Building Blocks for a Goodness Culture

By Kevin J. Sensenig, Ph.D., RODP, President & Chief Learning Officer, Good Leadership

In the last two weeks, I’ve noticed an increased number of LinkedIn posts about organizational culture. My sense is that as the news turns to employee layoffs and tightening economic expectations, more leaders are concerned about how employees will handle changes in the organization. It is more important than ever that leaders focus on Winning with a Goodness Culture

My concern is that most of the things I am reading about organizational culture—on social media, google, and in the business press—have more to do with leaders managing perceptions and making declarations about beliefs and values, than about actually addressing what really builds culture. Obviously, there is value in engaging employees in establishing core values, defining their purpose in the organization, and clarifying the expected behaviors throughout the organization. These items, too often, become signs on the wall, lists on the website, and checklists that are used in disciplinary actions when someone is “not living the company culture.”

At Good Leadership, we believe culture is more easily explained and addressed when leaders honestly assess two core issues—what they are rewarding, encouraging, and promoting versus what they are stopping, discouraging, and punishing. Rather than placing the weight of articulating organizational culture on employees, leaders must recognize that their actions are what define and create culture, regardless of what the plaque on the wall, the website, or the performance review documents say.

As a leader, take some time to talk with your team about what you are rewarding or stopping with your behavior and interactions. What might you be doing intentionally or inadvertently that pushes accountability at people and encourages employees to focus on their own success over the team success? When you begin to reward excellence, live generously, demonstrate fairness, and spread positivity you will clearly see a Culture of Goodness emerge—one in which people seek accountability and thrive together.

To request a copy of our Goodness Culture tool and our Good Leadership Expectations Model, please send an email to In the meantime, visit our website to get your ticket for our May Good Leadership Breakfast—where you will hear insights about a Goodness Culture from Glen Gunderson, President and CEO of YMCA of the North. Buy tickets here.

Kevin Sensenig

Kevin Sensenig is the President and Chief Learning Officer of Good Leadership. With 30+ years of experience in management, leadership, education, and training for businesses, Kevin's strengths lie in listening, synthesizing information, and helping individuals use the best from within themselves to deliver outstanding results.