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Chery Gegelman

6 Ways To Transform a Divisive Culture into a Winning Well Culture: (Chery Gegelman)

by | May 10, 2017 | By Karin Hurt and David Dye, Winning Well International Symposium |

Winning Well Connection

I really got to know Chery on our collaboration around the Energized Leadership book project. I admired her commitment and energy that led her to meet with us at 4 am to align with our time zone. She’s an adventurer with a kind and generous spirit. We truly enjoyed her amazing review of the story behind the story of Winning Well. 

My husband and I just returned to the U.S. after living in a giant sandbox on the other side of the world for four years. In the country we lived in, people are valued and LEGALLY treated differently based on their tribe, their race, their nationality, their gender and their religion. Imagine living in a place where the law says that you have more or less value for reasons that are primarily beyond your control. And therefore it is acceptable for you to receive:

• Receive lower pay and benefits
• Stand in different line or sit in a different place
• Be served last
• Be treated unfairly in conflict resolution and legal situations

While your humanity, character, education, knowledge, experience, skills, and contributions are rarely considered. This kind of culture naturally pits people against each other and teaches them that they have to look out for themselves because no one else will.

When people live and work in divisive environments, it takes more vision, character, energy and grit to create a winning well culture. Which begs the question, is it worth the effort to be a winning-well leader in a divisive culture?

People that work with Winning Well leaders:

  • Recognize and cherish fairness
  • Feel valued and supported regardless of their label
  • Know they are heard
  • Experience less stress
  • Become less self-focused and more understanding and supportive of others
  • Focus more on their work
  • Are more productive
  • Have more fun
  • Are never the same

Below are 6 tips to help you transform a divisive culture into a Winning Well culture:

  1.  See what is and understand why: Recognize finger pointing, and conflict as a result of a divided and unfair culture. And understand that it encourages self-protective thinking and behavior.
  2. Be motivated by “what could be”: People are happier, more creative, more energetic, and produce greater results when they live and work in places that create synergy instead of division.
  3. Don’t waste your time or energy raging against unfairness or judging the culture: Regardless of how you are labeled – do what you can with what you have, right where you are.
  4. Take one bite at a time: Know that massive change always starts small and gains momentum as people begin to trust titled leaders and believe in the vision.
  5. Model the behavior that people need: Balance compassion with accountability; striving to be consistent, fair and explainable at all times.
  6. Take time to recharge your batteries: It will take immense energy to build trust and engage people in a culture that is so divisive.

So pour yourself into the organization and people when you are there, and fully leverage your off time to play, refocus and recharge. Are you ready to make a life-altering difference for the people and the organization you serve?



Winning Well Reflection

At some point in your career, you are sure to encounter the situation Chery describes. The organization doesn’t want to win well, your boss doesn’t care about her soul, much less yours, and people are disempowered. What do you do then? Chery’s suggestions put you on the path to creating what we call a ‘cultural oasis.’ Remember that no one, but you chooses how you will treat people. Whether or not you succeed in changing the entire culture (and you may!) you will have made a difference for your team.


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Karin Hurt And David Dye author photo

Karin Hurt and David Dye

Karin Hurt and David Dye help human-centered leaders resolve workplace ambiguity and chaos, so that they can drive innovation, productivity and revenue without burning out employees. As CEO and President of Let’s Grow Leaders, they are known for practical tools and leadership development programs that stick. Karin and David are the award-winning authors of five books including, Courageous Cultures: How to Build Teams of Micro-Innovators, Problem Solvers, and Customer Advocates and Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results-Without Losing Your Soul A former Verizon Wireless executive, Karin was named to Inc. Magazine’s list of great leadership speakers. David Dye is a former executive and elected official. Karin and David are committed to their philanthropic initiative, Winning Wells – building clean water wells for the people of Cambodia.

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