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Why Culture is like Integrative Medicine

What's the thread?

20 years ago, my sister Theresa and I were running a successful brand agency called Allegory Studios. We worked with all types of businesses from technology and transportation to professional services and education.

After hundreds of successful client projects, something became clear to us—there was a vital element that contributed to the success of many of the companies we worked with…


 When Theresa and I look back on our projects at Allegory, we saw our clients take hold of their culture and use it to transform and lead their company to create real impact.

Culture work would light a fire under the organization to have an applicable way to talk about and see themselves. Culture work would solve some of their biggest issues (such as internal organization and leadership issues, branding and marketing, and hiring and retention).

The work created wins for their businesses such as:

  • A corporate events company that expanded from 1 to 4 states, 4 to 9 offices, and achieved 2X revenue and 2X+ EBITDA before being acquired.
  • A key department in an international entertainment company that elevated their internal brand and enhanced team effectiveness and impact.
  • A national trucking company that achieved exceptional driver retention rates, was named the Best Fleets to Drive For (7 years in a row!),and grew their fleet from 150 to 440 trucks.
  • A non-profit that successfully launched and exceeded their capital campaign to build their new campus.

You see, when most successful clients got it—they got it. They understood who they were, how to communicate both internally and to the market, and they were able to use culture work for so many purposes. Culture was the thread that weaved through the success and ultimate impact of these clients.

But WHY Culture?

We often talk about culture being something tangible that you can measure, manage, and lead. We also like to compare culture to integrative medicine.

  • In Western medicine, we often treat the symptoms. It’s more of a clinical view of a problem.
  • In Eastern medicine, it’s more holistic—looking at the whole person, at the inter-connected systems and energy around it.

CultureTalk offers a more integrative approach to individual and organizational work — a holistic approach that looks at all of us together, along with the individual parts and how they all roll up to each other. We believe in the Western approach of measure, manage, lead and the Eastern approach of the holistic view of the self and people involved.

When we view our businesses, organizations, or clients in this way — we can more effectively create actionable strategies and real world impact because we see ourselves and our businesses in a comprehensive way.

OK, but why is the culture approach so important right now?

The world has big problems.

The business world has big problems also.

At CultureTalk, we are working to heal some of those problems with practical and effective solutions. With all of the different points of pain we have in business – culture touches them all.

More and more companies are waking up to the understanding that they have to be about more than just the bottom line. The previous frameworks of business and leadership have been leading us towards these societal problems.

We need to fix our cultures. Because when we fix our cultures, it means we really care and we can impact our people and our work on a deeper level.

We believe culture is the ultimate navigation system for business.

Culture is the key to substantial shifts in a company. And even though this “people work” is sometimes called the “soft skill” — it’s often actually the hardest stuff to work on. We have a way to make the “soft stuff” easier.

Because once you understand both people and an organization’s Archetype (the tool and framework we use)… you can get the best and the most out of people in an authentic and positive way.

Do you want to learn how to apply this powerful culture work to your business, your organization, or your clients? Join us for the next 8-Week Workplace Culture Certification.