How to Leverage Your Culture as a Strategic Competitive Advantage

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July 19th  8:00 – 11:30 a.m. KEY
July 20th  8:00 – 11:30 a.m. CEO
July 21st  8:00 – 11:30 a.m. CEO

World-class organizations have long recognized the powerful influence their cultures have on the performance of their people, and by extension, the performance of their companies. Not surprisingly, while most organizations allow their cultures to evolve naturally, top-performing ones don’t leave this to chance. Instead, they’re amazingly intentional about how they create and drive the culture they want to have. How they do it is the topic of this program.

This is not your standard abstract or theoretical program about the importance of creating a vision or mission statement. Rather, it’s a practical, actionable, no nonsense program designed to give participants the tools to leverage their corporate culture as a distinct competitive advantage. As a former award-winning CEO, David Friedman knows firsthand what it takes to build a high-performance culture, and more importantly, he knows the impact it can have on the bottom line. Delivered with his down-to-earth, yet passionate style, and filled with lots of examples from his 27 years of personal leadership experience, David’s program covers such topics as:

  • The difference between a good culture and a high-performance culture
  • Why values are less important than behaviors
  • Why vision and mission statements are often a mistake
  • Critical mistakes most leaders make in defining their culture, and how to avoid them
  • The role of ritual in sustaining a focus on culture over the long run

About David Friedman

David Friedman is the former president of RSI, an award-winning employee benefits brokerage and consulting firm in the Philadelphia area. Under his guidance, RSI grew to become one of the largest and most successful independently-owned agencies in the country. In addition to winning awards for leadership and for customer service, 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. In 2006, 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.

A graduate of the College of William & Mary with a B.A. in philosophy, David began his insurance career in 1983, starting RSI with his father in the basement of their New Jersey home. He went on to earn five advanced professional designations in insurance, employee benefits and financial planning, before shifting his primary focus to leadership and organizational development. With his leadership, RSI was a pioneer in Open Book management, Lean Process implementation, The Collaborative Way and the Malcolm Baldrige Quality Program. Yet through it all, it was RSI’s unique corporate culture that was the foundation for its success.

A cornerstone of that culture was a collection of 30 values and behaviors that David wrote and taught, known as the RSI Fundamentals. These Fundamentals were formalized through a series of weekly practices and became one of the hallmarks of his career. In response to requests from clients and vendors, David began to lead seminars and work with leadership teams in the areas of culture and values development. He became a sought-after speaker and advisor to corporate leadership teams.

In 2008, RSI was sold to a large, publicly-held insurance broker and in 2010 David left the firm to more actively pursue his passion for speaking and writing. In 2011, he published his first book, Fundamentally Different, which is based on the insights he learned and taught throughout his leadership career.

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