Conducting Business: Embodied Leadership and ‘Beautiful’ Cultures

Part 5 of 5

conducting business cultures

This post is the last in a series of five articles describing a major arts-based leadership development programme at Oxford University’s Saïd Business School, designed and run over a four-year period by Dr. Mark Powell, one of the authors of this article. Previous posts have looked at the way in which delegates to the programme worked with dancers, actors and jazz musicians. This final post explores the most ‘hands-on’– and for many delegates the most emotional – element of the programme: the experience of conducting a small chamber choir.

Culture and Purpose: Below the Surface of Sears’ and Amazon’s Culture

culture purpose below surface

Disturbing employee quotations

“He would find a hole in the data and then explode.”

“I would see people practically combust.”

“There are so many people running for the door not just because the ship is sinking, but because the captain of the ship is screaming at them, blaming it on them, and telling them it’s their fault.”

“The joke in the office was that when it came to work/life balance, work came first, life came second, and trying to find the balance came last.”

“You learn how to diplomatically throw people under the bus.”

You might be excused for thinking these quotations stem from some terrifying, corporate Ayn Rand winner-takes-all hell-hole where fear, intimidation, and bullying ruled the day. Ironically, these quotations come from employees of two of the most famous retailers on the planet.

Developing a Jazz Culture

Part 4 of 5

developing a jazz culture

This post is the fourth in a series of five articles describing a major arts-based leadership development programme at Oxford University’s Saïd Business School, designed and run over a four-year period by Dr. Mark Powell, one of the authors of this article. The aim was to create a new culture of ‘open mindedness’ among the senior project managers of a UK oil and gas exploration company, encouraging them to interact more effectively with the other stakeholders in their capital projects and enhancing their ability to improvise in the face of rapidly changing situations.

Learn About Organizational Culture: The Top 10 posts of 2016 on CultureUniversity.com

2016 Top 10

The interest in culture continues to grow but this growth comes with a proliferation in over-simplified and incorrect information about culture and culture change. CultureUniversity.com launched in 2014 to cut through this misinformation and it has grown to be a great resource for leaders and change agents to learn about organizational culture. Over 30 organizational culture enthusiasts and experts shared their insights in 2016.

10 posts garnered the highest traffic and my personal top insight from each post is captured in the list below.

Turning Businesses into Ensembles

Part 3 of 5

business ensembles

This post is the third in a series of five articles describing a major arts-based leadership development programme at Oxford University’s Saïd Business School, designed and run over a four-year period by Dr. Mark Powell, one of the authors of this article. In the program, which was conducted on behalf of a major oil and gas exploration company, senior project managers worked closely with a wide variety of artists: jazz musicians, actors, painters, storytellers, dancers, conductors and others. The aim was to create a new culture of ‘open mindedness’ in the project managers, encouraging them to interact effectively with the other stakeholders involved in major projects, and enhancing their ability to ‘improvise’ – to react quickly and effectively to changing circumstances.