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March 24, 2016
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April 1, 2016

It Takes Character Strength to Go Out of Character

It Takes Character Strength to Go Out of Character

Last week I spoke at the Superheroes Leadership Conference at Carilion Healthcare in beautiful Roanoke, Virginia. The person who was to introduce me was Don Halliwell, the health system’s Chief Financial Officer.

Now, in my experience CFOs are usually pretty conservative and straight-laced. The strongest supporters of our work on values and culture often are finance officers, partly because they understand that the financial health of the organization tomorrow will be profoundly influenced by its cultural health today. But that support is often quiet and behind the scenes.

So you can imagine my surprise when Don came out dressed as Ralphie the pink bunny from Christmas Story (he was, of course, quickly dubbed “the money bunny”). He wanted to make the point that we can all be superheroes, and that to move the dial on culture we would need to get out of our mental boxes, to have the strength of character to act out of character.

As I mentioned in the last Spark Plug, the people of Carilion Clinic are now engaged in The Pickle Challenge for Charity – turning complaints into contributions to foster a more positive and productive organizational culture.

Dressed as Ralphie, Don was making a point in a way that could not be made with words or with numbers: We must change, that is not an option, but we can still approach change with a light heart. We can laugh and have fun and not take ourselves too seriously.


Next week I will be sharing results of my one question survey on Spark Plug readers’ perceptions regarding the culture in their organizations. It’s not too late to have your response included – and it will take ten seconds, max. The question is posted on Survey Monkey and your response is totally and absolutely anonymous. Just click on this link:
One Question Culture Survey

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