At Momentum Consulting, our goal is to always profoundly affect the lives of the people we serve and their organizations. To accomplish this goal, it is not enough to be just good. We must be extraordinary. The foundation for extraordinary teams is an extraordinary culture. The following 26 Fundamental Operating Practices describe the behaviors that create our unique Culture. They are what set us apart, and they are what make us leaders in the work we do.
Momentum’s Cultural Fundamentals
What are Fundamentals?
These are the “fundamental” building blocks of behavior all Cultures are built on.
What is the relationship of Fundamentals to Culture?
Every organization has a Culture. It’s just natural for every group big or small that gathers together regularly to evolve a Culture, sports teams, poker buddies, neighborhoods, etc. The Culture is the unwritten set of rules about how the group, team, organization works. What you can do, what you can’t do, what’s OK to joke about, what’s not, etc. Culture has been characterized as what people do when no one is looking.
What makes Culture important in an organization is that it defines and drives behavior and behavior is the foundation of performance. Most organizations have a Culture by default that evolves over time, shaped mostly by the most dominant personalities. Whereas world-class companies understand that their culture has a significant and direct impact on how their people perform. It is one of the biggest opportunities to establish a sustainable competitive advantage.
“Culture was everything”-Lou Gestner in speaking about his remarkable turnaround of IBM
World-class organizations don’t leave any of this to chance. They don’t hope the right culture emerges. Instead, they create and drive their culture intentionally. To do that they must first determine and clarify what those behaviors would look like. In other words, they must determine the Fundamental behaviors on which to build their Culture by Design.
Below are the 26 Fundamentals that we at Momentum Consulting live by, not just in our business or with our clients; it’s who we are and how we live our lives.
1. Act with Integrity.
Demonstrate doing the right thing in all your actions and all your decisions, especially when no one is looking. Always tell the truth. Acknowledge and own you mistakes, clean them up and make appropriate corrections.
2. Listen Generously.
Give others your full attention, be present and engaged and set aside the internal conversation in your head as best you can. Let go of your need to agree, disagree, or judge. Be empathetic and listen for the needs of others. Listen with curiosity and make sure you get all the facts, separating facts from interpretations.
3. SPEAK STRAIGHT, RESPECTFULLY.
Speak honestly and clearly in a way that moves the action forward. Say what you mean. Ask questions for clarity, share ideas and be willing to raise issues, even if they may create conflict, when it is needed for success or maintaining collaboration. Address issues directly with those who are involved or affected. Take responsibility for getting your message across.
4. GIVE UP THE NEED TO BE RIGHT.
Keep your ego, your personal agenda, and your judgments out of the way of doing what’s best for the team or the customer. Don’t let being right interfere with being able to hear others and see possible new solutions you haven’t seen before.
5. ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST.
It’s essential that we always do our very best. If there is ever a question about quality, go back, stay at it until the question is removed.
6. CREATE A SAFE ENVIRONMENT.
Safety requires accountability, awareness and diligence. Never take short cuts that compromise yours or others’ safety. Performance thrives in a safe environment.
7. ALWAYS SERVE THE CUSTOMER.
Remember our founding principle “we work in partnership,” always! In all situations do what’s best for the customer, even if it’s to our own detriment.
8. SERVICE IS 360.
We serve each other, our customers, and ourselves when we serve the community. Demonstrate making a difference.
9. COMMUNICATE TO BE UNDERSTOOD.
Communicate in the least complicated way, so that your audience understands you. This applies to all communication: Spoken, written, illustrated, etc. We are accountable for what people take from our communication.
10. KEEP THINGS FUN.
The problems that face us day to day at work are small compared to the challenges facing most of the world. Keep your perspective and don’t take things personally or yourself too seriously. Laugh every day with others.
11. HONOR COMMITMENTS.
Be reliable and deliver on all your commitments, no matter how small. If a commitment is in jeopardy, notify others immediately and set a new commitment.
12. BE ACCOUNTABLE.
Act like you are an owner in the company. Ownership accountability means holding yourself to account, holding others to account, and the willingness to be held to account.
13. FIND A WAY
Respond to every situation by looking for how we can do it, rather than explaining why it can’t be done. Take personal responsibility. Be innovative, assertive, and take initiative.
14. DELIVER RESULTS.
While effort is appreciated, what gets recognized and rewarded are results. Set high goals, don’t over promise, track and measure your progress, then hold yourself accountable for delivering on the results.
15. BE ACCOUNTABLE FOR SETTING AND RECEIVING CLEAR EXPECTATIONS.
Make sure your expectations are clear and what people hear is what you are asking. Be clear about what’s expected of you.
16. RESPECT CONFIDENTIALITY.
Honor the trust others give us. Be rigorous about keeping all information in confidence and be vigilant to safeguard it.
17. BE DEDICATED TO PERSONAL GROWTH.
Be a lifetime learner. Challenge yourself to take risks and operate outside of your comfort zone. Solicit feedback and learn from mistakes. Understand the nature of causing breakthroughs and live it as a discipline. Believe in Magic.
19. FIX PROBLEMS AT THE SOURCE.
Address issues by discovering the root cause rather than focusing on the symptoms or the consequences. Continuously seek improvement by developing long-term solutions.
20. APPRECIATE AND ACKNOWLEDGE.
Let people know your appreciation for the qualities that they possess. Being acknowledged for a task well done is important, being acknowledged for a character quality is lasting.
21. LEAD BY EXAMPLE.
The best way to influence others is “being the change you want to see.” Bring a calming presence. Help others to shine.
22. DEMONSTRATE URGENCY IN RESPONSE TIME AND FOLLOW-UP.
Model enthusiasm in your response to issues and rigor in your follow up. Make sure your work is accurate, complete, and timely. Keep people updated, and make sure they are clear about your communication(s).
23. PRACTICE RECOVERY.
When mistakes or errors in judgement happen, “own it.” Take the necessary steps to communicate to the appropriate parties, acknowledge your accountability, and set corrective steps in motion. “Get back in the game” quickly.
24. ASSUME POSITIVE INTENT.
Work from the assumption that people are good, fair, and honest. Set aside your own judgments or preconceived notions, and give people the benefit of the doubt. Look for the positive intent in their actions and communications.
25. PAY ATTENTION TO THE DETAILS.
Be rigorous about accuracy and precision. Double-check your work.
26. CONTINUOUSLY SEEK TO IMPROVE THE IMPACT WE MAKE.
Always seek a breakthrough approach. Our job is to improve the lives and work of the people we serve. This path takes planning, diligence, and thoughtfulness.
Every week Momentum focuses on one of our Fundamentals. If you would like to receive an email with the Fundamental of the Week ( or a monthly recap) click here: