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Make Your Organization
Your Masterpiece

A Culture change company



We will make your culture the elixir for your success

Our Four Pathways

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Strategy

How can you identify and build a culture that will enable you to fulfill your
strategic intent?

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CULTURE

How do you create a culture that everyone is proud of and drives performance? How do you integrate an acquisition’s culture?

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LEADERSHIP

How do you turn your leadership team into cultural leaders?

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Excellence

How do you increase performance and raise morale at the same time?

Our Founder

Chris Davis



How We Do It

Our Company Culture

about

How We Do It

Stratam

At STRATAM, we draw upon rich philosophical traditions to create and refine innovative frameworks, distinctions, and practices that enable our clients to see their organization in a new light and develop new pathways to the future. All our projects are unique, as every masterpiece is unique.

We can approach the project through multiple pathways, all outlined here, or through all of them together.

about


Culture Design

stratam


Cultures have a unity in a shared organizational mood like hope or fear.

Organizational culture

We follow continental philosophers in claiming that social practices—people’s doings—are the foundation of culture. In one organizational culture people might admire each other and celebrate a success each morning. In another, they might each morning zealously take an online exam to perfect their skills. Your culture is made up of your doings, not your thinking. Positive cultures drive superb results. To change a culture, we change key doings.

Beyond the basic doings, cultures have a unity in a shared organizational mood like hope or fear. The mood determines how situations and things matter. In hope things matter so far as they can help people change the world. In fear, things matter so far as they are threatening. Whenever we enter a new organization, we get a certain feel. That’s the shared mood.

Cultures also have a style which serves as an ordering principle. A culture with an opportunistic style has people constantly looking for adjustments to get ahead. A culture with a pragmatic style has people looking to make smart tradeoffs to get work done.

Diagnosis

We diagnose cultures according to their mood and style. Steve Job’s Apple had a mood of hope and style of perfectionism. Microsoft and Dell have moods of zeal and styles of pragmatism. Google sports a mood of admiration and style of developing people. Ray Dalio’s hedge fund Bridgewater has a mood of zeal and style of opportunism.

Cultures get weak when they fall into negative moods like resentment, resignation, fear, or arrogance or when they have moods and styles that do not complement each other. Imagine a company with a mood of zeal and a style of hanging out collegially.

Change

We raise levels of awareness by making the implicit promises in your doings explicit and then deploy four new or revised practices that convey the new mood and style. Generally, the conveying practices are those for reaching resolution, handing work off, everyday performance evaluation, leadership, and celebration and story-telling. Background to Our Approach We have developed our methodology by drawing on European continental philosophy and have honed it since 1996. Our publications on culture start with Disclosing New Worlds (1997) and more recently, “Transforming Crippling Company Politics” in Organizational Dynamics (2014) as well as “What Calls for Thinking in Business” in Handbook of Philosophy of Management (2018).
about


Strategy Alignment

stratam


We work with you to create your strategic story through an iterative process of exploration and decision-making.

A masterpiece requires a vision and a strategy.

The vision gives the enterprise purpose. The strategy guides the organization in realization of the purpose. We identify a strategy as a compelling story that gives the leadership team confidence it will win and guides the team in what to do and what not to do. A great strategy maximizes your strengths to give you a distinctive competitive advantage. It both arises from your culture and guides inflections to you culture. We work with leadership teams to create masterpiece strategies—ones that competitors cannot help but admire.

We work with you to create your strategic story through an iterative process of exploration and decision-making. Questions start the process. Answers are challenged for insight and grounding. Decisions frequently open new areas for exploration. We involve key performers from multiple levels to ensure that answers are grounded in the reality of the situation. We design the conversation to require honesty, directness, insight, and boldness.

Central questions: What is our vision for thriving? What constitutes winning for the next design of our enterprise? What is the story that will guide us?

Exploration questions include:

• What is the truth about our current situation? What is our diagnosis of what is happening?
• What are our distinctive strengths and how do these compare to our competitors’ strengths?
• How do we turn our strengths into a meaningful advantage?
• What adjustments do we need to make (leadership, product and services, positioning, processes, channels and   partners) to pursue this course?
• How does our culture support this strategy? How does it need to evolve?
• What is the high-level mobilization plan: roles, commitments, timelines, and milestones?

Then, as a check:

• What confidence do we have in our answers? What do we need to explore further? What answers are changing?
• Do we find the new story compelling? Can we fall in love with it and lead our company from it? How do we best  tell it to employees, customers, and shareholders?

The result of this exploration is a strategy and plan for mobilizing it that unifies leadership, employees, processes, and culture, in the creation of a potential masterpiece.

about


Leadership Development

Stratam


No one gets into or holds a position of leadership for long without possessing admirable,
hidden virtues.

Masterpiece Leadership

Leaders of organizational masterpieces are extraordinary and admirable because they infuse their organizations with distinctive (not conventional) values. That is why people in masterpiece organizations have a zing and decisiveness in their actions. It is right to look for the perfect design and wrong not to. Or it is right to go with the first viable design and wrong to fuss over perfection.

How do we help leaders move from
ordinary to extraordinary?

Raise awareness: We start by raising the leader’s awareness of her or his virtues and how they have created the ethical space of the organization. Typically, we find such virtues as diligence, persistence, magnanimity, firmness, lucidity, and friendliness. Consequently, the leaders’ organizations value careful and hard work, generosity, resoluteness, clarity, and caring for others. Such a business succeeds.

Find the hidden virtues

No one gets into or holds a position of leadership for long without possessing admirable, hidden virtues. For example, a leader will have a vision of what might kill her organization and a solution. However, she does not talk about that because it scares people. Or a leader might have the courage to stand alone and advance unpopular positions but does it rarely because of the resistance. A leader might be charmingly manipulative but holds back out of friendliness. Or a leader might love the organization so much that he sometimes makes extraordinary and canny sacrifices for it.

Cultivate the hidden virtues to create
extraordinary leaders

We help leaders cultivate their hidden virtues to become charismatic visionaries, courageous commanders, joyful and enjoyable manipulators, or beloved risk-takers. Their organizations value astonishing visions, courageous stands, charming solutions, or total commitment. Their cultures are of hope, zeal, joy, or admiration. Such leadership styles and cultures are masterpieces.

Background to Our Approach

Since 1992, we have been helping ordinary leaders become extraordinary. Our main publications on leadership include Disclosing New Worlds (1997) and “The Virtues of the Transformational Leader” in Business Strategy Review (Winter 2008).

about


Commitment-based Management

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With CbM, we introduce the Accountability Loop as a core practice for effective communication.

Commitment-based Management

(CbM) is one of the most successful management disciplines to emerge in the last four decades. CbM puts accountability and coordination at the center of driving high performance and achieving extraordinary efficiency, customer attentiveness, and innovation. CbM has been profiled in the Harvard Business Review, Wall Street Journal, and MIT Sloan Management Review among other periodicals. It is taught at MIT, London Business School, and Stanford. Now widely imitated, it was originally developed 30 years ago by Dr. Fernando Flores and a team that included our partners.

At the heart of CbM is the recognition that great accomplishments are driven by the commitment of individuals, teams, and organizations. Where accountabilities are weak or unclear, so are the results. Accountability, though essential, is insufficient by itself. Alignment of accountabilities is critical, too. CbM increases accountability and alignment by focusing attention on the quality of commitments made and on the practices for maintaining shared and coherent understandings of commitments in dynamic situations.

With CbM, we introduce the Accountability Loop as a core practice for effective communication. We also introduce practices for rich listening, cultivating productive moods, and strengthening trust, all of which are essential aspects for commitment and coordination. Introducing superior raises both performance and morale.

Accountability Process Design

(APD) extends the principles of CbM into mapping the implicit network of commitments and redesigning the network into one of explicit commitments. It has proven extremely effective at identifying waste not normally eliminated by Lean and other standard process re-engineering approaches, and it is particularly strong in supporting the reshaping culture and strategy.

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Christopher Davis

Managing Director

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Margaret McIntyre

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Charles Spinosa

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Margaret McIntyre

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Margaret McIntyre

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Margaret McIntyre

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Margaret McIntyre

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Margaret McIntyre

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Clients

And Testimonials

services

Stratam consultants have led engagements for the following organizations

Clients

services

Testimonials

Clients

“Chris and his team introduced me to the principles of Commitment-based Management 15 years ago. I have utilized what I learned from them in leading multiple organizations, including large technology firms, major money center banks, an online brokerage, and technology start-ups. From leadership development to project constitution and management, these practices have directly resulted in enhanced team performance and predictable product delivery schedules.”

~ Vince Passione
—Former President
—DealerTrack.

services

Testimonials

Clients

“Our customers were so delighted by the increased visibility into our processes and the quality of our deliverables that they offered to partner with us on a new technology initiative. Commitment-based Management is now an integral component in our software testing and quality engineering practices. ”

~Brian Branagan
—Former QA Manager

services

Testimonials

Clients

— "Jean Dunham's coaching with me and our president has been instrumental in our management turnaround, focus and communications."

~ Andrea Bordenca
COO, DESCO
Diagnostic Equipment
Service Corporation

services

Testimonials

Clients

“Leadership would be a safe undertaking if your organizations and communities only faced problems for which they already knew the solutions. But there is a whole host of problems that are not amendable to authoritative expertise or standard operating procedures. Without learning new ways—changing attitudes, values, and behaviors—people cannot make the adaptive leap necessary to thrive in the new environment.”

Ronald Heifetz & Marty Linsky,
Leadership on the Line

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Stratam

Lets work together and achieve great things!

  • 1569 Solano Avenue, No. 264 Berkeley, California 94707
  • 510.292.9275
  • 08 AM - 06 PM
  • info@stratam.com
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