Authors Help to End the Epidemic of Toxic Workplaces & Destructive Culture

Co-authors Karin Hunt and David Dye of Winning Well: A Managers Guide to Getting Results Without Losing Your Soul help companies and businesses “win well” and get results by ending the epidemic of toxic workplaces and destructive cultures and not just about winning (aka getting results) — but, as you can guess, Winning Well. Karin Hurt is a former Verizon Wireless executive with over two decades of experience in sales, marketing, customer service, and human resources. David Dye is a former executive and elected official with over two decades of experiences building organizations, leading teams, and working with Boards of Directors to transform their effectiveness. We asked them about their background, what they do for their business and how they help businesses.

Tell us a little about your background and why you started your business? 

We’ve built Let’s Grow Leaders because we have a passion to help managers at every level of organizations to build the confidence and competence necessary to achieve lasting breakthrough results and increased influence.


Could you tell us about your products and services? 

We provide practical leadership inspiration through keynotes, training programs, consulting, and strategic advising that are all based on our real-world experiences as managers and executives. Our most popular product is a leadership development intensive that takes place over 3-6 months, equips managers with real-world tools that they apply to their work through targeted action learning. Unlike one-and-done training that goes on a shelf when it’s finished, everything is structured to produce lasting behavior change and real business results.


What are some of the issues that business might experience in the workplace? What advice would you give to solve those problems? 

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One of the most difficult issues we see are tough conversations to inspire behavior change. When it comes to tough conversations, even seasoned leaders can find feedback conversations about negative performance tough.

An appropriate feedback conversation is a short, specific talk that:

  • Draws attention to the performance issue
  • Facilitates mutual discussion
  • Inspires and confirms commitment to new behavior

To begin and guide such a conversation, leaders can use the I.N.S.P.I.R.E. feedback script:

I—Initiate: Initiate the conversation in a respectful manner.

N—Notice: Share your concern or observation eg: “I’ve noticed there are paint drips on the floor when you leave a job.”

S—Specific Support: Provide specific, supporting evidence you can see. Eg: “In the last two homes you painted, there were splatters on the hardwood in the dining room and on the rug in the baby’s room.”

P—Probe: After you present the situation, the employee needs a chance to talk. Ask a question in a neutral, curious tone to allow her to share any relevant information. Generally, “What happened?” is adequate and allows the person to share information or to own the situation.

I—Invite: Once he’s had a chance to share his thoughts, invite him to solve the problem. Start with a review of the expectations, then ask for his thoughts on how to resolve the issue. If he can’t come up with an effective solution, you can provide specific suggestions on how the employee could improve.

R—Review: Ask one or two open-ended questions to check for understanding and one closed-ended question to secure commitment. Eg: “Would you please recap what you will do next time?”

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E—Enforce: Enforce the behavior and why it’s important while reinforcing your confidence that the employee can do this. Eg: “I’ll see you at 9:00 a.m. for the next meeting. You are an important member of the team, and we don’t make the best decisions without you.”

When behavior doesn’t change, it’s often because the feedback is too vague, or the conversation goes so long that the employee forgets what he needs to do. Work to I.N.S.P.I.R.E. specific behavior change through managing the art of these tough conversations.


What advice or tips would you give for people that are trying to end toxic workplaces and destructive cultures? 

Our first advice is that change always starts with you. What are you modeling? We’ve worked with several executives who didn’t like how their people were behaving – but the people were doing what they saw their boss do.

Earlier in our careers, we were able to make significant changes in internal cultures, but that work starts with the culture you build within your own team.

When people who interact with your team come out of those interactions saying “Wow – that is an awesome group of people doing amazing work. I want to be treated like that, treat others like that, achieve results like that, and be a part of something fantastic!” – then your culture will start to spread.

We call this a “cultural oasis.” You create a culture within the team for which you are responsible. You may have to coach them to remain positive and to stay focused on results and relationships when others in the organization don’t understand them or minimize their work.

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Changing a culture from the inside takes time and starts with the culture you create within your team.

If it’s your company that feels toxic, focus on results and relationships. Build healthy relationships with the human beings in your organization. Reward people based on both what they achieve and how they achieve it – rewarding achievements that are accomplished through toxic means tells your people what you really care about.


Tell us a little about your book and what it was about. 

Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results Without Losing Your Soul is a one-stop-solution to help managers achieve breakthrough results in difficult situations.

Executives set aggressive goals, so managers drive their teams to burnout trying to deliver. Or, employees seek connection and support, so managers focus on relationships . . . and fail to make the numbers. The fallout is stress, frustration, and disengagement, and not just among team members—two-thirds of managers report being disengaged.

To succeed, managers cannot choose between results and relationships. They need both: They must get people to achieve while creating an environment that makes them truly want to. Winning Well offers managers a quick, practical action plan—complete with examples, stories, and online assessments.

Today’s hypercompetitive economy has created tense, overextended workplaces. Winning Well helps leaders keep it productive, rewarding, and even fun.


Anything additional that you would like to tell our readers? 

We have many free resources available to support managers who want to achieve breakthough results that last. You can download a free Winning Well toolkit and a Facilitator’s guide at www.LetsGrowLeaders.com


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