Putting Your Culture Into Perspective

There are many stories that illustrate what is important in life.  The moral of many is that what we think is so important professionally will not matter much when we are facing death.  I was recently stimulated to think about the issue from a new perspective.

Root Inc. is a consulting firm in Ohio.  I have worked with them many times.  They are the essence of a purpose driven, positive organization.  People love to work there.  Jim Haudan, the Chairman, and Rich Berens, the CEO, recently wrote a book called Blind Spots: Conquering the 5 Misconceptions that Hold Leaders Back.  In the book they tell a story that captured my imagination.

One of their employees, Arden Brion was rushed to a hospital with a serious heart problem.  He was told he had 90 minutes until they would operate and the odds were not good, he should call his family and say goodbye.  He did.  Then he made one other call.  It was to Jim and Rich.  He told them that working at Root was one of the greatest privileges of his life because the company allowed him to make a difference.

Arden beat the odds and lived.   Yet the story is provocative.  In the face of death, he called his bosses to say thank you for the culture they built.  He was specifically thankful that it provided a context that allowed him to make a difference, to realize his purpose.


  • Does the culture of your organization allow people to realize their highest purpose?
  • On their deathbed how many people are going to call you to thank you for the culture you created?
  • As a leader what could you do today to deserve a better culture?
  • How could we use this passage to create a more positive organizaiton?

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