Like creativity, collaboration is a habit—and one I encourage you to develop. 

Twyla Tharp, The Collaborative Habit

Welcome back to Week 7 of the miniMBA. We're 1/2 way done! 

 If you are just joining us, you can catch up on the previous lessons here. Have you been finding these lessons valuable? This is a note to let you know that Early Bird Registration for the full Business Growth Program will open up on November 7th, but you can email me early to be put on my personal outreach list if you're interested in joining us in 2023. Looking forward to continued learning in 2023! 


On Saturday night, I headed up to New York City Center to see Twyla Tharp's company perform an all-star bill of two masterworks. In the Upper Room, set to a score by Philip Glass, is considered to be one of the greatest ballets of all time, and Nine Sinatra Songs is Twyla's take on intimacy. Both hold special meaning in my personal history, and I realize that attending these performances is vital to sustaining my work as a business consultant. As I wrote about in Week 3, the number one priority for a leader is to stay inspired. For each of us, inspiration takes on different forms. And for myself, if I am working to stay true to my company purpose—that successful entrepreneurship resides at the intersection of self-evolution, business growth, and the creative pursuit—I stay disciplined about finding that inspiration for the creative pursuit outside of my day-to-day work. Part of cultivating culture, even as a solopreneur, comes with engaging in the activities that embody the culture you want to create. 

Those outlets have become a ritual, something that not only keeps me inspired but builds the culture of my own private practice as a consultant. If our personnel tools are the foundation of our infrastructure, our culture initiatives help us build the vibe :)  Culture is collaborative, and as Twyla reminds us, collaboration is also a habit to be cultivated. The best way to build that habit and create and nurture culture is through culture initiatives, which can be considered a ritual for your company. 

Culture initiatives often get confused for perks. We might say we do things like give summer Fridays or have a continuing education stipend. And those things are not just great; they are amazing! But they are also not the full extent of culture-building initiatives. Perks are important, but our culture should not just be the sum of our perks. 

In the past, we might have also thought of team-building as things like going to happy hour or doing trust falls! (That video is not to be missed.) But in the 21st century, employees are looking for a deeper way to connect internally, which is why this entire section of the miniMBA is devoted to connection. And one of the ways to do this in a way that feels productive and growth-focused and not forced and arbitrary is through culture-building initiatives. 

Culture initiatives shouldn’t be considered part of our day-to-day work but should take place during the workday. They shouldn't require extra time from anyone, they should be activities that pull us out of our day-to-day and allow us to intentionally think about the culture and what it is we’re actively creating together. They should be executed at least once a quarter or in light of someone new starting at the company as a way to bring the team together to create the culture collaboratively. 


When we set out to create our initiatives, we want to consider our values and our purpose. We want to develop activities we can do by ourselves if we're a solopreneur or as a team that helps us better understand how we bring those values and that purpose to life and connect it back to our day-to-day work. For example, I cannot create weekly content if I'm not finding inspiration and, more importantly, models of growth, for these lessons outside of my teaching them. Culture initiatives serve three functions: to feel the culture, to actively create the culture by participating in the activity, and to grow our skillset or character. 

Sometimes clients will say, "I don't have a culture," but every business has a culture; it's just often not the one we wanted to create. We mistakenly think social activities like office happy hour build our culture. And though they do contribute to our culture, they usually aren't the extent of what it is we're trying to create. We can only create it by engaging with it. And in order to engage with it, we must identify those types of activities that will allow us to experience it for ourselves. 

Below I'll walk you through how to identify what type of activities are culture-building initiatives for your company.

Once you’ve decided what you’re going to do with your team, you can decide how frequently you’ll engage in these activities. Some activities can happen weekly - often at the beginning of team meetings or before a Friday team lunch. Some activities happen monthly if they require more time from the team's day. And some might be more involved and only take place once a quarter or once a year, such as bigger initiatives like retreats. 

Culture initiatives need not require financial resources either. Getting creative about what you can do without capital investment often brings more interesting solutions to the forefront. 

When we find ourselves constantly putting out fires or bogged down by the day-to-day, it can feel counter-intuitive to engage in these types of activities. But they exist to pull us out of our day-to-day, take a step back, and intentionally think about the culture we want to create for our company.

Use this week to clarify what your company's culture-building initiatives are. And then schedule them into your goals. We dedicate a whole week to thinking about this because culture initiatives are the fuel for your growth. They become the lifeblood of your business and allow you to sustain your vision and avoid burnout and apathy. 


What is the activity you're proposing: 

Why does it align with your values: 

How does it make you and/or your employees feel participating in it: 

If you have a team, is the activity collaborative: 

What type of growth does it facilitate for the team members participating: 

What resources do you need to implement it:

When will you implement it: 

What are the guidelines for implementing it: 

How frequently will you execute it: 


Brené Brown on Toxic Work Cultures

Good luck! We'll see you here next Wednesday for the third lesson of the Connection section. Week 8: Operations & Production. If you have a colleague who should join us, they can sign up here


How is it the end of the year already?! This November, we'll read Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds by Adrienne Marie Brown. This free event will be hosted on Tuesday, November 29th at 7PMEST via Zoom. Please email me to register. 

This email may contain affiliate links via such as our page. If you purchase through these, AHH may receive a small commission.


This week, I welcomed Luis Mojica to the pod to talk about his work at Holistic Life Navigation and how we relate to our businesses. 

And yesterday, I was back on the Buffer pod talking about Impact and Growth. 


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