Claudette Rowley, Cultural Brilliance – InnovaBuzz 185

Claudette Rowley

Claudette Rowley, Cultural Brilliance

In this episode, I’m really excited to have on the InnovaBuzz podcast as my guest, Claudette Rowley, the CEO of Cultural Brilliance, a cultural design and change management consultancy.

Over the past twenty years, Claudette has consulted, trained, and coached executive leaders and teams at Fortune 1000 companies, small businesses, academic institutions, and start-ups, helping them create proactive and innovative workplace cultures that deliver outstanding results. She lays out a road map for organizational success in her new book, Cultural Brilliance: The DNA of Organizational Excellence.

In our discussion, Claudette talked to me about

  • Her cultural framework that goes beyond just the beliefs and mindsets that drive behaviour
  • The emotional energy within the culture and how to be aware of that energy
  • Building a cultural “safety zone” to allow people to open up, which is when change starts to happen

Jackie Lapin on episode 177 suggested we interview Claudette.

Listen to the podcast to find out more.

Listen to the Podcast

Cultural Brilliance is having a culture that uses its potential. It increases your business success and your ability to adapt to change. @RowleyClaudette on #InnovaBuzz podcast Share on X

Show Notes from this episode with Claudette Rowley, author of Cultural Brilliance

Key points and take-aways from this episode include:

  • Culture is often described as a set of beliefs and mindsets that drive the behaviours in an organisation.
  • Behaviour is what gets us the results and what causes us to make decisions in certain ways.
  • Claudette’s book “Cultural Brilliance” talks about culture as a system of mindsets.
  • Create a Cultural Safety Zone – an environment where it is safe for people to tell the truth about how a culture operates.
  • Cultural Brilliance is having a culture that uses its potential. It increases your business success and your ability to adapt to change. 
  • The Cultural Brilliance Framework:
    • Authenticity Phase – getting to the heart of what is really going on and understanding it.
    • Adaptogen Design Phase – designing a culture that can adapt to change in ways that decrease stress and increase learning and success.
    • Aware Integration Phase – planning how to implement the cultural design from a perspective of a different mindset.
  • To make behavioral changes very easy and aligned, as much as possible, make sure that the ideas are coming from the employees that need to make the change.
  • One of the jobs of an organisation is to provide a culture in which people can learn. 
  • When you make learning a two-way street, learning becomes easier.
  • It takes more than just a leader or a leadership team to make a change. 
  • A leader should be a role model of healthy business behaviours, healthy cultural behaviours, and healthy relationship behaviors. 
  • Most people in a toxic environment, don’t like that it’s toxic. If given a choice to create something new and better, they will often take it if they are given a voice, they are respected and they are given the tools and clarity about what needs to happen. If you have enough people who are really invested in doing things differently it is absolutely and entirely possible.
  • Culture is always developing. It is always evolving and moving so it is important to be intentional about it.
  • Virtual teams should create opportunities for people to connect, get to know each other, and build relationships with each other. It is all about helping people build those bridges to each other and having the tools in place to do that. 
  • All cultures have the emotional energy. As human beings, we come to work with our emotions. It is all about noticing what is happening in the energy of the organisation and helping everybody move forward in a positive way that raises energy.
  • Start having those conversations about what kind of culture you need to develop and more importantly how you can build trust. That is a really huge foundation. 
When you make learning a two-way street, learning becomes easier. @RowleyClaudette #InnovaBuzz podcast Share on X

The Buzz – Our Innovation Round

Here are Claudette’s answers to the questions of our Innovation round. Listen to the interview to get the full scoop.

  1. #1 thing to be more innovative – Give yourself some time and space to notice what really excites you.
  2. Best thing for new ideas – Stop working and do something else.
  3. Favourite tool for innovation – “Just Start” book. 
  4. Keep project / client on track – Be clear about expectations up front. Stay in close touch and tune in to where objections may come up and addressing that.
  5. Differentiate – Authenticity. Be yourself. It’s really knowing who you are and what it looks like to be yourself.

To Be a Leader

Make sure your organization is set up for success. Spend some time on the culture. Really get a sense of anything in your culture that is holding you back in being as great and brilliant as you can be.

Reach Out

You can reach out and thank Claudette through her website and on Twitter.

Suggested Guest

Claudette suggested I interview Michael Mankins, the author of Time, Talent, Energy. So Michael, keep an eye on your inbox for an invitation from us to the InnovaBuzz podcast, courtesy of Claudette Rowley.



Cool things about Claudette

  • She teaches a course on culture and communication at Northeastern University
  • She’s a certified partner for the CultureTalk Survey and holds a master’s degree from the University of Michigan.
  • She’s an experienced practitioner in the Five Dysfunctions of Team methodology, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the Synergist Quiz, and Thomas Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument.

Listen to the Podcast

Jürgen Strauss

Dr. Jürgen Strauss is The World's Best Human-Centred Podcasting Coach and the only Podcast Innovator with the signature bright yellow headphones, who masterfully crafts human connection for high-impact achievers in a vibrant community. You can find Jürgen on LinkedIn, The InnovaBuzz Podcast, The Flywheel Nation Community as well as on Innovabiz' InstagramTwitter, Facebook pages and his personal Photography website.  

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