“The Culture Blueprint: How to Shift and Design Your Company’s Culture” (Robert Richman)

Robert Richman, author, speaker and culture architect (former manager of Zappos Insights), discusses his forthcoming book, “The Culture Blueprint: The Step-by-Step Guide to Shift and Design Your Company’s Culture”

Here’s what we asked Robert:

  1. Your background is intriguing. For those who don’t know, tell us who Zappos is and the role of Zappos Insights
  2. First, how do you describe “Culture” and what mistakes do people make when defining it for their own companies?
  3. Why is culture SO key; so important?
  4. Like anything else in business, must we begin with vision, mission and values? How do these 3 things differ?
  5. In the book, you remind us that we’re still using military-based language like, “Strategy, Recruit, Train, Fire, Execute, Target, Engage, etc.” Why is this not a good thing?
  6. You say, “It is easy to forget that the external success of an organization is positively correlated to its internal successes.”
  7. You say, “Share what you want to keep.” I’d imagine most people might resist embracing this one. Please explain.
  8. Talk to us about what you call “Culture Hacks”
  9. Give us a favorite culture hack.
  10. You recommend not measuring call times or using scripts…
  11. I must admit, I’m a little tired of the buzz-word, “Buy-in.” – You wrote a section titled “The end of Buy-in.”
  12. How can we be sure someone is a good “Culture fit?”
  13. We hear so much today about the power of STORY – how does “Story” and “Storytelling” fit into all of this?
  14. So many of the companies I work with suffer from fear … more specifically, their employees don’t feel safe having a voice. What can this do to a culture and how can we avoid it from happening in the first place?
  15. Zappos is kind of famous for its offer to pay new hires to quit – what’s that all about?
  16. What do you say to those business owners who claim, “You can have great customer service, but at the end of the day doesn’t it just come down to who’s got the lowest price?
  17. Many companies have an advertising budget, but should everyone also have a customer service budget?
  18. You list several “Immediate wins; Silver Bullets” – what are they?


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