We’ve known that the presence of oxytocin can impact one’s ability to trust another person, increases our capacity for empathy, and that high stress is a potent oxytocin inhibitor, thus an obstacle for building trust since Claremont Professor (and the founding director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies) Paul Zak published his study The Neuroscience of Trust. During 10 years of field studies, Professor Zak measured real returns on high trust environments including productivity, employee loyalty, happiness, engagement and alignment.
My dear friend, Rajkumari Neogy, the author of The WIT Factor: Shifting the Workplace Paradigm by Becoming Your Optimal Self, is building on Professor Zak’s work. She’s not a neuroscientist but she’s a layman expert, operating at the intersection of neurobiology, technology, culture and empathic language — helping optimize team performance by integrating diverse mindsets, strengthening relationships and building unity around values. She was one of our most highly rated speakers at Culturati™ 2019. We had dinner together this week in San Francisco, and we’re hoping she’ll be back in Austin for an invitation-only Culturati Connect™ event this fall. More on Raj’s work here.
I met Rajkumari at Jerry Wagner’s Workplace Wisdom Retreat in Santa Fe last year. Dr. Wagner is the founder of the Academy of Culture Ambassadors, a serial entrepreneur, and a statistician with a PhD from Iowa State. Jerry taught at The University of Texas in the ‘70s, was a Senior Scientist at the Gallup Organization, and he’s also become a friend and colleague. He’s written about the upcoming culture retreat in Manitou Springs, CO this October at which I’m looking forward to speaking again this year.
In this issue of Culturati Magazine™, I’ve asked two exceptional leaders & good friends to share insights into how they manage culture in their organizations — I’m struck by the similarities between Mark McClain’s (one of America’s top CEOs according to Glassdoor) and Jay B Sauceda’s (a young entrepreneur emerging as a leader in Austin) answers. They are both practical, mindful of modeling, and lead with a unique combination of commander and coach. Check out their insights into thoughts on burnout, leadership and managing culture. Additionally, we’ve linked to Mark McClain’s recent Forbes article The Power of Trust in Today’s High Tech Workforce.
Culture: how we get our work done
In her Culturati Magazine™ contributed piece, The Truth About Culture: Intention vs Reality, Jenn Spencer defines culture as how the work gets done to fulfill the vision and create the successes that have been set out as priorities by your leaders. Increasingly, I’m hearing leaders define culture as how we get our work done. And, Janice Omadeke, a member of the first class of Culturati™ Fellows reminds us in Get Your Company Culture Summer Ready how easy it is to let goals & objectives slide during the summer’s heavy vacation scheduling, instead suggesting a bit of “spring cleaning.”
Columbus, OH, San Francisco and Dallas are next on the list for Culturati Connect dinners. Culturati co-founder Josh Jones-Dilworth and I are joining Doug Ulman for a Culturati™ dinner in Columbus, OH on May 30. I’m hoping Raj and I will co-host a San Francisco dinner — maybe in June during the Hung Pham’s Culture Summit. Dallas is in our sights but we don’t yet have a date. And, we’d love to host in Chicago, New York and Boston as well before the year’s out.
Josh, Autumn Rich and I have been meeting with our teams, reviewing the 2019 surveys and interviewing key Culturati™ members as we’re planning for Culturati Summit™ 2020. I’m not sure if they’ll both agree but leadership seems the dominant recurring theme. I mean this broadly — not only individual leadership in organizations (though certainly so) but also leadership as an organization in our communities, leadership from employees to whom no one reports but who are empowered to make a difference as they adhere to vision and purpose. We’ll continue discussing 2020 programming during our Culturati™ dinners — which of course reminds me, we’ll launch our summer dinners in July for those registering for 2020 during the summer early bird registration launching May 20. In the interim, shoot me an email with any thoughts for 2020 programming or recommendations for new Culturati™ members.
Eugene Sepulveda is the co-founder of Culturati™ as well as the CEO of the Entrepreneurs Foundation, a director & partner in Capital Factory, and the Treasurer & a Sr. Advisor to Austin Mayor Steve Adler. Eugene’s long played at the intersection of business, politics and community in Austin and nationally. He can be reached at Eugene@ABPorter.org