Culture Archives - Kathy Varol


Life lessons from an ebike tour

I was recently in Portugal to give a keynote for PepsiCo’s SodaStream division. After the conference, my husband and I spent some time in Douro Valley, Portugal’s Port and Wine country. Imagine this: a breathtaking tapestry of rolling vineyards and quaint villages. Eager to soak in the beauty of the …

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The Art of Deliberate Emotional Craftsmanship

In the quiet of meditation, an analogy bubbled to the surface of my thoughts: Reacting in anger is like hammering a screw. Picture it—the sharp clank, the momentary satisfaction, the silence that follows. Yet, this forceful act yields no victory. The screw—battered, not bonded—inevitably slips from its purchase, leaving a …

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Employee engagement shouldn’t be this hard

We make employee engagement a lot harder than it needs to be. Look, employee dis-engagement is a challenge for companies everywhere, in every industry. Gallup recently reported that employee disengagement is currently costing businesses an estimated $8.8 trillion globally. To fix this costly crisis, leadership needs to understand the factors …

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What can Formula 1 teach us about culture?

I’ve never followed Formula 1, but I recently got hooked on the Netflix series Drive To Survive, and the unique organizational culture that propels the sport. There’s a lot about teamwork and collaboration that can be learned from the pit. In Formula 1, over the course of nine months, ten …

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Why you should rock the boat

The absence of psychological safety can show up in different ways. Acting “professionally” can be a social filter that doesn’t match reality. And if you’re in a toxic work culture, it can be a damaging filter. It can mean not calling out the elephant in the room. It can mean …

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This common practice is toxic for your culture

“We’re having a party Saturday afternoon, want to come over?” I asked a friend. “I can’t,” she says, “I have to work all weekend.” The reason she can’t come is that she’s doing the job she got promoted to months ago, while still doing her previous job that the company …

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Don’t fake it until you make it (here’s why)

“Fake it until you make it.” I used to love this phrase. The way it bolstered my confidence to try something I didn’t know how to do. It gave me permission to go after jobs I wasn’t 100% sure I could do with my eyes closed from day one. But …

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What culture are you shaping?

When you work in brand marketing, or anywhere in a marketing-driven company, an interesting thing happens. Or more accurately, an interesting expectation happens. Suddenly, your choices are no longer your own. They become a representation of the brand you work for. If you work at adidas or Nike, the company …

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