SmartBlog on Leadership regular contributor S. Chris Edmonds is releasing his new book, “The Culture Engine,” from Wiley. He is a speaker, author, and executive consultant with his own firm and the Ken Blanchard Cos. Learn about Edmonds’ services and subscribe to his blog posts & podcasts at Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and iTunes podcasts.

Below, he answers some common questions about the book and why it’s important to focus on culture within organizations.

“The Culture Engine” launches this week. There are a lot of books about corporate culture available. Why was this book written?

Organizations around the globe are not consistently compelling or inspiring places to work today. Recent data from Blessing White indicates that only 4 in 10 employees are engaged at work. Only 45% of employees are even satisfied at work! (Research from the Conference Board.) Leaders have a great opportunity to craft work environments based on trust, respect, and dignity, every day. (read more…)

Leading change starts with a compelling leadership vision for change. According to leadership expert John Kotter, a lack of leadership vision is one of the most common reasons why transformational change efforts fail.

A leadership vision isn’t just for large, CEO-led, companywide transformational changes. Leaders at all levels need to inspire people to change in order to overcome significant challenges and achieve important goals.

“Transformational” is always relative and defined by those most affected by the change. While an office reconfiguration at a branch office may seem insignificant and trivial to a CEO and his executive team, it’s probably considered transformational to the employees that work in that office. It’s up to the branch office manager to have a vision for that reconfiguration or the move is going to be met with skepticism and resistance. The change could take longer than it needs to without even achieving the desired results. (read more…)

Beware of bright shiny objects!

That could be a lesson contained in J.R.R. Tolkein’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy when we see characters who find themselves in difficulty because they have strayed from their moral center.

Today, the term “bright shiny objects” is used in reference to organizations that cannot formulate a strategy, or if they do develop one, they fail to adhere to it. As a result such companies end up chasing after things that on the surface look appealing but upon investigation prove to be untenable.

Bright shiny objects are distractors. As such they belong in the realm of fables not in the corridors of management. (read more…)

RadioShack is on the ropes. What can be done to save it?

I’ve seen this scenario several times. Xerox comes to mind. In 2000, when Anne Mulcahy became Xerox’s CEO, the company was nearly bankrupt. Her leadership helped save it. In 2012, I spoke with Mulcahy in a series of interviews about how she led Xerox’s turnaround. She described three behaviors that were similar to how A.G. Lafley led the turnaround of Procter and Gamble, how Howard Schultz and Howard Behar led the turnaround of Starbucks and, more recently, how Alan Mulally led the turnaround of Ford.

Our firm’s research over the past decade found these three behaviors in leaders who achieved long-term superior performance. The behaviors brought about an extraordinary degree of connection, community and unity so that people pull together rather than retreat to protect self-interest. Stated another way, these leadership behaviors create a team that pulls together and protects the culture from spiraling down into a dog-eat-dog environment and a divided, divisive company. (read more…)

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Since its formation in 1971, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, has set standards to ensure optimal workplace safety and health. Such regulations can be found in Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations, which outlines labor in the U.S.

In recent years, the agency has been releasing annual lists called “Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards.” It’s a list dedicated to the most common OSHA safety violations in the country, based on the agency’s worksite inspections. The consistently leading violations: Fall protection, hazard communication, and scaffolding. We’ll discuss each below, along with what companies should be aware of.

Fall protection

The most violated standard — at least within the past decade — has been 29 CFR 1926.501, which addresses fall protection. In 2013, there were 8,241 violations, a 13% increase from 2010. Falls continue to be one of the most common causes, if not the most common, of serious work-related injuries and deaths, accounting for over 200 fatalities each year. (read more…)