

Oh, here is a video of the personal brand I talk about in this episode. Wish I could have been in that marketing meeting!

The spit heard around the world starts at 2:55. Why is it so captivating?!

Thank You For Listening!

Please subscribe, rate and review the Create Your Culture podcast on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated. They do matter in the rankings of the show, and I read each and every one of them.

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Listen to this Episode

Play episode 005 of Create Your Culture below:

Living the Dream of a Sixteen-Year-Old

Living the Dream of a Sixteen-Year-Old

When I was 16, I imagined turning 30 in a glamorous corner office in downtown Dallas as the CEO of my own company.

I would hop on a Concorde bound for Paris at a moment’s notice with Jake Ryan by my side.

Oh, the freedom I would have. Someday.

In the meantime, I did what any teenage girl would do. I joined the French club, became Flag Corps captain, and played a twin courtesan wearing silver spandex in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

I had my first love and first loss at the hands of a handsome boy who told me he didn’t love me anymore in a dingy school hallway.

I traveled to Paris on a school trip. It was my first trip to Europe and first glass of wine.

Those weren’t the only life-defining moments from the trip. The group left me behind at Montmartre and a stranger stalked me on the Metro. (That’s a doozy of a story, and Mom didn’t know about it until recently. Hear about it on the first episode of my podcast.)

Growing up is hard, but adulthood will be a breeze, right?

Attending The University of Texas at Austin was an amazing but an emotional trial by fire. I lived away from home for the first time. Joined a business fraternity. Met new friends and a handsome boyfriend from Germany named Olaf (no, not the snowman).

I tried not to look at the circle of naked students dancing by The Union. Relished exquisite meals of Ramen and Taco Bell burritos.

And nothing says “I’m just a cog in a wheel” like a professor asking for my grandfather’s death certificate to miss class for a funeral.

Adulthood is not the sweet, lighthearted comedy promised on A Full House.

College morphed into internships and 90+ hour weeks. Into marketing and event planning. Then training to become a programmer. Over a decade of using tech and marketing skills to design web-based tools and manage tech projects.

Marriage and a painful divorce sent me into a shame spiral, and “Workaholic” became my title.

I excelled at work. Everything became second to my job. The doctor warned that the stress on my body had taken a toll.

The stress almost killed me. Not a hyperbole.

When I turned 40, I knew I had to exit my self-imposed exile in the wilderness and follow the dream of that sixteen-year-old girl. Stop being a wantrepreneur.

In 2013, I left corporate America. I moved out of my penthouse apartment in downtown Dallas into a friend’s extra bedroom. Most of what I own packed into a storage unit.

Back to Taco Bell burritos and Torchy’s tacos. Can’t bring myself to eat Ramen again.

Then training, conferences, more training, and certifications to arrive here. Poised to help you in your journey.

You don’t have to live with drama in the workplace. You started this business to get your freedom back. Don’t be a slave to employee drama.

You don’t have to stare at that blank white Word doc that needs to magically turn itself into your bio or About page. Or stare in agony at that resume that drones on and on and goes into the email blackhole. Or worse, sits at the bottom of someone’s trashcan. Find and articulate your superpowers.

You have an ally.

You have a cheerleader.

You belong here.

I’m here to help you:

  • Use the study of human behaviors, driving forces, soft skills and emotional intelligence to build a happy, productive team.
  • Build a strong corporate culture that attracts more great people and keeps those people you have already poured so much into.
  • Brand yourself. Articulate your strengths. Address areas for improvement. Stand out from the crowd.

So you meet your goals. You make more money. You help more people.

We can’t keep hiring ourselves for every job. We have to support each other in this crazy, exhilarating, tumultuous world of self-employment.

Let’s get real, let’s get to work and let’s take over the world.

CYC 004: Three Wake-up Calls for Introverts Managing Extroverts

CYC 004: Three Wake-up Calls for Introverts Managing Extroverts

Shows like NCIS entertain us with a large cast of characters – each with quirks, strengths, and eccentricities.

They are each included for a specific reason. They each bring something unique to the mix.

We watch the diverse cast of characters find ways to understand one another, work together and tackle difficult circumstances.

TV isn’t reality. Heck, even reality shows aren’t realistic.

By watching shows like NCIS, we can learn to observe and hone our skills of observation. As they gather clues to solve this week’s murder mystery, you can gather clues to unlock how they behave and therefore, how you might be able to bridge your differences.

The more you look for ways to improve communication, the easier it becomes. Start with your favorite TV show or movie as practice.

At some point, you will have extroverted employees (at least more extroverted than you are).

Your business needs both introverts and extroverts.

As an entrepreneur, small business owner or even mid-size business, you cannot afford to hire each person for one skill. You cannot afford to hire a room of carbon-copy people.

You need to function compactly, with as many skills and superpowers in as few employees as possible.

I don’t know how introverted you are. I don’t know how extroverted your employees are.

I do know that you are a leader. You have the power to improve the communication in your team.

And communication is an essential part of a happy, productive company culture.


  1. What I mean when I talk about introvert vs. extrovert. Those terms are thrown around a lot.
  2. What is behavioral blindness? Do you have it?
  3. Three areas – wake-up calls – for managing employees who are more extroverted than you are.
  4. Three action steps you can take right now to better manage extroverted employees.

Complete Your Workwork:

  1. For the next week, I want you to write down how long you can interact with someone before you feel the need to escape. Can you talk to someone for an hour without feeling the need to run away and be alone? Can you talk for 3 hours? 15 minutes?
  2. After the week of observation, look for patterns.
  3. Does the amount of time change based on who you are interacting with?
  4. How long it takes for your energy to come back once you’ve retreated to your cave?

Let me know what you discovered in the comments below.

I promised I’d share what I learned when I completed the workwork. How long can I communicate before I feed the need to escape? I can go an hour of constant interaction with strangers before I feel the need to have a few minutes of quiet. If communicating with people I already have a relationship with, I can go 3 hours before I need to escape. That is valuable information for me as I plan my workday. To recharge? If I stay within the limits I discovered, I can recharge with as little as 5 minutes alone. If I push myself and spends days in over-communication-land, it can take an entire day to recuperate.

Can’t wait to hear what you found out in the comments below.


Montage of scenes between Tony DiNozzo and Timothy McGee on NCIS.

Thank you! Remember to watch for an upcoming episode on Three Wake-up Calls for Introverts Managing Extroverts.

CYC 003: How Your Superpower Could Kill Your Business

CYC 003: How Your Superpower Could Kill Your Business

Time and time again, big Hollywood studios produce movies with epic tales of men and women saving the day with their innate strengths.

Strengths are important. They give you an advantage in life – in business.

Your strengths become the foundation for your personal brand.

But when a villain wants to take down a superhero, he exploits the weaknesses that come with the superhero’s strengths.

Be brave enough to look at not only your strengths but also the weaknesses that come from letting those very strengths get out of control.


  1. Review of soft skills, also called competencies.
  2. Four examples when a great strength can have consequences for your business if left unchecked. (For one of the four examples, we look at one of my strengths and how it creates weaknesses I have to manage.)
  3. A tip for pulling yourself into the present moment from Olivia Fox-Cabane’s charisma speech. Full video found below.
  4. How you deal with your strengths and weaknesses impacts your team.

Complete Your Workwork:

For the next week, make a list of tasks that drain you like kryptonite. Tasks that you avoid. Look for a pattern. That list will give you clues to an area of weakness that needs to be addressed. Let me know what you discovered in the comments below.

Links and Resources:

Charisma speech by Olivia Fox-Cabane

Thank You For Listening!

Please subscribe, rate and review the Create Your Culture podcast on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated. They do matter in the rankings of the show, and I read each and every one of them.

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

CYC 002: You Don’t Need More Cowbell, But You Do Need To Be A Better Leader

CYC 002: You Don’t Need More Cowbell, But You Do Need To Be A Better Leader

You need your team to help you. To do the work you cannot or should not spend your time doing.

In this episode of the Create Your Culture podcast, we’ll look at the top three lessons learned from watching famed music producer Bruce Dickinson (Christopher Walken) try to motivate the members of the Blue Oyster Cult band with “more cowbell” in the iconic sketch from Saturday Night Live.

Whether you already have a team or are building a team, there are some valuable lessons here.

In this situation, the Blue Oyster Cult band members knew their instrument to play. They knew what the goal was. They all wanted to get the song recorded. They actually brought themselves together to meet their goal in spite of their “leader.”

What about your team? Do they each know what part they play? Do they know what the goals are?

If your team is still engaged and working together, they will try to figure things out on their own – for a while.

Do you want a company culture where the team assumes you either do not want to help them work through an issue OR worse – aren’t capable of leading them?

You can learn what motivates your employees and be a better leader.

Don’t hope they will figure it all out. They need to know you are a resource – willing and capable.

Don’t be Bruce Dickinson.

“Y’all will be wearing gold-plated diapers!” is not motivating unless you work for Huggies.

I love watching Will Ferrell and Jimmy Fallon try not to laugh. 


  1. You are a part of your team. You are boss, but you are not above them. “Bruce Dickinson. Yes, THE Bruce Dickinson.”
  2. Give your team rewards that motivate THEM. If you are guessing, then you may be spending valuable resources that aren’t helping your team or getting the results you want. “Gotta have more cowbell baby!”
  3. Confusion shuts down motivation. Bring clarity to your team. “I gotta fever and the only prescription is more cowbell.”
  4. There are 6 types of motivators that could motivate your employees. Here are some sample questions to consider for each motivator:
    1. Usefulness/utility – Who on the team is driven by money?
    2. Supporting people – Who on the team is driven by helping others?
    3. Search for truth or knowledge – Who has a voracious need for learning?
    4. Control their own destiny – Who wants to be recognized publicly for their accomplishments?
    5. Form and harmony – Who wants a beautiful work environment?
    6. System of beliefs – Who wants to have a mission or be a part of team traditions?

Complete Your Workwork:

For the next week at work, watch for signs of confusion in your team. Ask them for feedback on how you can help. Then shut your mouth and listen to them. Do not get defensive. Just for a week, try to respond with “Thank you, that is valuable feedback.” Be open to hearing what they have to say. Notice if they are afraid to give you feedback or are excited you want to be involved. Let me know in the comments how it goes.

Thank You For Listening!

Please subscribe, rate and review the Create Your Culture podcast on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated. They do matter in the rankings of the show, and I read each and every one of them.

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.