125 episodes

Culture and Leadership Connections Podcast: where culture, communication, and context meet at work. Discover what cultural influences have formed the careers of noteworthy leaders in a variety of professions, by exploring the groups that shaped who they are today. Learn about the collective context and experiences that affect their worldview, leadership style, workplace communication and behaviour. 

Culture and Leadership Connections Podcast Marie Gervais

    • Arts
    • 5.0 • 3 Ratings

Culture and Leadership Connections Podcast: where culture, communication, and context meet at work. Discover what cultural influences have formed the careers of noteworthy leaders in a variety of professions, by exploring the groups that shaped who they are today. Learn about the collective context and experiences that affect their worldview, leadership style, workplace communication and behaviour. 

    The Spirit of Work: Is This Soul Enhancing or Soul Diminishing?

    The Spirit of Work: Is This Soul Enhancing or Soul Diminishing?

     Is This Soul Enhancing or Soul Diminishing?

    Imagine bringing your whole self to an action informed by purpose

    Episode Highlights:
    Today we delve into the concept of building a sense of purpose using the principle of choosing soul enhancing versus soul diminishing actions in our work behaviour. This episode equips you with tips to increase a sense of purpose at work, while providing you with a tool to autocorrect when you fall short of the ideal.

    Getting to the Bridge of encouragement:
    The first question to ask yourself is, “Is this soul diminishing or soul enhancing?” Take an instance of a workplace where people are always gossiping. What does that do to the soul? It diminishes the soul and destroys positive company culture. Employees don't feel they can be their authentic selves, fearing they will be attacked. They can't admit to mistakes because they anticipate punishment.

    In a soul-enhancing workplace, people encourage each other. They're clear about expectations, communications, and they operate transparently. They think about ways they can help each other, be kind to each other, and progress within the organization. When there's a mistake, they can talk openly about it because they know they will not be punished for bringing it up.

    Soul Enhancing versus Soul Diminishing Attitudes, Actions, And Outcomes:
    Soul enhancing is encouraging, expansive, joyful, creative, and love-promoting. Increasing soul-enhancing behaviours develops virtues—positive qualities admired across cultures such as kindness, helpfulness, courage, and wisdom.

    Soul diminishing is discouraging, constrictive, oppressive, and hate-promoting. Increasing soul-diminishing behaviours develops vices—the negative qualities that destroy cultures such as aggression, violence, hatred, superiority, and self-centredness.

    The Essence of Controlling Your Anger:
    A Buddhist saying is: “The monk who subdues his arisen anger sloughs off as a snake its decrepit old skin.”

    Learning to align our emotions and desires with principles that help us engage in soul-enhancing actions can be extremely useful, not only for work but also for our interpersonal relations and other activities outside of work. The more we practice orienting ourselves towards making soul-enhancing thoughts, words and deeds, the more workplaces will reflect virtues, qualities, and powers that make work increasingly pleasant and enjoyable.

    Key Takeaways from the Episode:
    Purpose is inspiring but has both a light and dark side. You choose the side you want. To choose a purpose that nurtures your light side, opt to develop virtues rather than vices which are soul diminishing.You can ask either in the moment or later in reflection, “Is that/was that…soul enhancing or soul diminishing?”When you fall short of soul-enhancing thoughts, words, and actions, the answer is to forgive yourself and move forward through service, which is like prayer—it helps us autocorrect.If you’re finding these episodes helpful, you can purchase the book, The Spirit of Work, Timeless Wisdom, Current Realities, online at Amazon, Barnes &  Noble, or directly from my website.
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    • 13 min
    Mark Mears: The Power of Purposeful Growth

    Mark Mears: The Power of Purposeful Growth

    How can purposeful growth impact your leadership?

    Mark A. Mears is a #1 Best Selling author, keynote speaker, consultant, and visionary business leader. He has a significant track record of building stakeholder value, driving innovation, and profitable growth among world-class, high-profile brands such as PepsiCo/Pizza Hut, McDonald’s, and The Cheesecake Factory among others.

    Today, Mark is the Chief Growth Officer for LEAF Growth Ventures and has just released his new book titled, The Purposeful Growth Revolution: 4 Ways to Grow from Leader to Legacy Builder.

    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/markamears/
    Website: https://www.markamears.com/

    “When we do things randomly, they don't stick. But if we do things intentionally over and over, it forms like wet cement. It hardens and it becomes a habit. In this case, a positive habit.”

    “Leadership is like the seed of an organization and the root system. You must have a strong root system for any plant or tree to grow.”

    Episode Highlights:
    In this insightful conversation, Mark shares about purposeful growth and the importance of feeling loved in the workplace, breaking down the concept of love into an inspiring acronym. He shares his experiences, upbringing, and professional journey, imparting valuable wisdom on leadership, community, and the power of feedback. He also shares how being fired from a C-Suite job was a gift in disguise for him.

    Childhood Incidents:
    Growing up, Mark was an avid swimmer. He had a coach who helped him achieve excellence through hard workouts, and he became a lifeguard and swim coach in high school. Mark put his best foot forward and as a result, became head guard responsible for managing the pool. That experience hones his love for leadership, service, and hospitality.

    Influential Groups/Cultural Influence:
    Mark sees culture as a set of norms and expectations that people establish amongst themselves as a natural course of interaction. He recalls growing up in the swim team. He was always with his teammates during practice; they carpooled to practice and had bus rides together. Church and college also influenced Mark, giving him a sense of belonging.

    Mark has worked for and with many organizations, and his greatest desire has always been to leave the place better than he found it. His experience with various groups taught Mark how to leverage his God-given gifts, talents, abilities, intellect, and experiences to bring organizations to ever-higher levels of excellence.

    Personality and Temperaments:
    As a child, Mark was passionate and competitive. He was curious and had the resilience to overcome obstacles in his life, which is an enduring trait. Today, Mark has become softer on the competitiveness side and more forgiving of himself. He has learned how to take the best of his core characteristics, round off some rougher edges, and grow new ones.

    Cultural Epiphanies:
    In Mark’s last leadership position, someone called him a narcissist. It was difficult for Mark to understand where it came from, and he later realized that what he viewed as selflessness was seen as grand-standing by others.

    What Brings out the Best in Mark?
    Mark lights up like a Christmas tree when he helps align a team. Their increased unity allows them to accomplish more than they even thought possible.

    Soapbox Moment:
    Are you interested in purposeful growth? Mark invites you to visit his website for a self-assessment to experience the power of his acronym for LOVE: Listen, Observe, Value, and Empower.
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    • 41 min
    Why Employees Resist Their Bosses

    Why Employees Resist Their Bosses

    Resistance means you don’t feel safe.
    “The reason people resist is because they don’t feel safe."

    “Courtesy is the first sign of safety. Respect is the outcome of courteous behaviour.”

    “When working with colleagues or bosses work to create a matrix of safety for the head, the body, the heart, the spirit and the culture.”

    Episode Highlights:
    Part A – Your nervous system and its relationship to feeling safe

    Your amygdala is responsible for perception of threat, even if that threat is not real. When there is a perception of threat, the body reacts via the amygdala in an instant freeze, fight, flight response. The remedy to threat is to create a safe work environment.

    Part B – How to create safety for yourself 
    Start with an incident that is bothering you: “When I think about X situation…I feel (what emotion?) (angry, frustrated etc.)”Measure the intensity of the emotion from 1-10.Slow down your breathing and become conscious of where you feel this emotion in your body.Move to release the energy.Part C – Intentionally creating a climate of safety
    Creating a workplace matrix is similar to the matrix in the womb that surrounds and nourishes a baby. You can help create this matrix of safety by:

    Helping the head feel safe – give it an explanation and facilitate regular communication of listening, speaking and coming to a shared understanding

    Helping the body feel safe – is it pleasant to work in this place, is it ergonomically viable? Would you want to work there? If you wouldn’t why would you allow others to work in that condition?

    Helping the heart feel safe – listening, acknowledging, validating how other people feel. Acknowledge difference of opinion without vilification of the other person.

    Treat others with courtesy and civility which creates respect as the outcome.

    Helping the spirit feel safe – If people are trustworthy and show courage to address problems, doing what they say they will do, the spirit feels safe.

    Helping people feel safe culturally – be sincerely interested in others, and ask people about their expectations about how things should be done at work.

    Part D – Incidents and solutions
    Look for the principles involved in an incident to get to a solution. What principle would help elevate thought and behaviour? 

    Incident: An employee is resisting working with a boss. 
    Maybe they don’t have experience or training. Maybe they feel incompetent to do the task and don’t feel safe saying so. Maybe they feel they don’t matter. No one wants to be invisible, it is a denial of our humanity. Maybe they don’t know how to interact with a person in authority. Or they had bad experiences with a boss when they spoke up in the past. Experience with too many changes with ‘flavour of the month’ decisions, so employees have become cynical. People are unhappy with their job. They act badly or their performance drops. There is a personality disorder or an addiction issueTakeaways:
    People resist because they don’t feel safeWe all have a nervous system which perceives threat via they amygdala You can calm this reaction by naming an emotion, measuring the intensity, slowing breathing, movingBuild a matrix of workplace safety that helps the mind, heart, body, spirit and culture to feel safeIf you still have resistance consider training, acknowledgement, how to interact with a boss, job unhappiness, personality/addiction issues. Support the show

    • 23 min
    Stephanie Brown: The Journey to Finding Your Next Perfect Role

    Stephanie Brown: The Journey to Finding Your Next Perfect Role

    You deserve a job that allows you to thrive.

    Stephanie is the Founder of Creative Career Level Up, a program that helps those in marketing, creative, and tech industries accelerate their careers and secure their next perfect role—along with a promotion and a salary increase. She has authored, Fired: Why Losing Your Job is the Best Thing that Can Happen to You.

    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephaniebrowncareercoach/
    Website: https://www.creativecareerlab.com/

    “The only way to get over fear is to face it head-on and realize that either it's never as bad as what you think it's going to be or the worst does happen, but you survive.”

    Episode Highlights:
    Stephanie explores the unifying and passionate nature of sports culture, emphasizing how it brings people together and showcases human potential. While acknowledging the darker side of sports organizations, Stephanie shares her personal experiences and the impact sports have had on communities, providing a balanced perspective on this influential aspect of society.

    Stephanie also discusses her experiences at Nike and the development of her coaching platform to support professionals in marketing, creative, and tech industries.

    Childhood Incidents:
    When Stephanie was 15 years old, she changed schools to an all-girls school. At that age transitioning to a new school wasn’t easy for Stephanie; she had a hard time making friends and the group of girls she associated with bullied her. Changing schools taught Stephanie that she didn’t always have to be where her friends were, and even if bad things happened, you could move past them into a better present.

    Cultural Influence:
    Stephanie’s dad grew up in a family with plenty of love, but the resources were limited. He made sure that his children had more resources and opportunities than he ever got, such as attending university.

    Later in life, Stephanie worked for a winery which gave her an opportunity to meet people from all over the world and ask about their life experiences which triggered an urge for her to see the world after finishing her schooling.

    Leadership Influence:
    When Stephanie finished university, she secured a job in a sports company and later moved to London, England, where she joined Nike. Despite having an educational background in economics and finance, she found herself in a marketing role in the creative industry. At Nike, Stephanie found her tribe and people who mentored her to become a leader.

    Temperament and Personality:
    According to Stephanie, her general temperament is to love helping people. As a child, she wanted to become a schoolteacher and today she has taken it full circle as a career coach. Over the years, Stephanie’s personality has developed to embrace the bravery required to step out of her comfort zone and take on new challenges.

    Cultural Epiphanies:
    When Stephanie was in university, she went to Italy for an exchange program and found some of the local jargon had changed when she came home six months later. Since she couldn’t understand the origin she felt like she didn’t belong. Later on, Stephanie experienced reverse culture shock after being in in the UK for 17 years.

    What Brings Out the Best in Stephanie?
    Stephanie thrives in environments that challenge her and create room for her to learn.

    Soapbox Moment:
    According to Stephanie, leadership is about serving others, and she sees it as a privilege and a blessing. For those looking for work, Stephanie recommends first taking the time to analyse the
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    • 44 min
    The Spirit of Work: Purpose and Cora's Restaurant

    The Spirit of Work: Purpose and Cora's Restaurant

    The Spirit of Work: Purpose and Cora's Restaurant

    Cora's Restaurant, a breakfast establishment originating in Quebec, exemplifies the transformative power of a clear organizational purpose. With a mission centered on "promoting the importance of breakfast," Cora's has expanded from a single location to a global presence, spanning North America, South America, Europe, Australia, Asia, and Africa.

    The guiding principle of promoting breakfast's significance influences every aspect of Cora's operations, from menu choices to environmental initiatives. Cora's serves vibrant, nutritious breakfasts to infuse people's mornings with energy and joy. Their commitment extends beyond the dining experience; they partner with the Breakfast Club of Canada, donating a portion of each meal's proceeds to provide nutritious breakfasts for Canadian children.

    Environmental responsibility is a cornerstone, with decisions rooted in local food sourcing, exclusive use of biodegradable packaging for takeout, and collaboration with environmentally conscious partners. The emphasis on a warm, friendly atmosphere is ingrained in staff training, fostering creativity, work-life balance, and opportunities for advancement.

    This purpose-driven approach aligns internal and external processes, creating a harmonious organizational culture. The success of Cora's Restaurant is a testament to the profound impact of a well-defined purpose, inspiring growth and unleashing creative potential.

    In The Spirit of Work, I emphasize the importance of purpose to work. A lack of purpose leads to scattered efforts, breeding cynicism and suspicion among the workforce.

    Discovering Purpose – Cora's Journey:
    Finding purpose, whether individually or collectively within an organization, is a challenging but critical endeavor. Cora, a divorced mother of three, stumbled upon her purpose when she sold her house to start a small snack bar. Her knack for creative, nutritious snacks evolved into the first Cora's Breakfast restaurant, emphasizing the importance of breakfast.

    Over seven years, Cora and her children expanded the venture from nine restaurants in Greater Montreal to a global, multi-million dollar franchise. Her journey underscores the link between clarity of purpose, values and branding.

    Purpose, Play, and Joy in Workplaces:
    Purpose, like children's play, involves dedication to an activity that energizes and brings joy. However, purpose can either contribute to the betterment or detriment of society. It serves as fuel, requiring direction to ensure it serves the greater good.

    Reflecting on Cora's example, how has purpose affected your business or career journey?

    Reflection Questions:
    Similar to Cora, how has facing difficulty in your life contributed to personal growth and purpose?How did your purpose evolve when creating something new and testing it with others?If in a leadership position, can you state your organization's founding principle in 5-7 memorable words?Purpose, is pivotal chapter in my book, The Spirit of Work: Timeless Wisdom, Current Realities. If you liked this episode, the book is available online on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or directly through my website. 
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    • 8 min
    Gerald J. Leonard: From Music to Making a Difference

    Gerald J. Leonard: From Music to Making a Difference

    Unveiling Gerald J. Leonard’s journey from music to making a difference

    Gerald is the CEO and Founder of the Leonard Productivity Intelligence Institute and the CEO of Turnberry Premiere, a strategic project portfolio management and IT governance firm based in Washington, DC. He attended Central State University in Ohio, receiving a bachelor's in music and later earning a master's in music from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.

    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/geraldjleonard/
    Website: https://productivityintelligenceinstitute.com

    “Once you learn the complexities of things, I think you can implement it with very simple processes.”

    “Words shape our world.”

    Episode Highlights:
    This episode delves into the significance of personal development, reframing negative thoughts, and embracing cultural diversity. Gerald shares insights on overcoming constraints, the power of relationships and the importance of learning from diverse cultural groups.

    Gerald has authored three books: Culture is the Base, Workplace Jazz, and A Symphony of Choices."

    Childhood Incidents:
    From his father’s example of building a construction business and his mother working as a seamstress, Gerald knew he had to be industrious. In middle school, Gerald was part of junior achievement where he learned more about business and the monetary value of hard work.

    Influential Groups:
    As a child, family shaped a lot of things for Gerald. He saw how hard his father worked to provide for them, how he was there for them and his business. The experience taught Gerald what it was like to be a family man.

    Gerald grew up Methodist, but after joining college, he learned about other religions. He got a chance to interact with people from different backgrounds and used the scriptures as point of reference to see if he was on the right track.

    Cultural Influences:
    Gerald never saw his parents meditate, but he integrated meditation into his life from Indian spiritual practices into his life. He credits a course with Judith Glaser on conversation intelligence for teaching him about the brain and nervous system which he has incorporated into his own behaviour.

    Personality and Temperament:
    Gerald believes that he values long term friendships. He has people whom he has known for years, and he goes out of his way to ensure they remain close.

    In 2018 he lost 86% of his right inner ear capacity and experienced constant vertigo. Although he was six weeks away from giving a TEDX talk, he did everything in his power to heal , incorporating music therapy as part of the process. His resilience and determination paid off and he delivered his TEDX talk on the appointed date and time.

    Cultural Dissonance:
    Gerald once worked for a big law firm where the work culture was different from what he was used to . In the Ivy League environment Gerald knew he had to find ways to belong but it felt uncomfortable. He looks at it now as a positive learning experience that taught him new skills.

    What brings the Best in Gerald Leonard?
    Gerald has a focus on spending quality time to make a difference in the lives of others. He isn't counting the money made or time spent, rather the impact of the exchange.

    Soapbox Moment:
    Gerald invites us to check out his books and podcast from his website. He also encourages us to check out KIVA provide microloans that support people in difficult circumstances to reach their dreams. 
    Support the show

    • 41 min

Customer Reviews

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Liberty Mendoza ,


Love your Podcast! Very Inspiring! :)

JSchinwald ,

Very Insightful

One of the episodes that I really like was when Marie had Robert Manolson where he shared his great mission to inspire workplaces to embrace the value of fun at work. The conversation was insightful and fun. HIs journey is also inspiring.

I like how the podcast is very consistent around connections between culture and leadership. Amazing.

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