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Building a thriving company culture has been important to Eastridge for over 50 years. Eastridge CEO, Seth Stein, credits much of the company’s success in staffing to a strong culture.  

In our second piece on the road to The Culture Forum October 24-25, Seth Stein is joined by former WD-40 Company CEO, current Eastridge Board Member, and Executive Coach and Chairman Emeritus, Garry Ridge, in conversation about their shared servant leadership principles and how they have contributed to each company’s success. This conversation takes place ahead of Garry’s keynote at The Culture Forum, of which he is a founder and an organizer.

Garry and Seth share their insights related to culture across a range of topics, including:

- Why good leadership has more to do with coaching than with managing

- Leadership’s role in developing employees

- The foundational role values play in creating culture

- How a good culture can take employee performance to a higher level

- How an engaged workforce translates into better business outcomes

- HR’s critical role in building culture

- Why learning moments should replace mistakes



What shaped WD-40’s company culture:

“We wanted to take the blue and yellow can with a little red top to the world. And we couldn't do that if we were micro-managers, and didn't have a clear structure of values that help protect people and set them free.”  – Garry Ridge


Why culture matters:

“It's about leaders creating a culture that brings out the best of others because we can't do it on our own.”  – Garry Ridge


The role of leadership in fostering positive company culture:

“You've got to not only reward and applaud the great behavior, but you've got to be brave enough as a leader to redirect behaviors that are toxic in that culture… this is not Kumbaya singing on a Friday afternoon. Building culture is tough work.” 

“Leadership is not about being in charge. It's about taking care of the people in your charge.” 

– Garry Ridge

HR’s partnership with leadership and its impact on the business:

 “It's about helping those that have the privilege to lead. Be great at what they do. What makes a strategic plan effective is execution.… if you have a highly engaged workforce and a pretty good strategy, the outcome will be a lot better than if you have a great strategy.  – Garry Ridge


On leadership:

“I recently read from Kirby Smart, the head coach of the Georgia University of Georgia football team. And he said, you can't ignore the cost of leadership. Great leaders are willing to accept those costs. Number one, you'll have to make hard decisions that negatively affect people you care about. Number two, you will be disliked despite your best attempts to do the best for the most. And number three, you'll be misunderstood… My sense is if you have clear values and a clear purpose and you're consistent, you don't have to defend yourself.” – Seth Stein


On the role of HR in creating culture:

“One of the first things I did when I became CEO is I brought in our first ever Chief human resources officer because I understood the impact and the importance of the executive and our relationship in creating a great culture.” – Seth Stein

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