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CultureLab with Aga Bajer
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CultureLab with Aga Bajer

Author: Aga Bajer: Culture Strategist, Writer, Coach

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In the 21st century, those who change the world are those who change the culture. They get people in synch, lead tribes of “people like us”, and generate an energy field where ordinary people achieve extraordinary results.
But organisational culture can often be like the proverbial soap - too slippery to grasp. CultureLab with Aga Bajer is here to help you get a handle on culture. It aims at demystifying it and making it more accessible and less overwhelming in its complexity.
On this podcast, Aga interviews leadership thinkers, culture (r)evolutionists, entrepreneurs, and all sorts of movers and shakers to provide you with the inspiration and tips on how to harness the force that drives your future.
82 Episodes
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Giff Constable is a product leader, entrepreneur, and author who has sold three companies and helped build many others. In this wide-ranging interview, we cover a lot of ground: from developing great products, leadership, cognitive biases, designing an HR function that actually works for the business, creating psychological safety, taking on creative pursuits that scare us, and much more.   
Bretton Putter is the CEO of CultureGene and he helps companies build and develop strong, functional company cultures. He recently published his second book, Own Your Culture, and in this episode, we talk about what to think about and what to do (asap!) to create a thriving culture in the world of remote or hybrid work. Brett shares plenty of actionable insights and examples of practices you can implement to adapt to this new way of working. 
The world’s top leadership and culture whisperers - Frances Frei and Anne Morris joined me for a fun, wide-ranging, and insightful conversation about how you can unleash your team’s potential. Frances and Anne talk about redefining leadership, the relationship of culture and strategy, love and trust in the workplace, their experience working with Uber, WeWork and Riot Games, and much more.  For more ideas on how to build a thriving culture at scale, download my FREE Culture Playbook Guide
Growth. We all crave it. Both in our personal lives and in business. But what we often forget is that the biggest growth spurts inevitably come with growing pains. Suddenly we are in this weird place in the middle - no longer a child but still not an adult. Adolescence: something’s emerging, everything is changing and it’s really, really messy. Turns out that startups go through a very similar stage. And this is exactly what my guest today and I talk about in this episode of the CultureLab podcast.  For the Culture Strategy Bootcamp, go to bit.ly/culture-bootcamp
My guest today, Dorie Clark, suggests we need to make things easier for ourselves in 2021 and embrace the lowercase "r" reinvention: small, subtle changes that, over time, compound and often produce major transformations. But to achieve such impressive results over time, we need to develop a "reinvention habit."  And this is exactly what we talk about in this episode of the CultureLab podcast. I can't think of a better way to ease ourselves into 2021.    For Culture Bootcamp click here: bit.ly/culture-bootcamp
"I hate this company,” I said to myself, sitting in the office in San Francisco. “I can’t believe I created this.” This is how my guest today, Darius Mirshahzadeh, opens his book, The Core Value Equation. Darius had been successful by any external measure. He was the founder and CEO of a company that would soon hit the $10,000,000 revenue mark. He had 150 employees and a seventeen-thousand-square-foot modern tech office space in the heart of San Francisco’s SOMA district. And yet, he had serious regrets as a founder. He realized that the company he created was not the one he intended to. Somehow, while trying to build a successful business, he lost track of what he now considers one of the most important factors to achieve success and grow with minimum growing pains - the core values.  And core values are what we are focusing on in this episode. 
What does a successful startup founder look like?  You probably have a vivid picture in your head – two supercharged recent college graduates bursting out of the gate with a fresh new idea that hits them like a lightning bolt, gets massive funding, and leads to a product launch that is an astounding success.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  My guest today is Ethan Mollick, an award-winning researcher at Wharton and the author of a new book, THE UNICORN’S SHADOW: Combating the Dangerous Myths that Hold Back Startups, Founders, and Investors.  His mission is to democratize entrepreneurship.  In this wide-ranging conversation, we talk about what's a myth and what is true in the world of startups. 
Today, my guest is the co-founder and CEO of X4 Group, Peter Rabey. Peter and his team managed to scale and grow their business through extremely challenging times. Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, X4 Group has realigned the entire business strategy to avoid layoffs. The reboot went so well that their business - and headcount - grew by over 50% since June. Tune in to this wide-ranging conversation about scaling through the pandemic, hiring, onboarding, cultivating a healthy culture, and more! To download the Culture Playbook guide, click here. 
Wendy Smith is an associate professor of organizational behavior at the Alfred Lerner School of Business at the University of Delaware. She earned her PhD in organizational behavior at Harvard Business School, and she researches a really interesting area - strategic paradoxes. For the interview with Professor Smith, click here. To be the first to receive the new audio postcards, please click here.
To say that 2020 has been a challenging year would be an understatement. But there are many ways to look at our struggles and Bobby Herrera, the founder and CEO of Populus Group, suggests that we choose to see them as a gift. In this wide-ranging conversation, Bobby and I talk about his entrepreneurial journey and the culture he is committed to cultivating in his company. 
Dr Max McKeown is a visionary, and influential presenter who reveals insider knowledge, gleaned from twenty-five years’ experience consulting for Pfizer, Topshop and Sony, amongst many other major global brands. In this conversation, we talk about how to find your next big idea, what role strategy plays in your ability to create the future you want and what scenarios could emerge if culture and strategy really sat down to have breakfast together instead of trying to cannibalize each other. 
Garry Ridge is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the WD-40 Company, a billion-dollar business with a 93% employee engagement index. WD-40 has been making history when it comes to harnessing the power of organizational culture. It has kept its values aligned for over six decades by making them the heart and soul of the company. On its culture homepage, WD-40 has the following message for job applicants: "Please consider employment with WD-40 Company only if you feel as strongly about our values as we do." Here's a message from Garry on how to navigate this difficult period. For the interview with Garry, click here: https://www.agabajer.com/podcast-list... To be the first to receive the new audio postcards, please click here: https://mailchi.mp/eafee17fef25/audio...
This audio postcard comes from Bobby Herrera, from Michigan. Bobby Herrera is the co-founder and CEO of Populus Group - one of the fastest-growing HR services companies in the United States with annual revenue of $500 million and many Fortune 100 customers. Bobby speaks beautifully about how he sees his role as the CEO during the times of Coronavirus. I hope you enjoy his message.          
Today, on the CultureLab podcast, we welcome Aaron Dignan - the author of one of my favorite business books of the past few years - Brave New Work and the founder of the Ready. If you feel like the way we work hasn’t worked for a while and if you are curious about what new ways of working we could adopt, you’ll enjoy this conversation. In this interview, Aaron and I talk about why scale and bureaucracy that once made companies strong have become huge liabilities. Today, it’s the companies that operate with transparency, autonomy, decentralization, and empowerment that are better positioned to navigate disruptive changes. Our conversation was set in the context of the current events, especially the COVID-19 pandemic. And while there's a lot of tragedy happening right now, Aaron believes that there's a lot of promise in this moment as well. He says that the current disruption has challenged a lot of assumptions that we hold about trust, remote work and empowerment. It looks like we have been presented with a unique opportunity to rethink the way we work and renegotiate our social contracts. Now it’s up to us to take advantage of this opportunity.
It's in times like these that our values and ethical standards are put to the test. COVID-19 emergency and its aftermath will call for empathy, compassion, and generosity. If business leaders don't rise to the occasion, they'll put their companies at risk. In this audio postcard, crisis expert, Melissa Agnes, encourages us to put ourselves in our stakeholders' shoes and ask: how can we serve them to the best of our capabilities?
When people don't speak up, the organization's ability to innovate and grow is at great risk. A culture of silence is a dangerous culture. A culture of openness and candor, on the other hand, offers immense benefits for creativity, learning, and innovation. But for people to speak up, they need to experience psychological safety and this is what Amy Edmondson, my guest today, has studied for more than 25 years.
It looks like we might be in a pretty long tunnel. And while there's certainly light at the end of it, why wait? We can create some light right now by building human connections through the means we have available. Here's Thimon De Jong speaking on this topic.
We have a new postcard - this time from Ron Carucci. Ron says that we are currently in an odd, liminal space, in between chapters. And while it's undoubtedly a difficult season, things will resume eventually. So how can we prepare for our new normal? Listen in!
We have created the Audio Postcards series to help you tackle the challenges of COVID-19 pandemic in a calmer and wiser way. This week, the postcard comes from Aga Bajer and she shares three questions to explore with your team to regain a sense of control and purpose in these crazy times.
As time goes by, we all realize that the Coronavirus outbreak is, first and foremost, a human tragedy. But it has also become increasingly clear that COVID-19 is having a growing impact on the global economy, causing many businesses to switch to full-on survival mode. While taking short-term measures to mitigate the effects of the current disruption, many leaders ask themselves: How do you deal with the current issues without losing sight of the long-term goals? And how do you embrace an infinite mindset in times of a crisis of such vast proportions? Simon Sinek shares his thoughts on the subject.
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