What a 30 Year Career At Disney Taught Duncan Wardle about Innovation

Duncan Wardle Hero Image Disney Company Culture
   

Duncan Wardle

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Duncan Wardle, Former Head of Innovation & Creativity for Disney spent 30 years with the organization and is now invested in helping businesses like yours wildly improve their innovation capabilities. This episode is the right resource for you to understand how to begin transform your company culture into one where creativity can flourish. Today, innovation is no longer just a buzzword to throw in your investor deck. With the dizzying speed at which technology has progressed over the last decade, innovation has become a tangible difference maker. A tool that allows companies to create and execute incredible ideas faster than ever, leapfrogging the competition in the process.

 

Come join us in Calgary April 9th at Duncan’s All-Day Masterclass. Use promo code “CULTURE” at checkout for 20% off. 

Some questions I ask:

  • How did you get the job of being in charge of innovation at the most innovative company on the planet?
  • How do you manage having an innovation team and still having the whole company produce novel ideas?
  • How to go about changing to a creative-focused culture? Where does it start?
  • What can we do to build trust so that our creative ideas are well-received? 

In this episode, you will learn:

  • Crazy stories of Duncan working with Princess Diana, Michael Jackson and sending his son’s Buzz Lightyear into space in partnership with NASA
  • What it looks like to take culture from something you talk about, to something you take action on.
  • Building trust starts with doing crazy, big things without caring.
  • How to make creative meetings go well with “plussing” meetings 

Learn More

Connect with Neige & Pippa:
Grab your Masterclass Tickets at 20% off today at https://duncanwardle.com/disruptcalgary. Enter the promo code “CULTURE” to get your special offer pricing as a fan of the CultureING Podcast.

 

*I am a proud Instacart affiliate and will, therefore, make a commission for anyone who signs up using the link above!

How a Global Green Beauty Brand Thinks about Company Culture

   

Neige & Pippa Blair

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Co-Founders of Routine, Neige & Pippa Blair make a stellar team. As the innovator, Neige has always been bringing brilliant formulas for natural products to her friends. With the help of Pippa’s business mind, they brought Routine to life! At the heart of their success is a commitment to relationships & caring for one another, and the insights on building company culture are therefore quite compelling!

Some questions I ask:

  • What are the ways you’ve found best suit how you work together as a team?
  • How do you take ideas from R&D, bring them to the team and then decide if they go to market or not?
  • What are some of the myths surrounding natural products?
  • How did you begin to be taken seriously as a brand?
  • What have you found to be the bedrock of your company culture?
  • Is Routine Wine coming anytime soon?!

In this episode, you will learn:

  • The original story of Routine Deodorant
  • Why Niege & Pippa don’t often use the word entrepreneur
  • How to thrive within family (and best friend) business. How it became natural. Bottom line: it’s critical to find a role for everyone that suits their personality.
  • The whole idea of making a place where people want to be, the culture will take care of itself 
  • How most of the beauty & skincare industry is marketing… not necessity.
  • Culture: You can define it, or it can just happen. If you create the space, a place where people want to be, that’s the first step. Neige & Pippa believe that if everything’s fed for their employees (their soul, their bodies), then the culture holds itself together quite well.
  • Stay tuned for Routine Wine!!!

Learn More

Connect with Neige & Pippa:
Website
Instagram
Facebook

Also mentioned on this show: 

Credo. Leader in clean, green beauty.

 

*I am a proud Instacart affiliate and will, therefore, make a commission for anyone who signs up using the link above!

“I don’t believe in reference checks…”

Michel Falcon

Michel Falcon is an entrepreneur, international keynote speaker and author who leverages his People-First Culture™ philosophy to create customer experience, employee engagement and company culture strategies to grow businesses. Often he has an unconventional opinions like not using reference checks in his hiring process. He is the author of the best-selling book, “People-First Culture: Build a Lasting Business by Shifting Your Focus From Profits to People” and the creator of the Team Operating System online course. Michel also operates a portfolio of restaurants and venues in downtown Toronto. His venues have grown to earn tens of millions of dollars in revenue with more than one hundred and fifty employees in less than two years by using the same strategies he’s going to share with us today. He has been hired to advise companies like Subway, Verizon Wireless, Alfa Romeo, Electronic Arts, and many others globally recognized brands.

Some questions I ask:

  • What has been a triggering moment in your career that lead you to develop a passion for company culture?
  • What are some of the tools leaders and organizations can use to understand and create a better culture?
  • What will be the shift in how we hire based on trends and changes we are seeing in employee behavior and expectation?
  • How do we change our hiring practices to find the most aligned candidates? 

In this episode, you will learn:

  • How Michel started his career working at McDonald’s.
  • What to do with the Gen Z workers coming into the workforce and why he thinks they are open and like the idea of entrepreneurship.
  • How to stop hiring toxic employees.
  • How to understand and create a better culture – the interview process, have the corporate courage to not hire the great candidate that doesn’t fit the culture.
  • The importance of our parents in our careers – Your parents gave you the DNA to be the leader.
  • He does a lot but it comes back to company culture, employee experience, customer experience.
  • Why Michel Falcon doesn’t like calling his team “staff”, or like it when they call him “boss”.
  • What leaders who have side-hustles should do to build a productive team… and how they can work with their team members who also have side-hustles.
  • Give a second look at reference checks. Recognize that you are relying on other people’s judge of character. You may benefit from trusting your own gut than someone else’s.

Learn More

Building Culture on a Startup Budget

Kaleah Baker

Kaleah Baker, COO and Co-founder of BridesMade – Canada’s only bridesmaid dress rental service! After growing up in small town Saskatchewan, Kaleah completed her BBA in Marketing & Management at Bishop’s University, and her MBA at Wilfrid Laurier. Both schools are known for their tight-knit communities, so it’s no wonder that a collaborative culture would be a must within her own business. From startup to standout success story, Kaleah loves telling her entrepreneurship story. 

Some questions I ask:

  • How do you build a team of millennials leading millennials? 
  • If everyone isn’t full time, how do you motivate them? 
  • Your team is a well-travelled startup having gone through multiple incubators & accelerators. How have these experiences changed your company and what elements of their cultures have you adopted into yours over time? 
  • As a female-only team, how do those dynamics affect your team and what is your plan for the future to grow your team? 
  • What are your tips, from experience, for navigating fast-growth?

In this episode, you will learn:

  • Finding people who have previous experience with high-level performance such as in sport or music is an excellent way to build a team that can perform at the high level required in a fast-growth startup. 
  • Ensuring there are elements of fun in people’s lives is profoundly important to startup culture. 
  • In a monthly All Hands Meeting, allowing for people to ask the leaders ANYTHING can be incredibly helpful in preventing conflict or issues down the road 
  • Within the incubator setting, such as at Communitech, there’s a concept of “accessible help.” Kaleah’s advice comes with a caveat however, you can book time with her or anyone whenever it’s needed… but it’s your responsibility to know what you want to talk to about and clarify that the meeting is between the correct people. At Communitech, she mentions that when people ask for your time, you typically give it to them with undivided attention… as long as it is with the right person to be respectful! 
  • In a bridesmaid dress company, women TEND to be a bit more passionate… so that extra 5% of passion does go a long way to hiring females. It is complex in a female-focused brand to integrate that first man onto your team. The plan for now is to see at a point of exponential growth (~50 people), men will certainly be part of the hiring plan. 
  • Ask your people what they want and avoid assuming or telling them what they do. 

Learn More

How To Build a High-Performing Company of World-Changing Millennials

Victoria MacDonald

One Canadian organization that has made one of the greatest global impacts is WE. We have the honour of hearing from Victoria MacDonald, their Chief People Officer today for a brilliant discussion of millennials, translating values into actions & leading a team in a hyper-growth mode! 

Victoria is a 20-year veteran HR professional who is known for building cultures of alignment, accountability and high levels of engagement without pool tables, beer fridges or free food. 

Some questions I ask:

  • How do you come into a company as a new executive to bring change in a well-established, already world-class company culture? 
  • WE has an incredibly diverse set of roles in their 1000+ person organization. How do you hire so that across the organization, in the variety of roles & the types of people each require, to still hire aligned to your values?
  • How do leaders, many of whom are struggling with this, translate their values into behaviours people know how to demonstrate at school?
  • Are there tools & technology to help reinforce core values? 
  • What are some key learnings you’ve found that millennials need to thrive in the workplace? 
  • “Working with a purpose” is incredible, WE may even have it more easy than most, sometimes work still gets monotonous… how do you keep your workplace invigorated? 
 

In this episode, you will learn:

  • Heading into a major growth-period that involves maturing as a company is highly complex. Adding a more diverse workforce (in WE’s case, adding more tenured employees bringing the average age from 24 to 30 years old). Most elements of your people programs much change including your offer letters, performance management processes, the way you set goals, even your career development conversations. 
  • WE sets out to always continuously improve, Co-Founders Marc & Craig Kielburger never let themselves think they’re “done.” 
  • WE doesn’t see their quarterly employee engagement surveys as a way to figure out whether people are “happy at work.” Rather, they use their surveys to find out: 
    • what is working, so they can do better at those 
    • what needs to be tweaked or changed > create plans against these things 
  • When Victoria created her detailed HR Roadmap, every item on this plan is directly related to something that has come out of their surveys. 
  • Hiring for core values such as “we move for purpose & positivity,” guide their interviews. 3 Day Orientation is also integral to having people understanding how to display values at work, this achieves cultural cohesion. Because this occurs in all offices around the world, there’s a similar employee experience across-the-board. 
  • What’s rarely discussed is that millennials go to work everyday to create a sense of community and to be with their friends. Nurturing that and giving people the opportunity to work with their friends is really important. 

Learn More

Connect with Victoria:

More about WE.org:

WE is a family of organizations spanning from charities to social enterprises. One of their most famous events, WE Day is the greatest celebration of social good on earth. A multi-million dollar event where you can’t buy a ticket… you only get in through service & volunteering. World-leaders, celebrities & outstandingly brave people gather with and youth activists arena events to inspire the next generation.

Make Mastery Commonplace in Your Culture

Darcy Tuer is the co-founder and CEO of ZayZoon. And doesn’t mess around. His company recently raised $15 million to increase employee financial wellness. As an experienced founder & personal growth geek, he offers a lot of wisdom to other culture builders out there!

Previously to ZayZoon, Darcy was co-founder and president of Spira Data Corp. for 11 years. In his tenure at Spira, Darcy and his team took the company from concept to processing over$3B annually in revenue and payroll data. Spira currently has offices in Calgary, Denver and Houston. Lastly, Darcy serves as Chairman of the board of the Missing Children’s Society of Canada and has been a Director since 2011.

Some questions I ask: 

  • How can providing advances on workers’ paycheques affect the workplace? 
  • What is a great way to integrate people into their culture? 
  • How can you encourage your employees towards mastery? 
  • What happens when someone isn’t living up to your core values? 
  • As your company grows, how do leaders stay involved in building the culture of accountability? 
  • What’s your mindset when dealing with conflict? 
  • How can you responsibly use and strategize how to use large sums of capital & financing? 
  • What’s the one thing that you would encourage (maybe beg) new founders to do when building their culture? 

In this episode, you will learn:  

  • Most of your employees experience financial stress which can affect their performance, their ability to work collaboratively and how they show up at work. 
  • The importance of onboarding and integration, also spending a lot of time with a new hire even before their first day. 
  • How a standard daily 15 min scrum is critical > takes process & discipline. 
  • Encouraging employees to have internal side-gigs becomes a crucial part of helping people build mastery and encourage innovative thinking. 
  • Daily scrums are also essential for accountability to align with the organization’s core values. 
  • Navigating the growth of your team and why it may be wise to bring on an additional, even third, co-founder to ensure you have all the skills needed to thrive as an organization. 
  • Conflict is best entered into if you put your ego aside. 
  • Navigating decision making with 2 doors, from Jeff Bezos. Essentially, if you can make a decision (e.g. walk through a door), and still come out of it easily (e.g. walk back through the door), you should do that swiftly to try. If you can’t walk out, spend a significant amount of time deliberating on the decision. 
  • How do you build high-performing people and sustain this type of environment? 
  • As you grow, jobs of your team are quite wide with multiple competencies, as opposed to when you grow, you may need someone who has deep competency in just, for example, enterprise sales. 
  • Maintain a high-performing environment by keeping them intimately connected to your customers, the people you serve and the impact you’re making. “Why are we doing this?” Only possible if you share across departments who don’t interact with customers as well. 
  • “Predict out of the gates, before you raise the capital, to show investors that you can within 80% of said prediction. That will engender a tremendous amount of confidence from the investor community; they’re looking for a great story, they’re looking for a great team, they’re looking for execution. Can you set a realistic plan where you can achieve certain milestones with the capital available to you, and progress by de-risking the business.” 
  • “If I’ve ever seen a common denominator with the successful founders I’ve seen is a grit and determination, along with the team you surround yourself with.” 

Connect with Darcy:

 

Spirituality at Work

In today’s workplace where diversity and inclusion are paramount to a business’ success, we must consider all the ways to make an inclusive environment possible for our employees. What is often missed is their spirituality, a notoriously taboo subject at work, yet incredibly important to billions of people worldwide. But why? If we all agree that we are body, soul AND spirit, shouldn’t we explore a bit of what it could look like to start to include the 33% of our employees that we faithfully ignore?  

Our guest today is Mike Maeshiro, an expert in spiritual intelligence, an entrepreneur, business leader, and a pastor. Most likely you’ll listen and be taken aback at the way Mike approaches certain leadership situations, how he motivates his team and how he assesses the environment at his workplace and how you can too! 

Some questions I ask: 

  • How can we define spiritual intelligence? 
  • How can leaders ensure that their employees feel safe during difficult 
  • What is the cost of NOT beginning to incorporate elements of spirituality into your day-to-day at work? 
  • What should our posture be towards are employees… are they human “resources” or our greatest “asset”? Is there a better way to look at our team members? 

In this episode, you will learn:  

  • How agreeing with things brings them into our environments. When our employees agree with shame, they leak that into the work environment and it affects our productivity and the company atmosphere.  
  • Ways to discern the spiritual climate at your workplace. > 1) Looking at your team and what each member’s “normal” is, and adjusting your environment so they can truly show up their best at work. 2) Paying attention to your physical body and emotions, checking-in regarding what might be “off.” 
  • The primary way to deal with difficult or “hard-to-have” conversations is to approach it with love at the center… come in very proposing, invitational and asking a lot of questions 
  • How to stay consistently kind and helpful as a leader and build an impressive level of trust. 

Also mentioned on this show: 

Connect with Mike Maeshiro: 

How To Integrate Virtual Assistants Into Your Company Culture

Today’s episode is all about Virtual Assistants, Remote Workers & how all this fits within your current company cultures. We are proud to feature Virtual Gurus, once a little remote working agency with a team of 10 people, now a team of 150 people, considered the largest freelancing platform in Canada. Today we’re uncovering some of the secrets surrounding the mysterious world of remote work and virtual assistants, so tune in now! 

Connect with Bobbie Racette and her team: 

Some questions I ask: 

  • How can companies looking to hire a VA get over their hesitancy to this new way of building your team?  
  • Do we not all do more remote work than we think? 
  • How do you work with VAs to ensure they’re supported, especially since they work by the minute and not on salary? 
  • What does it look like for a virtual assistant to get up-to-speed to best perform the tasks required by the hiring company? 
  • How can a virtual assistant or team member actually integrate within someone’s company culture? 
  • What can a Virtual Assistant DO and NOT DO? 
  • What are some examples of how VAs have concretely built businesses & fostered growth? 
  • If I’m a client of a Virtual Assistant company and now my VA is doing a significant amount of work, what does it look like to incorporate your VA into your team and company culture? 
  • What does a company that organizes and leads a cohort of VAs look like? 
  • What is your vision for a company that works with one of your assistants?    

In this episode, you will learn:  

  • The need for your VA to be in a community of collaboration and accountability with other VAs. 
  • The importance of complete transparency with your assistant when you hire a virtual team member, time-based (to-the-minute) tracking and productivity, a major differentiator in today’s age of a distracted workforce 
  • Helpful tips on “showing up and staying productive” when working from home. The professionalism of VAs is paramount, not only to it being a worthwhile investment but also for the VAs to do quality work & enjoy the process. 
  • Virtual Assistants can support businesses in growth from managing emails and calendars, to website support, development and social media. 
  • What a typical process of working with a VA company looks like and how to slowly & patiently offload tasks that you’re not strong in or enjoy doing to your VA(s) and you can go back to running your business, doing what you’re best at. 
  • Virtual Assistant services 

Also mentioned on this show: 

Turning Your Culture Around & Getting Out of the Way

On this week’s episode of the CultureING Podcast, we are joined by Matt Diteljan!

As the Founder & Futurist of Glacier GenZ Advertising and Cascade Influencer Marketing, he gets to see things from a bird’s eye view and focus on the future. Matt first grew Glacier from his dorm room in University to an international multi-million dollar company with hundreds of clients, 50+ employees, and a well-respected name in the Higher Ed. marketing sector. When he’s not at the Cascade office, Matthew is very active on several boards including the Entrepreneur’s Organization and the EO Accelerator Program, or you can likely find him sending it down a mountain on his mountain bike.

Some questions I ask: 

  • How to start being proactive about helping people with their career plan, especially in an organization that is primarily of the same age demographic (e.g. millennials). 
  • How do you let your culture mature enough to authentically dictate your values, mission, vision & cultural framework? 
  • How can you funnel back to your organization the futuristic, lofty plans & ideas? 
  • What does a leader need to do to maintain open-handedness around control over all decision making, growth and ideas? 
  • What is the leaders preferred way to receive constructive feedback from a “lower level” employee? 

In this episode, you will learn:  

  • How to take your culture from fear-based culture to a world-class culture 
  • What it looks like to recognize you are standing in the way of the company’s growth 
  • How to transition from CEO to Futurist & Chairman 
  • How do you create a leadership vacuum that continually calls people higher and leads to internal promotions & increasing levels of leadership 
  • What it looks like to take a financial hit on the journey to fighting for your values 
  • How to manage the dynamic of a futuristic leader working alongside a day-to-day CEO 
  • How to bring your whole team into the future idea and have them begin thinking of how their role will need to change to fit into the strategic direction moving forward 
  • Futuristic thinking about whether or not we really have to fire people 

Also mentioned on this show: 

Connect with Matt Diteljan: 

Company Culture is Everyone’s Responsibility

Thane Marcus brings such spice to life and is a wizard when it comes to personal and professional development. As we continually examine the wonderful world of company culture, it’s always important to remember how much culture is influenced by each individual in our organizations. So is building an amazing culture the responsibility of the leadership team? Nope. It is shared. We all have a part to play. So this episode can help anyone from a CEO to a new grad, become an incredible individual contributor to a company culture you can be proud of. 

Some questions I ask: 

  • What does it look like to build a “teachable” culture in our organizations? Is there a way for both employees and leaders to learn from one another. 
  • What might be some examples of personal systems that people can use to become a more high performing and effective at their jobs, especially when there are predefined systems in the workplace that may, or may not, be conducive to our personal growth? 
  • Why do we need to be healthy? 
  • If leaders are doing something that is actually compromising employees’ health, are we actually shooting ourselves in the foot from having high-performing teams? 
  • What does it cost our businesses when we don’t make room for people to show up as their full selves at work: Body, soul & spirit?! 
  • What are millennial wanting to see in the workplace of the future that they’re not seeing right now? 

In this episode, you will learn:  

  • Thane discusses that in a recent blog that self-employment is most certainly not for everyone. 
  • It can be extremely beneficial to begin to train ourselves in leading up the chain of command. In a way of honour and respect, we can gain influence and empowerment when we learn this skill, benefiting both parties. 
  • Our performance is tied to sleep, recovery, and self-care. Contrary to popular belief, sleeping less, eating terribly, avoiding exercise will not get us ahead, but rather, hold us back. 
  • Leaders have a responsibility to steward their roles well specifically by learning what makes millennial tick and helping them to use those traits as their advantage. Creating an atmosphere that leverages who millennial are, and how they’ve grown up is key. We can use who they are to better support who they can become as professionals in our organizations. 

Also mentioned on this show: 

Connect with Thane Marcus: