The Practical & Sustainable Way to Build a High Performing Culture—David Friedman, CEO, CultureWise

The topic of culture is certainly a hot topic, but what does it mean and how do you create it? Are your company values enough?  Today’s guest, David Friedman answers these questions and more!

  • Learn more about David’s company CultureWise = CLICK HERE.
  • Get a copy of David’s book, “Culture by Design”  = CLICK HERE.
  • If you are ready to franchise your business or take it to the next level = CLICK HERE.

Prior to founding CultureWise, David was the President of RSI, an award-winning employee benefits brokerage and consulting firm that grew to become one of the largest and most successful independently-owned agencies in the country. RSI was named one of the Best Places to Work in the region seven times, and was four times named one of the Fastest Growing companies. In2006, RSI was the only company of any size in any industry to win New Jersey’s highest award for quality – the Governor’s Award for Performance Excellence – Gold Level.

In 2011, he published his first book, Fundamentally Different, which is based on the insights he learned and taught throughout his leadership career, and in 2021 he published the 2nd Edition of his book, Culture by Design, the definitive “how to” manual for building a high-performance culture.

Today, in addition to leading CultureWise, David does more than 100 workshops and Keynote talks per year, sharing his experiences and wisdom with thousands of leaders across the country.


This episode is sponsored by Big Sky Franchise Team. If you are ready to talk about franchising your business you can schedule your free, no-obligation, franchise consultation online at: or by calling Big Sky Franchise Team at: 855-824-4759. 


Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (00:01):

You’ve worked hard to build your business and now it’s time to grow. Welcome to the Multiply Your Success Podcast. I’m your host, Tom DuFore, CEO of Big Sky Franchise team, and a serial entrepreneur. The purpose of our podcast is to give you a weekly dose of inspiration and education to help you take that next step in your expansion journey.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (00:23):

Today, as we get started, the question I want to open up with is all relating to culture and do you even know what it means? It’s a big buzz word. It’s a lot of companies, people, experts, blogs, articles, reporters talking about culture, but does anyone talk about what it is? What does that actually mean? How do you create it? How do you even know if you have a culture? These are questions that I’ve been wondering as well, which is exactly why I wanted to bring our guest on to the podcast.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (01:01):

Our guest is David Friedman and he is an expert at culture. Not only helping you identify culture, but really infusing culture into your company. That’s exactly why I wanted him to come onto the show and to be a guest. He runs a company called CultureWise, He’s written several books on the topic and just provides a great framework for how you can get started on actually taking your values, your mission and so on, and creating a real lasting culture. So let’s go ahead and jump right into the interview here.

David Friedman, CultureWise (01:39):

Glad to be with you first of all. I am in the Philadelphia area. I’m in my second career, but the first career led to the second career. So I spent 27 years building an employee benefits consulting company that I grew from a couple of people to a little over a hundred people. We were very successful. We were a bunch of times named where the best places to work in the region, fastest growing companies, all kinds of awards we won, but the foundation of all of our success, everything that we did that made us successful, was based on the culture that we had created in that company. As the CEO of that company, I did a lot of things in a very intentional way to make it happen.

David Friedman, CultureWise (02:17):

I eventually sold that company to a large multi-billion dollar publicly held company, retired from that industry and ended up writing my first of several books about the things we did that made us so successful. That book led to people asking me to speak. As people heard me speak, people said, “Hey, that’s pretty interesting. Can I hire you to help me do that in my company?” The next thing I knew I was in my second career. So, the things that I teach people which are centered around, okay, we all know that culture’s important, how do you go about purposely, by design, systematically, creating the culture that you want instead of having it by accident? I teach people how to do that. Of course, with so many of your audience members being franchise folks, the ability to replicate what you’re trying to get is absolutely critical, and I teach people how to do it.

David Friedman, CultureWise (03:10):

So I’ve done over 500 workshops on this material. I’ve written three books. I’ve worked with hundreds of companies. I’ve built another company all around, okay, what did I learn about how do you build a really high performing culture in a company?

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (03:24):

Yeah. Wow, amazing. I’m just thinking, to take a step back. So this idea of culture, it’s a hot topic right now. So, I guess just from a total base line, what is corporate culture? What does that even mean?

David Friedman, CultureWise (03:44):

That’s a good question because if we don’t know what it means, it’s hard to talk about it. I would tell you that one of the biggest reasons that organizations don’t know what to do about their culture is what you just asked. They don’t even know what it is. If we don’t even know what it is. If it’s just this touchy, feely, amorphous thing flying around our company, like pixie dust, then I don’t know what the heck to do about any of that. So here’s my definition of culture.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (04:09):

Yeah and I think, sorry to interrupt there-

David Friedman, CultureWise (04:11):

Yeah, no, go.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (04:13):

… but I really do think that it we work largely with entrepreneurs and small business startups and you start hearing this idea of culture and that’s pixie dust and fluffy stuff. It’s like, well, what does that actually mean? So sorry to interrupt, but you hit the nail on the head there.

David Friedman, CultureWise (04:27):

Yeah. So here’s my definition of culture. I say that the culture in an organization is the set of principles that drive or that govern the behavior that people have in a given context. So it’s the principles that govern the behavior that shows up. So it’s about behavior, it’s what do people actually do? When I say in a given context, I say that because the same people will behave differently in different places. So you go into work and there’s a way that we do things here. When you’re with your buddies from college and at the bar, you might behave differently. When you’re with your family, you might behave differently as well. So the context is important.

David Friedman, CultureWise (05:10):

So in a given organization, there’s a set of guidelines about how we operate here. That’s really what the culture is. The reason, by the way, that this definition is so important is if we think of culture as the magic pixie dust, and nothing more than that, I don’t know what to do with any of that. As soon as we see culture as a set of behaviors, well, that’s not so difficult to do something about. I could establish a set of behaviors, and I can find a way to teach those behaviors and have those behaviors become ingrained in our people and it’s not that difficult to do. So as simple as what you’re asking is, it actually is essential that we understand what we mean by culture, otherwise we can’t do anything about it. A lot of people thinking culture is having a ping pong table in the reception area, or having pizza every Friday and all that other BS, that’s not culture. Culture is what are the behaviors that are going on in this organization?

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (06:07):

Well, that’s interesting and that leads me to think, you hear this culture, this whole idea and then people say, “Well, what’s your mission, your vision, your values?” I guess, as I’m thinking about it, why is that not enough? You have your values, you have these things in place, so is that it? Is that what I need? Is that the secret sauce?

David Friedman, CultureWise (06:31):

Yeah, great question. So I would say that when I look at what isn’t enough, why do companies … why aren’t they as successful at building a culture as they’d like to be? I think that there are several ways that companies try to do this and that fall short. I’ll explain to you what they try and why they fall short and what the antidote to that is. What’s the alternative?

David Friedman, CultureWise (06:58):

So the first thing that companies do is they hope their culture evolves by example. When you’re small, to a degree, you can get away with that. You’re a small company, you got five or 10 people. Everybody sees you. “You’re the leader, Tom, and whatever you do, that sets the tone and we all pick up on it.” That’s okay when you’re small, it’s not the best.

David Friedman, CultureWise (07:21):

But when you go from 10 people to 50 people, or 200 people, or you’re a franchise, and you now have 11 locations instead of one, or maybe you made an acquisition, or maybe COVID caused most of your people to be remote, well, leadership by example, isn’t going to get it done because I’m not even seeing you anymore. So, that’s not enough. Second thing companies try to do is that they often will try to create visions and missions with the belief that if I give people a compelling why, Simon Sinek and his why stuff, if they have a compelling reason why they’re here, well, that’s going to be enough. I would say, “Well, that’s a good start, but there’s a lot of people that know why we’re here and they don’t do the day-to-day things that are necessary to be successful.” So it’s helpful to have a purpose or a meaning, but that’s not enough to get everybody every day to do the things I want them to do.

David Friedman, CultureWise (08:14):

The third thing sometimes people do is they will create a set of core values and they’ll try to stipulate, “Well, this is what we’re all about.” That’s a good start. But the reason that that falls short is really two reasons. One is that the typical core values that companies come up with tend to be so broad and nebulous that they mean too many different things to different people.

David Friedman, CultureWise (08:40):

So I’ll give a simple example. Many companies will have a core value for respect. “We should all respect each other.” Sounds like a great idea, but what does that word mean? It means different things to different people. If you live in Atlanta where you are, many children that grew up in the South were taught that when you speak to an adult, you call them sir, or ma’am, it’s disrespectful not to do that, right?

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (09:03):


David Friedman, CultureWise (09:03):

Do that in the Northeast where I live, it’s just freaking weird. It has nothing to do with respect, there’s just different norms. So we all have different ideas of what the word respect means, or what does service mean, or what does integrity. They all mean so many different things. It’s very difficult to coach people about their values. Behaviors though, and I make this big distinction between values and behaviors, behaviors are actions, the things I can see people doing.

David Friedman, CultureWise (09:31):

So let me give you an example. Some of the behaviors I teach in my company are things like honor commitments. That’s something I actually do. Practice blameless problem solving. Get clear on expectations. Be a fanatic about response time. These are actions, actions, behaviors, because they’re actions are much easier to teach and coach and guide and give people feedback about. So the behaviors, it’s seeing culture through a behavior lens, behaviors bring much more clarity to what we want people to do.

David Friedman, CultureWise (10:06):

So the idea of articulating values is the right idea. The idea of being, “Gee, we want to be clear about what are the principles that are important here?” The problem is that the way they’re usually done are too vague. Behaviors bring a level of clarity to what those expectations are, they make it a lot easier to operationalize. But I want to mention one other thing that keeps people from being successful, and that is, it’s great to have a nice list, whether we call them values behaviors or anything else, but unless we have a consistent way to teach it to people, putting them on the wall or on the website doesn’t make it live in people. So what most organizations do is they put up those core values and their vision and their mission, they put it on their website or on their walls and they think, “Okay, I’m done. We got the cultural thing done.”

David Friedman, CultureWise (10:55):

Well, how many times have you learned anything really well just because it was posted on a wall? I mean, if you’re trying to learn to be a great piano player and somebody says, “Well here, I’ll put some instructions on the wall.” That’s not going to make you a great piano player. You’re going to have to practice that a lot. So if we don’t have some methodology to practice the behaviors that drive our culture, they’re not going to become real, and most companies don’t. I have a methodology where I teach them how to do that.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (11:24):

Really, really interesting. Well, I love your perspective on this. I’ve never thought of it in that way, but just thinking about the idea of values, because we’ve done the same exercise internally at our company, we have values and we’ve tried to make it more than just beyond your classic, like you said, respect, or integrity, or some of these that you see all over the place, but to try to make it … but this has caused me to think about reframing it internally for our own company to say, “Ah, here’s how we need to reframe it, thinking of it as a behavior to help simplify it.” I think that’s a great takeaway, a great lesson here for us to be thinking about and implementing our own company. So, that’s great advice.

David Friedman, CultureWise (12:09):

Now, the second piece of that is equally important and that’s this idea of practice. So if you bring more clarity to, let’s just take your company, Tom, and you bring more clarity to your expectations for people, how you want them to be behaving. You’re going to be a lot better off than the vague values, but that’s not enough. Okay, I brought more clarity, they still have the practice. The only way you get good at anything is by practicing. So how do we do that? So, there’s a very simple concept that I teach people. It’s so simple, but when I explain it, you’ll see how powerful it is. I call it creating rituals.

David Friedman, CultureWise (12:50):

So, a ritual to me is some kind of a routine, a habit that we’re in. We get up in the morning, we brush our teeth. We go to a ball game, we do the National Anthem. When we were kids in school, we used to say the Pledge of Allegiance, they’re routines. The reason that rituals are so powerful and so important to success is that most human beings stink at sticking with things. We come up with all kinds of wonderful ideas, and then we get busy and life gets in the way, and we stop doing them. When something becomes a ritual, a routine or a habit, it’s not hard to do. It’s just what we do. You don’t struggle, I don’t think, you don’t struggle to brush your teeth in the morning. It’s just part of your routines. You just get up and you do it.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (13:31):

Yeah, that’s right. I confirm. I brush twice and floss twice, if my dentist is listening.

David Friedman, CultureWise (13:35):

Okay, [crosstalk 00:13:36] floss thing, you’re crazy, you’re over the top but yeah, these are just routines. So, when something becomes a routine it’s not hard to do anymore. So, here’s how we use this concept. What I teach people to do is to create a list of the behaviors that define their culture and I give those behaviors a name. It’s just my own nomenclature. I call them fundamentals because I think they’re fundamental to success. So we take these fundamentals, we roll them out in really engaged sessions and then we begin, here’s the real key, is we begin to focus on one fundamental each week through a series of rituals.

David Friedman, CultureWise (14:13):

So week number one, everybody in the company in every location, so think about your franchises, every location, all week long, everybody in the company is focusing on fundamental number one. I’ll give you an example of a ritual in just a moment. The next week, all week long, everybody in the company is focused on number two. The week after that, number three and four and five, until we get to the end of the list of whatever number we have, and then we go back to the beginning and we do it over and over and over and over again forever because that’s how it sinks in.

David Friedman, CultureWise (14:41):

So let me give you a simple example. One of the rituals that I do in my company and pretty much all of our clients, is that every time we have a meeting in our company this week, any Zoom meeting, personal meeting, any meeting going on this week, the first agenda item of the meeting is the fundamental the week and we spend the first three to five minutes talking about it. So my fundamental of the week this week is called honor commitments. Do what you say you’re going to do when you say you’re going to do, it’s a big deal to me.

David Friedman, CultureWise (15:11):

So every meeting, anywhere in my company, I had a meeting last night with my leadership team. We kicked off the meeting spending five minutes talking about, so what makes it so hard? How come we don’t always honor our commitments? How come we make commitments we shouldn’t make sometimes? And there’s so many nuances to this and we spend three or four or five minutes talking about it and then we moved on. We don’t want to take over the meeting, but every meeting everywhere in my company this week starts with a discussion of honor commitments. Next week, every meeting starts with another one. It’s just our routine.

David Friedman, CultureWise (15:43):

So the idea is if we could create a number of rituals that give us lots of chances all week long to think about, and talk about, and work on, and really practice this week is fundamental, and we do the same with next week, so the next week … and we keep cycling through them over and over and over again, sooner or later, these fundamentals, these behaviors, are going to become internalized in our people. That’s the whole point. The point isn’t to have them on the website, the point is to have it live in our people. That’s pretty simple.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (16:15):

Wow, that’s fantastic. I love all of that. It’s so simple and yet, like you said, so difficult because these are not habits yet. They’re not ingrained in us and really just thinking from a practical standpoint, just something even you could have literally a 30 minute meeting with your team and sit down and say, “Okay, here are the values. Here’s what we’re doing, let’s hash this out.” You could probably pretty quickly at least get a starting point to get these conversations started for those three to five minutes, pretty quickly I would imagine.

David Friedman, CultureWise (16:52):

You could. So it’s not hard to do, but I will tell you that this is a leadership function. So you don’t want the whole team, you want your leadership team, because at a certain level … and it’s a mistake I see many organizations make, is they’ll do this big survey or get all their employees involved and ask them what they think the values are around here. I don’t mean this in a derogatory way, I don’t care what they all think the values are around here. If you’re a leader, it’s your job to say, “Well, what’s the kind of company I want to build around here?” And to put that out there and to get people who want to go there, as opposed to asking them all what they’d like, it’s a leadership function.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (17:30):

Great. Well, I love that. Well, in terms of doing something like this, obviously your company specializes in helping people go through this process. So if they want someone, a guide, a coach, consultant support in going through that, your company helps with that. What would be a first step for just someone in general that they might be able to take to just take that first step to get this process going?

David Friedman, CultureWise (17:59):

Great question. The first step, Tom, is as simple as it sounds, you’ve got to define the behaviors that are important. Everything else flows from that, because if we don’t have enough clarity about what it is we want people to be doing, everything else is irrelevant. I can’t hire people who are a good fit if I don’t know what a good fit is because I’ve never defined it. I can’t coach people about it if I don’t know what I’m coaching, because I’ve never defined it clearly enough. I can’t have people practicing it about it if I … You’ve got to start by defining what is it that you say, “If I could get my people doing this consistently, watch out, we’d be incredible.” Just to give a tip on that, a good way to start thinking about that is to picture your best employees.

David Friedman, CultureWise (18:46):

So everybody listening to this, you’ve got at least one or more people, probably in every department in your company, who you wish you could clone. The people who you say, “Boy, if I had three more women like her, we’d be amazing. Or two more guys like that guy, we’d be unbelievable.” Picture your absolute best people. What do they do that makes you wish you could clone them? “Oh, you should see her. She always does, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” Well, that’s a pretty good list of behaviors. Sometimes picturing real people makes it a little bit easier to brainstorm it than it just being this abstract idea in your brain.

David Friedman, CultureWise (19:21):

So a good starting point would be identify who are the best people in your company, who you wish you could clone, and what do you visually see them doing? What are the behaviors they do that make them so clonable? That’s a pretty good start on thinking of the behaviors.

David Friedman, CultureWise (19:39):

I’ll give you one other quick tip on that. Another, if I’m one of your audience members and I’m thinking about, “I got to brainstorm my behaviors. How do I do that?” I’ll give you two other questions to ask yourself. Second question to ask yourself, after who do I want to clone? Second question to ask yourself is what are the things that drive me crazy? There are certain things that when we see people do these things, they drive us nuts. Well, if they drive you crazy, you have some energy about that. What’s the opposite of that? If they weren’t doing that thing that drives you crazy, what would they be doing instead? That’s probably a pretty important behavior.

David Friedman, CultureWise (20:18):

Third one, third question I would ask myself is what are things that you go on rants about? If you’re not sure, ask the people around you, “There goes Tom, he’s on one of to his kicks again.” Well, you wouldn’t rant about it if it wasn’t important, that’s why you’re ranting about it. That’s probably a pretty important thing. So just use a couple of questions like that are good prompts to brainstorm. What are the behaviors that are really important in this organization that would make us that much more successful? That’s the first step.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (20:46):

Wow, thank you. That’s just gold, I think that’s fantastic. Thank you for that. This is a great transition point to move into the formula for the show, where we talk about this idea of misses, makes and multipliers. We ask every guest the same question. So you’re in the hot seat and-

David Friedman, CultureWise (21:05):

All right, I’m good with that.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (21:06):

Yeah, you’ve had an impressive career building and growing multiple brands and companies, helping your clients building culture. One of the questions we ask everyone is did you have a miss or two along the way, and maybe something that you learned from it?

David Friedman, CultureWise (21:25):

So, I’m going to cheat since I’m on the hot seat, I’m allowed to cheat, right?

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (21:31):

Hey, anything goes.

David Friedman, CultureWise (21:32):

All right. So here’s my cheating. So you hear people talk a lot about learning from their mistakes, “Hey, learn to fail and fail often,” and all that kind of stuff. I actually think that very few people … Well, I would say that the most successful people actually don’t make many mistakes, or they don’t fail, they just have experiences and some work out the way you thought and some don’t and you learn from all of them.

David Friedman, CultureWise (22:00):

I also think that you can learn as much or more from your successes as your failures, if you are reflective and thoughtful about it. So I would tell you that as I look back over my career, I mean, I’m not suggesting I’m perfect and didn’t make any mistakes, far from it. Sure, I made some, but I can’t even think of many that most of what I did worked really well, but I think that because I’m particularly reflective and introspective, I would do things that worked well and I’d think, “Wow, that was really interesting. I wonder why that worked so well? Because there must be underlying principles here that are at play that I didn’t know them, I was just being instinctive, but there’s things going on here. If I could reflect on those and articulate those and then start to teach them to the people around me, we could start doing these things more purposefully.”

David Friedman, CultureWise (22:55):

So I actually learned a lot more from my successes than my mistakes. But just to play your game, since I want to be a good guest, if I were to give you one mistake I made, it would mostly be about hiring, that hiring people from time to time, who I didn’t appreciate weren’t as good a fit in our culture as they should have been, and maybe making the mistake to not appreciate how important that was.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (23:24):

Yeah, no, I think that’s great. Sometimes you get caught up with someone who you’re interviewing, they’ve got all the credentials, they’ve got great references and there’s just something that isn’t a fit and you bring that person on board. I know I’ve done it, I’m sure folks listening in have done the same thing and they get in and you realize, “Oh boy, this is not going to work out.” It’s not because they aren’t talented. It’s not because they don’t have the right credentials or whatever it might be. It’s just culture, tying back to what you’re doing, but it’s just culturally, it’s they’re just not fitting in with the rest of the rest of the team. So I get that.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (24:09):

Well, and how about this idea of make? You danced into that a little bit on your last answer, but was there anything that maybe happened that was make for you that you could share with the audience? I

David Friedman, CultureWise (24:21):

I would say that when I think about how I came across this whole culture thing, when I started it, I wasn’t calling it culture. I wasn’t thinking about it that way. It’s that I had, as I began to build my company, my first company, I realized that I have very high standards for myself and everybody around me. I like to play at a high level and I just want everybody around me to play at a high level. I realized that I can’t assume that everybody’s going to know what that means, that I have to begin to be clear about teaching people the way I want to do things. I wasn’t thinking about that as culture. I was just teaching people how I want things done. It was later in retrospect that again, that I began to appreciate that that’s really the essence of what culture is.

David Friedman, CultureWise (25:11):

So I would say what I learned most is that as a leader, I can’t assume it goes back to an earlier comment about leading by example. Yes, leading by example’s a good thing, but it’s not enough. I can’t assume that people are just going to by being around me, figure out what I want. That I have to be crystal clear about the way that we do things around here and I have to teach and teach and teach and teach and never stop teaching. I think that’s a key lesson I learned early on.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (25:42):

Yeah, I get it. Totally, totally get it. It’s interesting, I think you’re right. So often, you don’t realize what you’re doing in the moment. You’re doing it because you have a need. You’re growing a business, you’re building something and all of a sudden you’re like, “No, no, no, we need to do it this way.” Or you need to reposition how you’re communicating or channeling that in. I appreciate that.

David Friedman, CultureWise (26:10):

And think about that from the perspective of your particular audience as franchise people. I mean, a franchise is about consistency. It’s about creating the same kind of experience for customers over and over and over again, because that’s the whole value of the franchise. So what could be more important in creating consistency than having a clearly articulated set of behaviors that you teach over and over and over again. In the absence of that, what you end up with is the luck of, I got a good person. We happened to hire at that location some really good people, and they do things the way I like them to do, but it’s just hit or miss based on the luck of who we happen to have. If we’re going to build a franchise and have multiple locations, we have to have a consistent way that we do things around here. That starts with articulating, well, what is it that we do? And then having a structured way to teach it over and over again.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (27:06):

Yeah, yeah, that’s fantastic. Well, let’s talk about the multiplier side of things. Sometimes the idea of using a multiplier to grow yourself personally, professionally, growing your business, we get a really wide range of answers. So is there any multiplier that you’ve used in your career as you’ve grown personally or professionally?

David Friedman, CultureWise (27:32):

I would say probably the biggest multiplier for me came from writing my first book, that I wrote that book originally, totally honestly here, I wrote that book actually as a closure step. It wasn’t intended to be a multiplier. It happened that way, but that wasn’t my plan at the moment, as sometimes happens, I wrote that book as a way of wrapping up and capsulizing what I had learned in my first career so I could tie a nice bow on it, put it behind me and go do something totally different. That’s what my plan was but what ended up happening is the book was a multiplier.

David Friedman, CultureWise (28:13):

People started to read it, people got value, it led to speaking and all the other things that I talked about. So it was a fortunate multiplier. It wasn’t my smart, brilliant wisdom, it was just luck at the moment. But I realized afterwards that yeah, when you have good ideas, you put them out there and a book’s a great way to do that.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (28:33):

Wow. Wow, well I always think that’s interesting. An unintended positive consequence, right?

David Friedman, CultureWise (28:39):

Yes, that’s exactly what it is.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (28:40):

Here you are thinking, you’re writing the final chapter literally and figuratively in the book, and actually it was just the opening.

David Friedman, CultureWise (28:53):

Exactly that.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (28:53):

That was just like the prequel that you wrote. Well, and the final question we like to ask everyone David, is what does success mean to you?

David Friedman, CultureWise (29:03):

Success for me, Tom, means sharing the ideas that I’ve shared with you, with enough people and watching them implement them in their families, in their teams, in their organizations, that the concepts that I teach … I was talking to a client this morning and they are just over the moon excited about what they’ve implemented and the impact they’re already seeing on their organization and the transformative effect it’s going to have in the future, just to see their eyes light up and to see how jazzed they are about what’s happening in their organization by applying the simple concepts that I teach, that’s incredibly rewarding. So the biggest measure of success to me is when light bulbs go off for people and they apply what I teach and they transform their families and organizations, that’s pretty powerful.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (30:06):

Yeah. Well, and David as we bring this to a conclusion here, I’m wondering is there anything that you maybe were hoping to say or communicate that we just didn’t get a chance to get to throughout the interview?

David Friedman, CultureWise (30:20):

Yeah, I would say that … Here’s what I would say and this is I think, particularly appropriate for franchise. If you want to get a group of people, your team, to operate in some consistent way, and that’s what franchise is about, it just makes logical sense that you would dramatically improve your probabilities of success. That’s all we’re doing, we’re trying to increase the odds of success. Humans are weird, they do weird kinds of things, and we don’t always control what they’re going to do. So, we’re just trying to stack the odds in our favor. We’re going to dramatically improve the odds of success if number one, we are crystal clear about exactly what we want, except we’re usually aren’t, we’re just annoyed that people aren’t being the way we want them to be.

David Friedman, CultureWise (31:14):

Secondly, we would dramatically improve the probabilities of success if we not only were crystal clear about what we wanted, but we also had a structured, systematic way to teach those things over and over and over and over and over and over again. Wouldn’t that dramatically improve the chances of success? That’s all we’ve talked about. It’s that simple, it doesn’t have to be complicated.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (31:38):

Yeah, I love that. I’m a huge fan of simple, practical things that you can do, because if it’s anything other than that, it generally doesn’t happen. It doesn’t get implemented.

David Friedman, CultureWise (31:49):

That’s it, it’s exactly that.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (31:50):

Yeah, people don’t want to do it, your team, they’re confused, they’re saying, “What’s going on? I don’t understand this.” Then they just go back to what they’ve been doing.

David Friedman, CultureWise (31:59):

Exactly, it’s got to be simple or it’s not going to work. This is a simple concept and we’ve created a simple way to help companies do it.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (32:07):

Well, great. Well, speaking of that, let’s talk about if someone’s interested in learning more about you, what you’re doing, getting a copy of your books, how can they get in touch with you and learn more about what you have going on?

David Friedman, CultureWise (32:19):

Yeah. Great question, Tom. So my website is CultureWise, like the word culture, and then W-I- S-E, On our website, my email address is, but the website is On that website, there are lots of simple videos, simple explanations of the whole concept and how to implement it. It’s easy, it’s fast, it’s incredibly simple.

David Friedman, CultureWise (32:44):

My books are all on Amazon. There’s three books and they’re in hardcover, softcover, ebook and audio book. The first book was called Fundamentally Different. The second book was called Culture By Design. The third book is really an updated version, so it’s a second edition of Culture By Design with lots of new material in it. So if you look up Culture By Design on Amazon, you’ll see it. And again, available in all forms.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (33:11):

David, thank you so much again for an absolutely fantastic interview and for sharing your wisdom and your experience with me and our audience. So let’s go ahead and jump into today’s three key takeaways. So the first key takeaway that I took out of the interview was when David actually gave us a definition for what culture is, when he described it as a set of principles that govern the behavior that we exhibit, that we display, that we show. I thought that was great just to hear an actual definition. We hear people talk about it, well what in the world is culture?

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (33:51):

Number two, I liked that he laid out a really simple way to help you figure out some questions to ask to help you figure out and identify your culture. He gave us three steps. Step one was to define what’s important and if you can’t figure that out, you can use number two, what drives you crazy? And number three, what do you rant about? What are things that you rant about? Again, if you don’t know, ask someone that’s close to you, maybe your husband, your wife, your spouse, someone close to you probably already knows that. So I thought that was great.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (34:24):

The third key takeaway that was really wonderful is when he said you can learn as much from your makes as you can from your misses. You don’t have to just make a mistake to learn from it. You can actually have a win or a make and learn from it if, and this is the big thing that he said, if you are reflective and you need to really reflect back and look at what helped you create that success or that make that you were able to secure? I thought that was fantastic. Now it’s time for today’s win-win.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (35:00):

So, today’s win-win comes from when David was talking about focusing on fundamentals. I really like how he does … Each week at his company, he has a fundamental that he focuses on that all relates back to the company culture, the values, and the behavior that he wants the team of people to be exuding or representing while they’re at work, and while they’re doing what they do every day. I thought that was great. He said, as a leader, you can’t that people will figure it out, and it was great. You have to be clear.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (35:41):

So doing these weekly fundamental sessions, it’s a great way to keep this top of mind. It’s creating that practice, that ritual, that regular reoccurring to get it into your day-to-day activity so it becomes a regular behavior. So I thought that was absolutely phenomenal.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (36:02):

That’s our episode today, folks. Thanks for tuning in. Please make sure you like and subscribe to the podcast. Please give us a review. We would love a review from you to share that. By the way, if you or someone you know is thinking about franchise in their business or taking their company to the next level, we’d love to talk to them at Big Sky Franchise and we look forward to you coming back next week.

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