Leadership & Culture

Components of trust

Trust lies in intentions + behavior x consistency. It is mostly about being a virtuous human beings and following the Noble Eightfold path: right understandings, intention, speech, action, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, concentration.

People operate life based on survival needs and identity. As a employee of a company, I trust the leadership of the organization not only protect your human experience but also enhances it. It is about recognizing people's humanity, making them feel safe to connect and trust, sharing a mental model, working towards a common goals.

Here are the key factors: humanity, humanization, collective ikigai, circle of safety


For evaluating leadership

Discovery / Diagnostics / Auditing
Mental model / collective Ikigai
what is the team / organization / leader expectations?
What are the organization priorities? eg. clients, employees, investors, vendors
Selfless or self-serving?
What do the company stand for?
* Does everything the company do align with your own values
do you feel that you belong there?
do you feel safe / protected / secured?
do you have autonomy
are your opinions valued and taken seriously?
are your needs and wants satisfied?
is the company giving you resources / opportunities to develop your talents?
How do you prime a team for success / get everyone on the same page on the first meeting?
questioning their intentions and realigning thinking

Developing your company culture

Is it safe and comfortable to connect?
What are something that champions you as a hero, and how can you not do it?
How can you let your team members be the heroes?
Shared mental model & environment
How do you develop a environment & ecosystem that is:
high-purpose, results-oriented, identify and adress problems
How you develop a shared mental model, maps of meaning, be a collective unit
How do you align your values, expectations and priorities, boundaries
Discovery & Diagnostics
Why are you here? > why are we here ?
What are you expecting to get of this project, the team, and yourself?
How do we measure success?
How do you want to feel when we reach the finishing line?
How do we know are on track?
How will we encourage candor and feedback
how do you let the collective model become oxygen?
// based on the book culture code

Tribes by Seth Godin

Chapter 45

  • power of blog

  • if everyone could do it,it would not be worth more

Leaders eat last by Simon Sinek

Human beings are motivated by survival needs and identity. Good leadership lies in creating an environment, mental model, and personal connection that makes you safe, protected, secured, satisfied, balanced, empowered; in short it should protect your human experience but also enhances it.

Think about Foucault idea of "Discipline and Punish", and reverse it. Replace

  • Surveillance with Autonomy, freedom and trust

  • Normalization with no restrictions and narrow parameters

  • Examination & punishment with trust and empathy, empowering

  • Reformation of person mind > development of the individuality

  • Dehumanization with empathy

Keywords: empathy, putting others before ourselves, not seeking recognition from above, well-being of your team.

  • The factory dehumanizes people into sheep so remove

    • the time clocks

    • security measures

    • chains

Chemicals & Hormones

  • Endorphin - happy chemicals

  • Dopamine - rush we get when we check our phone

  • Cortisol - stress-inducing

  • Oxytoxin

Working ourselves to death

  • We adapt to adverse conditions very well but prolonged exposure to such environment will only damage both our physical and metal health when it becomes a normality

  • a good culture should have safety, trust, cooperation, protection and confidence = work-life balance, belonging to something bigger than themselves. When oxytoxin is increased, we live longer and healthier lives.

Why we have leaders

  • Leaders are there to bring in rules, orders, authority to avoid chaos because we are hierarchical creatures.

  • We associate a sense of entitlement to our status in the community; and status is biological thus making us obsessed with rankings. eg. the story of the Ceramic Cup and Styrofoam Cup

  • Price of social contract as leaders is that they have to protect the tribe, doing the right things, be the alpha

  • Leadership is a choice to serve others, with or without formal rank. You sacrifice for your team's well-being and accept the responsibility.Leader just need to remember whom they serve, and it will be an honor to serve them back.

  • Leaders are people whom we trust to obey rules but also the ones who know when to break them in the case of emergencies and crisises. We cannot trust rules but only rely on them. Trust only exists between people, and it works both way.

A historical perspective

  • During the Great War 1942, people came together to endure the roubling times.

  • Push and pull between generations = balance

  • baby boomers generation grew in a time of rising affluence and comfort hence there was a shift in paradigm: people fought for their preferences rather for the group, selfish ways, government cannot be trusted, more self-centered, me generation that was more concerned about personal happiness, serve yourself first.

  • President Reagan did a massive layoffs = putting commerce before people, devaluation of people


  • The Milgram experiment on obedience to authority figures was a series of social psychology experiments (1961). In a research study testing how people answering a series of questions that results in an electric shocking another party if the wrong answer was given, 65% of the participants (evidently more) were inclined to proceed with experiment if they are not able to see or hear the victim.

  • Abstractions happen in our daily lives such as with

    • numbers, it does not affect us deeply if there are thousands of deaths in Syria but you will feel more sympathy for a single person who perhaps got into a car accident and broke many bones. The reason lies in that relevance and connection to a tangible being. Human are visual-oriented creatures, we make sense of the world mostly with our sight which means to say we should show more than tell. We cannot trust numbers, we only exist between human beings.

    • At the workplace, abstraction occurs when the leader distance himself away from his organization. If you are more concerned with pursuing your self-interests, you risk not getting to know your employees as human beings but rather as a company business statistics

When leaders are self-serving

  • ​

Culture code

Collective Ikigai + safety ecosystem

Building teams and culture is about having shared values and maps of meaning, eliminating barriers and divisions, everyone is a hero and champion, transparency and communication, failing and learning together, consistently reminding ourselves of these values through supportive mantras and behaviors

Build it upon the virtues of respect, kindness, love, empathy, trust

Keywords: result-oriented mindset, high purpose, collective genius, putting the success of the team over the individuality, aligning expectations and values, shared mental model, belonging ques

Case studies

  1. Christmas truce of 1914

    • Shared values and views on the sacred holiday

    • being vulnerable and letting people go

  2. Gregg Popovich & San Antonio Spurs

    • Popovich knew the players' family, favourite food and restaurants, native country

  3. Hooligans & Surgeons

    • Teams that performed better had real time signals: framing, team rehearsals, explicit encouragement to speak up, feedback and and performance. Status, experience, and organization support did not factor.

Developing a shared mental model

  1. Leading for proficiency with Danny Myer

    • Created a home environment in his restaurants: empathy, kindness, respect, awareness, deliver

    • Watching for people's energy rise or fall when mistakes are made

    • Micro-processes: emotional capabilities, respectful treatment, management ???, a simple set of rules that stimulate complex and intricate behaviors benefiting customers

    • Mantras or key phrases: solve problems with graciousness, safety and

  2. Pixar: collective genius

    • Mental model: every good ideas start bad, very bad. Disaster is a necessity. You will never get the right answers right away to this cognitive puzzle,. Building purpose in a group does not equal to generating moments of breakthrough but rather systems that churn through a lot of idea and unearth the right choices. Priority is on the team rather than the idea.

    • Mantras: Face towards the problem, fail early, fail often, hire people smarter, B-level work is bad for your soul, invest in good people rather than in good ideas.

    • Being that lighthouse of purpose that continually echoes and remind what the team stands for

    • Moving to Disney: "Not another Pixar, we are going to build a studio based on your talents and passion.

    • Building purposes ≠ creativity = interacting, building ownership, aligning group energy, providing support towards arduous error filled fufilling jounrey of making something new, greatness as a state of mind

    • AAR after the film - kaizen, continual improvement ≠

  3. Others

    • crisis to crystallize team's purposes. Failing, trying reflect, evolve. Be 10x as clear about your priorities.

    • What are we about and where are we headed?

CoMotion Implementation

  • Aligning expectations & goals

    • external: work on CoMotion, put on portfolio, increasing employment opportunities

    • internal: I want to put my best foot forward for portfolio reviews

    • philosophical: I want to be part of something bigger because I am still learning

  • Success is not title sequence to impress employers or win awards, it's about how we brave through trials and tribulations together. It is precisely this reason that it just so happens that we make a kick ass title sequence and win awards