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December 2019
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TD Magazine

Create a Culture Others Want

Contagious You: Unlock Your Power to Influence, Lead, and Create the Impact You Want

By Anese Cavanaugh
McGraw-Hill Education, 384 pp., $28

In the quest for a remedy to today’s complex, systemic, and sometimes toxic organizational cultures, many companies are seeking more creative, engaged, and innovative employees, but their leaders are often unaware of their role in sustaining the culture that must change.

Contagious You offers a systematic inside-out approach for transforming and sustaining organizational cultures based on Cavanaugh’s IEP (intentional, energetic presence) Method. She introduced the method in keynote addresses and workshops for Fortune 500 companies and popularized it in her previous book Contagious Culture. The central thesis of her most recent work is that intent, energy, and presence matter. If you show up badly, there is nothing that can fix your life, career, relationship, or health. More important, attempting quick fixes could often do more harm than good.

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Cavanaugh observes that “It is easier to put culture OUT THERE; to hold culture as something to be done or something that everyone else is responsible for.” That attitude underlies the desire to look for answers in quick fixes and cultural change checklists. Contagious You helps readers to understand culture as an internal construct—as something they must be rather than do.

Moving from awareness to impact, the author provides a methodology for us to improve our culture, life, relationships, finances, health, businesses, and more. She explains that we are the common denominator in all the domains in which we seek change—and our presence, or attitude, is contagious to those we lead.

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Cavanaugh notes that culture starts with leadership, is contagious, and reverberates throughout the entire organization, infecting all those with whom we come in contact. Leaders build a great organizational culture when they help people feel safe, inspired, and connected. Thus, they should strive to create an environment where employees engage because they want to instead of because they have to.

This book and the IEP Method can help individuals who are striving to be more aware, motivated, and purposeful. The assessments, case studies, journal ideas, and lists serve as rich coaching tools to help anyone navigate challenges at home, work, and in life. Managers responsible for building cohesive teams, improving engagement, and cultivating a results-oriented organizational culture will find creative exercises for team building and understanding and developing others. The book gives talent development professionals access to ideal content for coaching, mentoring, and self-care.

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About the Author

Donna Oti is an international talent development consultant working in Georgetown, Guyana, helping organizations understand the people side of change.

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