Building a High Performance Culture Part I

Culture Words that Work: Earn and Deserve

According to class attendees, one of the most helpful parts of my Up Your Business 2.0 Super Leadership Workshop is when I have attendees create two columns on a page and write “Strong Cultural Words to Weave In” on one side of the page and “Weak Cultural Words to Weed Out” on the other side. Over the course of the two days I add to the list to create a blueprint of the mindsets, values, attitudes and behaviors you must embed in a great culture, as well as the destructive mindsets, values, attitudes and behaviors you must remove. Over the next several blog posts I’ll share words from each column to help you do the same:

Strong Cultural Words to Weave in: Earn and Deserve.


A. Earn: to acquire through merit.

B. Deserve: to be worthy of, to qualify for.


An “earn and deserve culture” repels entitlement. It sends the message that all team members will receive rewards, opportunities, promotions and discretion in accordance to what they’ve acquired through merit, what they’re worthy of, and what they’ve qualified for.

“Boss, why didn’t I get an end-of-the-year-raise?”

“Because you didn’t acquire it through merit. In our culture we reward results not requests, stepping up versus showing up. Let’s sit down and redefine expectations so you’ll more clearly understand how to qualify for, and be worthy of, additional compensation.”

Or…

“Boss, I’d like the next shot at management, after all I’ve been here the longest.”

“I sincerely appreciate your interest in advancing in our organization. However, in our culture we reward results over tenure; the person we promote will be he or she that is most qualified for, and worthy of, and additional responsibilities. I’m happy to lay out for you exactly what you can do to earn a shot at future promotions.”