The Cultural Synergist

Insights for the month with Dr Tom Verghese

The Cultural Synergist- Insights for the month


July 2022

Issue # 171

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The Imperfect Leader...


We recently did some work with an organisation that was experiencing some cultural dysfunction. We were contacted by the leader to conduct the work as he had some serious concerns about the impact of the dysfunction on the overall organisation and having been in his position for a number of years was keen to address it in a long term way.

Our work involved delving further into the perceptions around DEI from staff and it was interesting to note that while the key themes identified by the leadership were indeed present, there were other aspects at play. When doing this type of discovery, I find there are always unexpected and unknown aspects that surface.

One of these aspects we heard from various perspectives, was in regard to the leader and some of his behaviours. This is of course not an unusual circumstance – when going into organisations we often find that the style and traits of leadership strongly influence the organisation. So when debriefing our work and findings with the leader, we made mention of the perspectives we had heard around his behaviour. To his credit, the leader was able to show a high degree of self-awareness particularly in relation to his own shortcomings and acknowledged that he had done a significant amount of work and would continue to do so to improve himself and his leadership skills.

It was very humbling to see a leader of his ilk being so candid and vulnerable. It highlighted for me that as humans and leaders we are all imperfect and that by being aware of this and the impacts, we can be better equipped to manage teams and lead organisations to achieve wonderful outcomes.


Quote of the month:




Book recommendation:




Fifty Five, Underemployed and Faking Normal, Elizabeth White

Elizabeth White has an impressive resume, which includes advanced degrees from Harvard and Johns Hopkins and a distinguished employment history. She started a business that failed and then tried to reenter the work force in her mid-fifties, only to learn that there is little demand for workers her age. For a while Elizabeth lived in denial, but then had to adjust to her new reality, shedding the gym membership, getting a roommate, forgoing restaurant meals, and so on. She soon learned she wasn’t alone, there are millions of people in her predicament and worse, exhausted from trying to survive and overcome every day.

In 55, Underemployed, and Faking Normal, Elizabeth invites you to look beyond your immediate circumstances to what is possible in the new normal of financial insecurity. You’re in your fifties and sixties, and may have saved nothing or not nearly enough to retire. It’s too late for blame or shame—and it wouldn’t help anyway. What you want to know is what you can do now to have a shot at a decent retirement.

55, Underemployed, and Faking Normal is a must-have for anyone whose income has suddenly diminished or even disappeared. Providing practical solutions with a focus on retirement and maximizing savings, White maintains authority with a realistic, empathetic tone throughout. This deeply useful work will resonate with readers of all income levels and situations.