‘C’ stands for culture

Build leadership skills at the WAC’s CEO forums

By Teri Citterman, Executive Coach

The WAC’s first From the CEO’s Perspective leadership forum sold out as three of Seattle’s most groundbreaking CEOs—Unikrn’s Rahul Sood, Fuel Talent’s Shauna Swerland, and Bittrex’s Bill Shihara—joined me for an animated discussion about how their companies grow, pivot, hit milestones, and overcome mistakes. And what role they, as CEOs, play in bringing their companies’ culture and values to life.

We launched into a lively conversation that hit on all kinds of topics—from hiring for diversity and inclusion, to initiatives that had the biggest impact on culture, to destructive forces that had to be eliminated.

***Join the next leadership forum on Thursday, November 21, in the Crystal Ballroom***

I enjoyed the comments about modeling the opposite of complacency and about fighting complacency with grit and tenacity. No matter the size of company you intend to build, the principles of building culture don’t change. With intention, communication, evaluation, and action, you can find yourself with great people who are excited to show up and figure out how their efforts move the needle forward.

But the opposite is true, too. We see CEOs who leave culture to chance and then find themselves genuinely perplexed when people get burned out and high performers leave. In a word—culture!

***The CEOs of BECU, Delta Dental of Washington, and PCC will join us on November 21***

We also discussed playing video games as a hiring strategy and choosing people over money. Oh, and some advice: Listen to your kids because they may have the next billion-dollar business idea. Finally, no conversation would be complete without a story about a team-building exercise that started with a potato launcher and ended with the police (not kidding!). If you were there, you know what I’m talking about. If you weren’t, now you know you should have been.

The WAC’s next leadership forum is set for Thursday, November 21. Tickets are $50 for WAC members and $60 for guests. Find Teri’s book, “From the CEO’s Perspective,” in the WAC Club Shop.

A version of this story was first published in the July/August 2019 issue of WAC Magazine

—Updated August 15, 2019; DM