CEO BrainFood

014 Create a Living Culture with Authentic Leadership

Episode Summary

Welcome to CEO Brain Food, a show aimed at providing key insights, fresh perspectives, and proven tools that CEOs can apply to build enterprise value, generate higher profits and develop the talent needed to succeed in their businesses. In this episode of CEO Brain Food, Michael takes a deep dive into the process of creating the right culture through authentic leadership. Culture is a differentiator in the market, which sets organizations like Zappos and Disney apart from their competitors. Michael speaks to the importance of building trust in order to become an authentic leader. Finally, Michael provides a series of questions we can ask ourselves to see if we are aligned with the core values of our organizations.

Episode Notes

01:56 – Introducing today’s topic: Creating a Living Culture with Authentic Leadership 

02:10 – Defining what we mean by ‘culture’ 

05:35 – The Theranos Example 

07:12 – Culture as a differentiator 

08:12 – Understanding your core values 

10:19 – The Zappos Example 

12:22 – Why leadership is key to culture 

14:19 – Authentic leadership defined 

16:17 – The importance of building trust 

18:08 – The Operations vs. Sales Example 

19:24 – Taking a financial hit in order to retain the integrity of core values 

20:30 – Characteristics of an authentic leader 

21:34 – Finding your purpose 

22:34 – The Disney Example 

24:56 – Michael reiterates the importance of differentiating yourself through authentic leadership 

27:29 – Michael teases the topic of the next episode of CEO Brain Food

27:58 – Where to find Michael’s Functional Team Scorecard 


“To me, culture is your combination of your core values, your purpose, and the direction your company is taking.” (02:23)  

“When you have a great culture, it can be a differentiator in the market.” (04:23)  

“Be thinking about culture as a way to be different, a way to differentiate yourself.” (07:12)  

“Leadership creates culture. So, if you’re the CEO, your job is to articulate why your company exists, what it stands for, what it believes in, and what it values and especially where it’s headed.” (12:22)  

“To build trust you need to be vulnerable. You need to be able to say, ‘Gee, I don’t know the answer to that question. Let’s do some research and figure this out.’” (16:17)  

“The authentic leader is gonna show what they do and how they do it by consistently demonstrating with their own behaviors – their words and actions – their commitment to the core values and the core purpose of the company.” (20:30)  

“By choosing true authenticity, your team is going to have more confidence in you.” (26:46)  


Michael’s LinkedIn

Michael’s Website

The REMARKable Triangle

The Functional Team Scorecard

Jim Collins' Website


Organizational Culture and Leadership

Built to Last