Fortune released its annual “100 Best Companies to Work For” list, and the results are always fascinating to analyze. Editor-in-Chief Clifton Leaf kicked around several reasons why these companies made the list (“Building an Idea Factory” March 2018, p. 6). Perks such as unlimited vacation time, sabbaticals, and periodic blocks of time to work on anything without regard to the company’s normal agenda are just a few of the items that make these companies so effective at attracting and keeping talent.

The relationship however is symbiotic. All that tangible and intangible investment in its people directly drives benefits to the organization as a whole. This derives from that larger factor that causes employees to deliver their best every day—the corporate culture. Ultimately, it is the defining ingredient of any company. Leaf speaks to this concept indirectly:

“Not every company, of course, has that kind of relationship with its employees . . . But employers who can forge that trust with their workers seem to have an extra advantage on the competition: They get a potentially never-ending font of fresh ideas.”

The corporate culture drives innovation and innovation drives company success. Without that high-quality corporate culture, the opposite occurs, and that is why I say corporate culture is the defining ingredient of every organization. Here are four truths about corporate culture:

1—Corporate culture always moves from the top down. An organization’s leaders set the tone for the entire organization. Regardless of whether you have a rotten corporate culture or a golden corporate culture, look to the leadership. You can usually see the connection.

2—Corporate culture by definition is omnipresent. Whatever the company’s pervading values, ideas, behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs are, they tend to be everywhere. You cannot escape your corporate culture and that is why it absolutely affects everything you do.

3—Corporate culture can be changed. Notice I did not say “will be,” but “can be.” I have seen organizations willfully, strategically, and effectively change their corporate culture. It demands a great deal of group and individual soul searching, but for the organizations that are willing to do that, success will eventually arrive.

4—Corporate culture will make or break your company. This is why corporate culture is one of those nonnegotiables. When it comes to the story of a thriving, vibrant, successful company, high-quality corporate culture must be there in the beginning, the middle, and the end. Too many companies with great products and services have met their demise due to a dysfunctional corporate culture. On the other hand, when an exquisite corporate culture is in play, it is a beautiful thing to behold; as much art as it is science, as much relationships as it is tasks.

Thinking about your own organization, here are some questions worth asking:

  • How is your organization defined?
  • How do you want your organization to be defined?
  • What is your corporate culture?
  • Does your corporate culture need to change?
  • Will your corporate culture change?

How you answer those questions may very well send you on one of the most exciting and productive adventures of your career. I wish you the best!


Facebook has woven its way into so many people’s lives and thinking it is taken for granted now. With over two billion monthly users, the behemoth continues to grow, steadily entrenching itself into the social routines of our daily existence. That phenomenon alone is not disturbing to me. What is disturbing to me is the number of people who continue to misuse Facebook to their own detriment. Tragically, much of Facebook’s misuse happens behind closed doors deep within the chasms of individual psyches.

In May 2012, the cover story of The Atlantic was, “Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?” by Stephen Marche (pp. 60–69). Marche, a novelist and an Esquire columnist, insightfully challenges us to explore those dynamics deep within the chasms of individual psyches. In Marche’s concluding thoughts about Facebook’s psychological and emotional influence, he accurately captures the essence of the struggle into which many people fall:

“Our omnipresent new technologies lure us toward increasingly superficial connections at exactly the same moment that they make avoiding the mess of human interaction easy. . . .

But the price of this smooth sociability is a constant compulsion to assert one’s own happiness, one’s own fulfillment. Not only must we contend with the social bounty of others; we must foster the appearance of our own social bounty. Being happy all the time, pretending to be happy, actually attempting to be happy—it’s exhausting.” (p. 68)

My contention is that the fundamental reason so many people succumb to this mindset is a lack of wholeness and personhood independent of social media. Facebook does not directly harm people—it is what people bring to Facebook that does. The proper and healthy use of social media presupposes that you are proper and healthy. With these thoughts in mind, these are my suggestions for all Facebook users:

1—Don’t expect Facebook to fill the voids in your life you should be filling yourself. Facebook is not a religion, philosophy, 12-step program, psychologist, counselor, mentor, spiritual advisor, spouse, lover, or God. It is up to you to seek those resources as you feel so led. Don’t let Facebook become their substitute.

2—Don’t fall into the trap that because other people look happy, they are and you are not. We all have our demons. They just don’t show on the outside. Life is not easy. We live in an imperfect world with imperfect people including the person you and I meet in the mirror daily. Remember—pictures and posts capture happy moments in time that we memorialize and thereby artificially overemphasize. Pictures and posts don’t usually tell the whole story . . . and they certainly don’t tell the “hole” story.

3—Build your life on things that count for the long term: Faith, absolutes, family, relationships, values, serving, quality, nobility, virtue, and truth. Facebook can be just one small outlet and avenue for these things, but it is not the object upon which you build your life.

4—Facebook—like all social media—is merely a tool. How you choose to use that tool is your decision. Facebook can be a catalyst for growth in our relationships, professional lives, personal lives, and spiritual lives. Nevertheless, it is still just one tool in service to these endeavors. Don’t expect it to be more than that.

5—As our business world and our virtual world continue to evolve, you must remain authentic, optimistic, open, and alert. Social media isn’t disappearing. The best thing we can do is remain authentic, optimistic, open, and alert. That stance will ensure we maintain a balanced perspective. It will prevent us from prematurely accepting, condoning, rejecting, or condemning any new social media phenomenon.

Are you healthy enough to handle Facebook? I hope you are. But if not, then please don’t go there.


Although I frequently make fun of artificial intelligence due to some of its inherent limitations for certain situations, the fact remains that when AI works well, it works extremely well. Additionally, as big data gets bigger, AI becomes stronger. This is proven by current trends in healthcare technology.

No one would deny that the screening colonoscopy is an invasive procedure. That is exactly why many people search for every opportunity to use some kind of a substitute process. Researchers have been attempting to satisfy this demand. An Israeli health-tech company, Medial EarlySign has created a blood test called ColonFlag that capitalizes on AI and big data to determine colon cancer risk. The blood test performs rather well as Paul Tullis reports (“Colonoscopy? I’ll Take a Blood Test” Bloomberg Businessweek. January 15, 2018, pp. 24–25):

ColonFlag . . . predicts colon cancer twice as well as the fecal exam that’s the industry-standard colonoscopy alternative. . . . ColonFlag compares new blood tests against a patient’s previous diagnostics, as well as Medial’s proprietary database of 20 million anonymized tests spanning three decades and three continents, to evaluate the patient’s likelihood of harboring cancer.” (p. 24)

Another excellent example of AI’s value in healthcare is mammogram interpretation. Houston Methodist Hospital is using AI software for this task with much more effectiveness compared to human doctors. Authors Frank Malcolm, Paul Roehrig, and Ben Pring summarize (What to Do When Machines Do Everything: How to Get Ahead in a World of AI, Algorithms, Bots, and Big Data. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2017):

AI software . . . interprets [mammogram results] 30 times faster than doctors and with 99% accuracy. By contrast, mammograms reviewed by humans result in unnecessary biopsies nearly 20% of the time.” (p. 2)

You’ve heard of safety in numbers. AI and big data are proving the concept in exciting new dimensions.


The brand new year of 2018 is upon us. How successful you or I will be in it is largely up to us. Much of that is further determined by how open we are to moving in new directions. Moving in new directions could mean a lot of different things depending on life circumstances.

Here are important points to ponder as you prepare for success in 2018:

Be Positive Regardless Of Your Problems. Yes, I realize you do not have to look far to find difficulties, roadblocks, and bad news. Nevertheless, carrying a negative attitude into those challenges never did any good, did it? On the other hand, by attacking every challenge with a positive attitude, you consciously and subconsciously unleash more resources. Those additional resources often make a significant difference in the outcome.

Face Your Failures. Sometimes it is easier to hide from your failures. Nevertheless, denial does not mean deletion. Worse yet, denial does you a disservice. Only by fully facing the things you messed up can you learn from them. You should be smarter entering 2018 than you were entering 2017.

If You Are A Business Owner. You might come to realize 2018 demands some new strategies and policies. Will you implement them, and if so, how will you implement them? Thinking those steps through ahead of time can make all the difference in the world. Change is not always easy, but by planning for it and embracing it with a positive attitude you can make it more enjoyable and exciting.

If You Are An Employee. Think about how you can add more value to your organization. Might you have some new approaches that will benefit your colleagues and customers? Do you have ideas or insights whose time has come? Look for new or unique ways to enhance collaboration and success for your team.

If You Are Unemployed. How might this be an opportunity to reinvent you? Could this be the time you search in some totally different directions for that dream job? Although searching for a new job is a fulltime job, remember to give yourself some downtime. Perhaps now is the perfect time to dive into some of those pie-in-the-sky projects you just never had time for in the past. How might you reorganize your life for better balance going forward?

Never Discount Your Experience. You are usually your worst critic. Take a fresh look at all your experience with an eye to capitalizing upon the hidden gold. Surely there are some lessons you have learned from which you can benefit. By taking stock of those lessons now, you can build toward more solid successes in 2018. You can bring a vibrant freshness to your future. Pay attention to what Mel Robbins affirms (The 5 Second Rule. United States: Savio Republic, 2017):

“There will always be someone who can’t see your worth. Don’t let it be you.” (p. 193)

Appreciate The Beauty Within Each Day. Sure, life is tough. But it’s a whole lot more than that. Life is an absolutely amazing gift! In spite of all the difficulties, your successful navigation day by day and moment by moment happens when you paradoxically see the intrinsic beauty that is transcendently present. L. R. Knost captures the sentiment well:

“Life is amazing. And then it’s awful. And then it’s amazing again. And in between the amazing and awful it’s ordinary and mundane and routine. Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale during the ordinary. That’s just living heartbreaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life. And it’s breathtakingly beautiful.”

Be Humble. I never met a person who thought he or she knew it all that learned something new. I enjoy learning new things . . . every single day. However, I will never learn something new if I already know it all.

Remember Your Resources. You have friends, mentors, and loved ones around you who genuinely care about you. You have a philosophy of life, and religious and spiritual convictions that sustain you. You have hidden opportunities just waiting to be discovered. You have time-tested strengths and abilities. Summon all those terrific resources because they are there to serve you.

This year could become the most successful year of your life. Make it so!


Very soon, 2017 will be history. Now is a good time to assess how you did. If we never pause to assess our performance, we might forfeit valuable lessons. With that in mind, here are four questions I challenge you—as I challenge myself—to ask concerning 2017:

  • How did you do in your business performance? Reflecting upon all the professional roles you have held, how did you perform? Did you do your job with energy, accuracy, enthusiasm, and insight? By reflecting upon your business performance, you can bask in some well-deserved affirmation of the highlights. You can also reengineer your business approach where some fine tuning might be needed.
  • How did you do in your ethics performance? Did you stand tall and true to your ethics regardless of the cost? By reflecting upon those times when your ethical commitment was put to the test and it stood strong, you can rejoice in your victories. You can also rethink your approach to ethics if you found yourself coming up short for any reason.
  • How did you do in your leadership performance? Did you exercise strategic and sound leadership in every situation that demanded it? By reflecting upon your various leadership situations, you can affirm your leadership where it was tested and found to be solid. You can also identify those situations that may have revealed some leadership deficits and begin seeking ways to improve and refine.
  • How did you do in your personal performance? Did you exhibit maturity, passion, strength, and wisdom as you managed your attitude, money, opportunities, relationships, loved ones, spiritual or religious convictions, physical fitness, emotional and mental fitness, and overall wellness? By reflecting upon your personal performance in these areas, you can take comfort and joy where you know you brought your best self to the table. You can also take a hard look at any of those areas in which you know deep in your heart that improvement is needed.

These four questions are revealing. If you enjoy your answers, I am happy for you! On the other hand, if you are unhappy with the answers to any of these questions, then some thoughtful, soul-searching realignment is needed.

Now for the especially exciting news: you have the power to make the needed changes. Our failures are only meaningless if we do not learn from them. Let us learn from them so we can make 2018 the best year ever!