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Culture Is the Way

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Culture Is the Way

How Leaders at Every Level Build an Organization for Speed, Impact, and Excellence


15 min read
9 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Bad culture kills companies. Great culture raises companies to the heights.

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Executives absorbed by revenue, profits and market share also need to pay attention to corporate culture – often a controlling or highly influential factor in competitive advantage, performance,engagementand operational excellence. Former Chicago Bears linebacker Matt Mayberry spells out this sometimes-elusive concept, drawing lessons from NFL football. To succeed, he says, firms must plan and implement the culture they want at every level. Executives set the pace, but corporate culture ultimately is a bottom-upendeavor, so involve your employees. Mayberry shares insights from professional sports, including his take on teamwork, peak performance and the central role of organizational culture.


All good things become possible with a robust and sustainable culture.

Culture matters in every organization, as Matt Mayberry, a linebacker with the National Football League’s Chicago Bears, learned when he played football at Indiana University. When Mayberry joined the team, his college was one of the worst performers in the Big Ten Conference. Then Terry Hoeppner (“Coach Hep”) became the head coach and changed everything for his team.

Coach Hep energized his players’ enthusiasm for football and for representing their university. He engaged his players by reading memorable poems to them and sharing inspirational quotes. Coach Hep told his players, including Mayberry, that their team would win if they were willing to change its culture. The most significant change, he said, is that the players had to expect to win games, not lose them.

During Mayberry’s sophomore year, Coach Hep died of a severe illness. The players dedicated the season to him and tried to embody his “passion, vision and spirit” on and off the field by putting the cultural change he wanted into action. 

Thanks to their new spirit, the Indiana...

About the Author

Linebacker Matt Mayberry played for the NCAA’s Indiana Hoosiers and the NFL’s Chicago Bears. He gives speeches and appears on television to discuss leadership development, performance, culture and teamwork, and has written for Forbes, Fortune, Business Insider and Entrepreneur, among others.

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