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Total Duration: 24:19

Download episode 25

It happens regularly... my phone rings, I pick it up, and on the other end I'm talking with someone who's inquiring about bringing us in to deliver a keynote for a company event or training for their organization.

My first response is not whether I'm available on the dates they're looking for. My first questions are designed to help me understand the problems they're trying to solve. Once I have a good sense of the issues they want to address, I inevitably ask a critical, open-ended question: "Tell me about the culture of your organization?"

How would you respond to that question? How would you describe your company's culture? Or the culture of your team? How about the project culture at your company--how things get done?

This is what I've found: understanding organizational culture is critical to being able to deliver projects and lead teams. If I don't have a decent idea of the culture I'm walking into for a keynote, workshop, or coaching session, I flat out won't be effective. It would be like walking in and finding that everyone speaks a foreign language.

Dr. Ed Schein is a world-renowned MIT professor and expert on organizational culture, and has authored fourteen business books, including The Corporate Culture Survival Guide. When it comes to knowing how to get things done in a company, Ed is one of my heroes, so I was very excited to have the opportunity to speak with him recently.

This episode contains the first part of my discussion with Dr. Schein, with the remaining to be included in the next cast.

See Part 2 of my interview with Dr. Schein will focus on his book Helping: How to Offer, Give, and Receive Help.

Thank you for joining us for this episode of the People and Projects Podcast! Have a great week!

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