I was a featured guest on ABC 33/40 “Talk of Alabama” with Nicole Allshouse (who is fabulous, by the way)!  We discussed my inaugural event THRIVE which helps people accelerate personally and professionally (see www.yourthrive.life for details).  Because I am an authority on organizational culture, I tend to observe my surroundings through that lens. With that said, I would like to share my reflection with you on five simple, yet very important, lessons on work culture and leadership that I observed at ABC 33/40.


Kindness begets kindness.

Within a few minutes of being in the building, I remarked to my intern about how welcoming people were. From the receptionist to the news anchors, everyone (and I do mean everyone) greeted us with a warm, “Good morning.”  While I understand that this may seem like a small thing to some, it means a lot to me. The reality is that people are not obligated per se to be nice and kind; it requires them freely giving themselves to others.  Granted, you can find kind people in any work culture.  However, you know it’s a part of the culture when you experience it consistently. 

After entering the building, I found the producers to be just as gratuitous to us as we were to them. In cultures where kindness is a virtue, it comes from consistent and intentional practice at the foundation of the organization.  Kindness yields a harvest of more kindness.  Leaders set the tone and can right the ship.  The good news is that it’s never too late to build kindness into the culture of an organization. I have helped many leaders implement resets, and it has worked time and time.

Together is better.

I learned the concept of better together from an elder we know by the name of Jimmy Watts, Sr.  Whenever people gather together for a meaningful cause, Elder Watts says, “We do it better when we do it together.”  While we waited in the green room, Jacob the stage manager whizzed by repeatedly grabbing up guests. Each time, he asked the remaining guests if we were all right or needed anything. I asked him for coffee once and water another time (such a primadonna, right?) With each trip to the green room, Jacob ushered in new guests and began his quick orientation. We were the last guests on the show. When he called my name, we went with him to the production area. Jacob delivered his orientation like it was the first time, although I’m certain it was the umpteenth.

Consistency builds trust.

Consistency with best practices yields quality and is key to building trust in the work culture.  Jacob’s consistency in giving us the same message as others, rather than assuming I had caught on by then, made me trust him even more.

When I entered the production area, I saw firsthand that live production is not for the faint of heart. Within a 750-square foot room, there was a stage manager, a three-man camera crew, and three different sets – a news area, a living room, and a kitchen. Things were moving rapidly and communication was paramount. “We are on this set after the next commercial break…..30 seconds….15 seconds….wait there’s a change…..ok we are going to this set, no transition…..”

People who want the same things can handle anything.

The entire time we were there, the production team was on one accord, and I’ll summarize what I saw the agreement to be.

  • Produce a quality show
  • Operate in a timely manner
  • Add value to our stakeholders (viewers, sponsors, guests)
  • Have fun

I sensed that everyone in the room loved what they were doing, therefore they cared about the outcomes. Yes, they toggled between broadcasting on different sets at a rapid pace and commercials and packages, but they were in sync. While commercials ran, they were fine-tuning their angles and focal points, all while smiling and sharing laughs. In my experience frequent changes can bring out the best or the worst in a work culture.  That type of pressure reveals how people really feel.  After seeing what was happening in the production area, I couldn’t help but feel a little bad about my double beverage requests to Jacob. Selah.

Authenticity is a superpower.

I say this in almost every leadership and team training that I facilitate. Authenticity is the superpower of the 21st century.  

In a world where you can be anything, choose to be the one thing that absolutely no one else can be – be you. Nicole Allshouse is an authentic soul. As friendly and engaging as she is on camera, she was even more when the cameras were not rolling. She was genuinely interested in every guest. She made a connection. And that, my friends, is the stuff true relationships are built on. Authentic leaders build trusting teams. Trusting teams are made of engaged individuals.

I’ve been leading people initiatives for far too long to believe that this article offers a silver bullet. Instead, this article offers pearls of wisdom and insight that will help with work culture, if we put them to good use.

My book A Culture of Influence: The 5 Irrefutable Factors at the HEART of Thriving Organizations provides an in-depth understanding of work culture and how to create one that thrives.  To order a copy, visit www.mildredhooks.com/book

About Me

I’m a speaker, and author, and the Founder and Principal Consultant of People Optimum Consulting, LLC. My company is founded on 20-plus years of extensive, in-depth senior HR leadership experience.

I facilitate training and development programs, coach leaders, and consult organizations through strategic efforts using a HEART © based approach. Strategic initiatives may include, but are not limited to:

  • organizational change management
  • organizational culture development
  • leadership, team, and staff development training
  • strategic alignment
  • employee engagement surveys and enhancement strategies
  • executive coaching
  • operational analysis for improvement

Whether you are in the C-suite, a regional leader, or an HR leader, consider my company to be your business partner. I know work environments, and I understand the challenges that you face. My solutions get to the heart of the matter.

For more information on People Optimum Consulting, LLC visit us at www.peopleoptimum.com or contact Mildred Black Hooks directly at 205.201.0040 or mildred.hooks@peopleoptimum.com.  Visit www.mildredhooks.com/book to pre-order my latest book.


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