Exploring culture and creating trust

This picture shows people who are involved in the interview

Exploring Culture and Creating Trust

Q&A with Mario Buljan from eWyse

Interviewed By Kay Littlehales from Futureproof-ED Consultancy Ltd

So, each month Futureproof-ED take some valuable time out of the classroom to explore different perspectives from successful and talented start up companies from around the globe. I’ve been meaning to catch up with the highly motivated CEO and Founder of eWyse. After spending some precious time with Mario and his team, I’d best describe eWyse as the elite remote eLearning company with an edge.

I’ve been keen to interview Mario and discuss his take on culture. How does he relate to culture. Mario is an exceptional role model and this interview was so insightful. So, I was curious to ask Mario about his incredible journey in building and designing the very successful remote eLearning team, here goes….

Q: So, Mario, you talk about culture quite frequently. What does culture mean to you?

A: Yes, it’s been and continues to be an amazing journey here at eWyse. And while there are many things that have contributed to our success, as well as some of our setbacks, I would say that, as in life, it’s vital to build the strong foundations first. And culture is part of those foundations. 

What I’m about to say may sound a little strange, but in my view, culture is as important to a company as your physical & mental health is to you. And to maintain your health takes work. You can’t just expect to stay fit, strong and disease-free without this effort.

Each day things will set out to destroy the good culture you spent so long nurturing. Employees who are not on-side, regulation changes or unreasonable client demands, for example. These things are like poisons or microbial diseases that, if left unchecked, will spread and infect the whole organisation.

The answer is to treat the maintenance of company culture as a nutritionist and doctor would treat the maintenance of a person’s health. This regular maintenance of culture acts as both prevention against, as well as a cure to the negative influences that attempt to damage it.

And like an infected body, a company can also be healed. Good leadership from the top management within an organisation can turn the company around and lead to better results. The bottom line is good culture means good results. And who wouldn’t want that?

Q: Following on from culture. What do you think truly creates a better and consistent, engaging culture?

A: So, as I mentioned earlier, a company culture starts at the top and works its way throughout the organisation. This leads to consistency within the organisation and the security that each member of the team is doing whatever it takes to achieve a good result. 

I would also define this as a better and more engaging culture. Actually, it’s probably worth going back a step and saying that there are two types of organisational culture: the culture of ‘doing the job’ and also the culture of ‘achieving results.’

People that work in the first of the two tend to operate in a silo-like mentality. They demonstrate unproductive behaviours such as saying, ‘it’s not my job,’ ‘it’s not my fault,’ or ‘we always did it this way.’ 

This leads to an unproductive blame-culture and is the exact opposite of a results-led culture, which is actually what I call a ‘culture of accountability.’     

The culture of accountability is one that is consistent and congruent. Within this type of organisation, all team members are aligned to the same goal. They do what it takes to get to the goal. They wear many hats and do a variety of things, sometimes moving way outside of their comfort zones to try things that help to move the company forward.

Here at eWyse, I encourage this mindset within all of my colleagues. We are a small, but highly motivated team and I love the fact that any-one of them will step up and try out new things to get the result, whether it’s working on the design of a new course, or re-defining a client’s plan. Each member of our unique team know that they cannot lose by throwing themselves into the task or a fresh concept. I just love the feeling it creates. It’s like energising feedback that works its way back up to the top and completes the circle!

The Result Wheel Model

Picture describes the Result wheel Model

This tool was developed after years of working with different organisations for years and helping them to make the cultural shift.

Put simply, the organisational result (or desired result) is directly impacted by all of the surrounding factors, but it’s only possible to improve that result by changing one aspect – the experiences. This is because experiences lead to specific mindsets, beliefs and behaviours.

Q: So, how do we improve the result?

A: It’s almost impossible to change people’s beliefs or behaviours without them creating a new type of experience. This is something that most managers fail to realise by forcing new beliefs and work practices onto ‘errant’ employees. This never works in the long run, of course. But create new experiences and you build the foundation for the mental mindsets shown in the circle – and it’s self-perpetuating!

The Personal Choice Model (Connect & Create method of working)

Picture describes Personal choice model-toolThe Personal Choice Model is a model of empowerment that seems self-explanatory and has been used by us to great effect. It’s another way of reaffirming the power of a positive organisational culture, as well as a way of emphasising the benefits of working within this culture of positive control. 

By deciding to be in the centre of the wheel, employees feel empowered and unified with the company’s mission. It’s a completely different experience to those who choose to remain outside of this way of operating. The behaviours of both groups of individuals may be summarised by the following adaption to the diagram:



And I just want to stress the power of these tools from a personal perspective. About 5 years after I started a training and consultancy company, we had a problem. We were doing mainly face-to-face training courses for businesses in Croatia and the surrounding area. But the market was dying. I quickly realised that we had to completely change our business to survive. That decision led to the creation of eWyse as an eLearning agency with client’s all over the world, as well as opportunities for growth that would never have been possible before.

We could have stayed in the old way of working, stubbornly digging in our heals and blaming the inevitable demise of our brand upon circumstances beyond our control, but we didn’t. Using the common-sense tools of Result Wheel, the Personal Choice Model meant that the culture of performance could be learned and applied to all people across the company. 

So, going back to my medical analogy from earlier, these tools are like the fuel that keeps the strong ‘can-do’ mentality and culture in place. And it’s this consistency that keeps me getting out of bed in the morning to enjoy another day of challenges!:)

Interviewed By Kay Littlehales from Futureproof-ED Consultancy Ltd