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The “M” Game – Soft Systems: Cultural System

Posted by Douglas A Wick on Mon, Oct 9, 2023

If you’ve ever bowled, you’ve probably seen bumpers or guardrails for children and people learning how to bowl.

In my own businesses in the 80’s and 90’s we never had a core purpose, values, or revenue goals that exceeded more than a year. Our purpose and values were communicated simply through our behavior.

By clearly articulating your business's Purpose, Values, and long-term goals you dramatically impact your team.

Think of them as guardrails to help your team members clarify the behavior, enthusiasm, and direction you expect.70238745 Lane with bumper rails closeup

The cultural system’s primary goal is to establish a transparent and embraced company culture. It revolves around instilling a strong commitment to the Core Purpose, team behavioral values, and the organization’s long-term goals. This culture forms the base for high-performing teams.

The knowledge and expertise driving this system draw not only from thought leaders like Jim Collins and Patrick Lencioni but also from practical experience in applying the principles. The outcome is a daily replicable behavioral framework to ensure a company’s culture isn’t merely a static concept on paper or a decoration on the wall. Instead, it becomes a vibrant, integral part of the organization’s daily life, with the CEO leading by example.

advanced_core_values_measures_(ps)-resized-600Core Values in Action provides an excellent tool and example of how a church I joined in 2015 shared its values and measured performance. The Human System which includes our advocacy for Topgrading helps measure behavioral performance on an individual basis. You can read more about this in Your Hiring Batting Average – The NFL Draft Standard

One of the reasons I love Shannon Susko’s The “M” Game is the testimonials she includes in the book. My specific intention in doing these dives into The “M” Game was to share these testimonials from customers who have experienced the value of each system. Here’s one from the Cultural System chapter.

Robert Haydock CEO of AML Oceanographic

"I didn’t seek out Metronomics or Shannon’s coaching for the same reasons many other CEOs do—I wasn’t the tired, overworked, overwhelmed CEO who was having trouble managing a personal life along with a business. I was most concerned about—and frustrated with—growth. I didn’t necessarily anticipate the impact the Cultural System and people-related aspects of Metronomics would have on our business.

Robert Haydock CEO of AML OceanographicBut one of the first things we learned when we began working with Shannon was the need to achieve an adequate level of cohesiveness to foster growth. This required us to focus more heavily on culture, our people, and establishing and clarifying our values. We had to create enough discomfort in the organization to signal that things were changing and that if you weren’t on board, you shouldn’t be here. We were severing our connection to the status quo.

It took time—probably the first three years of our journey—for me to get comfortable with that, too, and to realize that all the right things to do to push us forward were exactly the things I didn’t want to do. But as the CEO, I had to make the first move and have the courage to be vulnerable and step into an environment with which I wasn’t familiar.

As a result, the positive, cultural impact has been immense.

Cultural - Painted Picture 10-30 Years Cultural System - The M GameToday in our organization, I truly enjoy the people I work with—every single one of them. There are no workplace politics or drama; we genuinely have fun at work and laugh often. It’s incredibly engaging and motivating to like the people you work with. That’s very much attributed to revealing our Core Values and being relentless in recruiting for those Core Values. The few instances of drama we’ve had since implementing Metronomics are the direct result of hiring missteps that we made.

I feel a rush when people come to or go from our organization and tell me how this is the most amazing work environment they have ever been a part of—and I know they aren’t blowing smoke; those are heartfelt comments. It’s very exciting to see people I’ve worked with grow, knowing that their time at our company put them on a path toward better."

The photo here is The Painted Picture, or Vivid Vision, a concept from Cameron Herald's book Double Double. It’s a great way to build confidence in your Company's 10-30 years goal, Jim Collins’ BHAG. It ensures your whole team is on the same page, driving towards the same place.

You can listen to Robert on Tip Top- Grow Up Your Business With Metronomics Podcast hereAML Oceanographic 

Your soft-edge systems—the Cultural System, the Cohesive System, and the Human System—frame the house and, provide a clear, solid structure for all teams to achieve their goals. Need help developing your Cultural System for your business? Contact us to help you create an amazing work environment to fuel your growth!

To create an environment where everyone is inspired to give their best, contact Positioning Systems today to schedule a free exploratory meeting.

Growth demands Strategic Discipline.

Metronomics Compound Growth System (House) Arrow Cohesive SystemThe next soft system is the Cohesive System. Interconnected to Your Cultural system, it ensures team cohesiveness progresses and evolves every day in your organization. It takes time, discipline, and focus to develop a cohesive team. More details on the Cohesive System and another customer testimonial in our next blog.

Building an enduring great organization requires disciplined people, disciplined thought, disciplined action, superior results, producing a distinctive impact on the world.

Discipline sustains momentum, over a long period of time, laying the foundations for lasting endurance.4Dx Cadence of Accountability

A winning habit starts with 3 Strategic DisciplinesPriorityMetrics, and Meeting Rhythms.   Forecasting, accountability, individual, and team performance improve dramatically.

Meeting Rhythms achieve a disciplined focus on performance metrics to drive growth.

Let Positioning Systems help your business achieve these outcomes on the Four most Important Decisions your business faces:












Positioning Systems helps mid-sized ($5M - $500M+) businesses Scale-UP. We align your business to focus on Your One Thing! Contact to Scale Up your business! Take our Four Decisions Needs Assessment to discover how your business measures against other Scaled Up companies. We’ll contact you.

NEXT BLOG – The “M” Game – Soft Systems: Cohesive System

Metronomics - Shannon Quote - Balancing Act


Topics: Cultural System, Shannon Byrne Susko, The "M" Game, Hard and Soft Systems, Metronomics Soft Systems

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Certified Gazelles Coach

Doug Wick, President

Positioning Systems


The Strategic Discipline Blog focuses on midsize business owners with a ravenous appetite to improve his or her leadership skills and business results.

Our 3 disciplines include:

- Priorities
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- Meeting Rhythms

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