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Building Better Cultures

Hosted by Scott McInnes, founder of Inspiring Change, we talk to guests about how really good internal comms, engagement and leadership all contribute to 'Building Better Cultures'. We tend to shy away from theory and focus more on really practical advice, great stories and best-practice.

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Jun 21, 2021

If it were up to Stuart Lancaster, he’d make emotional intelligence, communication and leadership core subjects starting early on in school. The nationally recognized rugby coach and high-performance leadership expert shares his experience and insights  -- on and off the field -- in this episode of the Building Better Cultures podcast.

Vision and purpose are the starting point for Stuart, whose online master class distills years of learning gleaned from navigating highly competitive environments. He has observed that the most successful leaders take focused time to know themselves and, with that self-awareness, are able to communicate authentically. That vulnerability, says Stuart, is more than anything else what compels and inspires people to give 110% to whatever team effort.

But where do leaders come from? How are they made? Based on his own observations as a coach, Stuart believes age and seniority in no way guarantee the ability to empower and drive teams. Organizations depend on clearly articulated goals and a culture of safety in which everyone – from the novice to the veteran – feels respected and heard.

Enjoy this lively exchange of ideas and candid look at what it takes to build a healthy team environment in which everyone thrives – whether on the rugby pitch, at the highest echelons of commerce or in everyday life.

Learn more about Stuart’s six-module online master class, which includes bonus material and resources, by clicking here.

To learn more about the Building Better Cultures podcast and related services, visit

Key Takeaways:

  • About Stuart’s formative years on a farm and his eventual move to boarding school and university studies that taught him early leadership lessons.
  • Rugby started as an athletic pursuit for Stuart but, following an injury, wound up putting him on the path to coaching and ultimately becoming a sought-after expert on leadership strategies for high-performance cultures.
  • How Stuart defines and measures for environments that are healthy, diverse and inclusive.
  • The role of psychological safety in workplace cultures and the purpose it serves as far as empowering and inspiring teams.
  • Genuine diversity of opinion and fresh ideas can’t happen without everyone – from top leadership on down – feeling confident that their voice will be respected and heard. 
  • Investing in young people and growing leadership from within is a core value for Stuart that he believes translates across all kinds of organizations.
  • Big personalities will by default become dominant leaders – when in fact the loudest voices don’t necessarily make the best leaders.
  • Seniority doesn’t always equate with visionary leadership. To the contrary!
  • Purpose-driven training and vision are key elements in the development of leaders in any team culture.
  • Before identifying a leader it’s critically important to have a process and understand the nature of the role as well as a candidate’s skill set.
  • Why authenticity is so important to cultivating a successful leadership style.
  • Growth mentality requires curiosity, hunger to learn more and the ability to receive constructive criticism as a gift.
  • High-performance cultures start early, cultivating the basics that Stuart believes are essential (and the sooner the better): emotional intelligence, communication and leadership skills.
  • Vision: Where we’re going. Purpose: Why we’re doing it. Stuart shares thoughts on how to use internal communications to inspire organizations and create aspirational energy.
  • Parting Thought: Inspiring leadership is more important than ever and requires time to get quiet, reflect on values and dig deep for the vulnerability that will resonate with and motivate others.