Creating Collaborative Cultures: Tapping the Genius of Your Teams Part 2 with Jason Gore
Money, Mission and Meaning
Mark Michael Lewis

Episode 10 - Creating Collaborative Cultures: Tapping the Genius of Your Teams Part 2 with Jason Gore

In this episode Mark Michael Lewis, CEO of, continues his second interview with Jason Gore of about his work building corporate cultures that harness the power of their people through collaboration. We explore the 6th and crowning practice of The Collaborative Way and how it integrates the other 5 into a whole that is truly greater than the sum of its parts.



Creating Collaborative Cultures: Tapping the Genius of Your Teams Part 2
with Jason Gore

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Announcer:  This is part two of a two-part podcast.  If you would like part one, you will find it at


Mark Lewis:  Welcome to ‘Money Mission and Meaning - Passion at Work, Purpose at Play”, where we explore how we can integrate our personal values and professional skills to create pleasure and profit in the business of life.  I'm your host, Mark Michael Lewis, CEO of Smart Energy Enterprises Inc.  SEE-Inc.  A Beautiful Future Now!


Mark Lewis:  Part of that is you bringing your gifts and being willing to risk giving your gifts and having them either honored or not.  But the other half is creating a context in which other people can give their gifts.  It's so funny; we were just describing this collaborative culture.  And it's my guess that a lot of people who are listening are going, “That’s not my corporate culture!”


Jason Gore:  He turns to Fred and starts to just acknowledge him for being part of the company for 17 years and how he basically has a high school education, never went on to college and could have never succeeded or had a family or gotten his kids into school if it wasn't for this company.  And the CEO just starts to cry. 

Jason Gore: I essentially drowned.  I lost consciousness.  I remember losing consciousness up to the point that I actually lost consciousness. And from my perspective I thought that was it.  But the next thing I know, I feel a texture on my cheek.  I open my eyes and I see that I am lying on sand.  And well, I actually puked my guts out.  I pass out again.  And when I wake up after that, it's like I'm on a beach alone.

Mark Lewis:  Today's show continues our interview with Jason Scott Gore, corporate trainer, facilitator as we share the final of six integrated practices to create collaborative cultures.

Jason is an MBA whose demand sends him around the country working with clients such as Capital One, AT&T, Bell South and Cisco.  Without further ado, let's continue our interview.

So I guess that brings up a question.  So now I have actually honored the commitment, right?  I have made the commitment.  We have focused on the result.  Now I have gotten the result.  How does collaboration deal with that?

Jason Gore:  Well, the last step in any commitment cycle is that the person to whom the commitment is made receives the work product.  Let's say it is a report in this case.

Mark Lewis:  All right.

Jason Gore:  And he should really give feedback about if he got what he wanted.  So if he did not get what he wanted, it is important to share that and say, “Hey, I'm really actually dissatisfied.  This isn't what I want.” Because that way that person can learn and produce a better results in the future as well as take what's missing and hopefully correct it.

But if the manager did get what he wanted or lot of what he got was good, then at that point it is a huge opportunity for an acknowledgment.  And I think most managers know that they really need to acknowledge their employees more often.  And yet we just don't do it.

Mark Lewis:  Well, so that brings up the question because the word ‘acknowledge’ has a number of different meanings.  It sounds like you are using it in a particular way.  What does it mean to acknowledge someone for honoring a commitment?

Jason Gore:  Well, I think acknowledgment in general is about sharing with someone how what they did had an impact on you and to acknowledge them for their contribution, for their intention, for their hard work.  A lot of people store up their appreciation.  They think, “Oh, I'll do it in the next big meeting or I'll do it usually at the end of the year during the employee - ”

Mark Lewis: In the annual report.

Jason Gore:  Exactly, which of course never goes as well as people expect.  I think part of that is because in order for a team to really work together, it has to be sitting on top of relationship.  Relationship is often developed by honest and authentic communication but also by really acknowledging and appreciating each other.

When you are talking to someone and they didn't do a good job and it is on top of a foundation of appreciation, you could pretty much tell them anything. You could tell them, “Wow, you really screwed up on this one!”  And they'll smile and they'll go, “Yup, I did.” if they know that you appreciate them in the overall context.

The way that that happens is to every little momentary interaction, every time you can, instead of saying, “Great, good job” say, “Thanks.  I really appreciate how you followed through on this and got it to me on time.  This report is far deeper than I could imagine and I'm going to be able to deliver this to the executive team next week and it is going to make a pretty huge impact for this organization and this team.”

Just to take a few seconds to do that, that person will leave completely shining and blooming.

Mark Lewis: Right.  It almost sounds, again bringing back all of these different pieces of it, like you are speaking straight to someone and telling them, for them, how they contributed.

Jason Gore:  Mmm hmm.

Mark Lewis:  So here I am.  I have honored my commitment, right?  I have made it.  I have followed through on it.  I did the best I could with the knowledge I had, right?  Now with the acknowledgment, I am actually getting to learn what worked and what didn't.  Like, “Oh, here are the pieces that actually contributed.  So I created this thing and as far as I'm concerned it is done.  But when you acknowledge me it sounds like I actually get to feel the value of what it is that I have created in the next step of the process.  So now I am connected to the organization and I am connected to you because I now know that you are finding me valuable.”

Jason Gore:  Right.  And that person will be far more motivated to do an even better job next time.

Mark Lewis:  Right.  So acknowledgment, as I am getting a sense for this collaborative culture, is really a culture in which I feel good about my participation and I know what my participation is.  I know because I am being spoken straight to.

Jason Gore:  Mmm hmm.

Mark Lewis:  I know because I know what we are up to.

Jason Gore:  Right.

Mark Lewis:  Right?  And I am making commitments.  I am honoring commitments.  I am getting acknowledged for them.  And so I am actually present to is what my place in the organization, and it is a positive place in the organization so I want to contribute and there is a space for me to contribute.

Jason Gore:  It’s truly remarkable to me how an organization can shift when those practices are put in place.  How information flows much more easily, how innovation from all different corners of the organization start to flow up to the people who can actually make those innovations happen.

You can feel a completely different culture when you walk into a place when all those practices are in place.

Mark Lewis: Right, well again, the show is called ‘Money Mission and Meeting - Passion at Work.  Purpose at Play’.  And to bring your passion to work, part of that is you bring your gifts and being willing to risk giving your gifts and having them either honored or not.  But the other half is creating a context in which other people can give their gifts.  It's so funny; we were just describing this collaborative culture.  And it's my guess that a lot of people who are listening are going, “That’s not my corporate culture!”


Mark Lewis:  Right?  It's like that's exactly what's not working.  That's what's not working.  That's what's not working.  And one of the things I love about what you are up to is while you are going out and teaching executives this, and you're actually working with them on these practices for months and months, so they can actually embody them –

Jason Gore:  Yes, just to jump in there - we work with them one day a month for about six months.

Mark Lewis:  Oh, OK, great.  That is important.


Jason Gore:  So we're not drilling them day after day.

Mark Lewis:  Exactly.

Jason Gore:  We pull all the executives aside for a day and we work together on one specific practice.  And then they go out in the implement it in their work lives.  And then on the next month we come back and we go and check on how it went.  And we work with them from the perspective of, “Hey these are the projects that you're working on.  How are they going?” 

And almost always, all the places where the executives get stuck are almost always because they are not doing one aspect or practice in the collaborative way.  So then that next month will focus on that.

Mark Lewis:  Right. And I'm sure when you come in, during the thing, you're actually making commitments that they can honor.  And then you're acknowledging them for what they did and speaking straight to them and you know what you're up to.  It's like you're actually modeling for them the collaborative process that you're teaching them.

We're going to take a quick break.  When we come back I want to talk more about what it means to you to participate in that and how it feels for you and how it fits in with the purpose we were talking about in the first show, are really making a difference in the world.  Also I want to talk with you about the experience you had with your near-death and how that impacts how you bring the collaborative way to your clients.


Mark Lewis:  This is Mark Michael Lewis.  The show is ‘Money Mission and Meaning’.  We are talking with Jason Scott Gore.  We will be back in just a moment.



Mark Lewis:  And we're back.  We are speaking with Jason Scott Gore, collaborative way consultant, corporate trainer.  My name is Mark Michael Lewis of ‘Money Mission and Meaning’.

So before the break, one of the questions I was really curious about is this.  So you go into a company and you actually train their executives and you get to watch them develop.  You get to watch the effect that you have on this executive team and essentially the effect that executive team has on the other culture.  And when you're working with line workers in the various places, you get to watch the transformation.

How does it feel for you personally to know that you are making that difference?

Jason Gore:  It’s pretty remarkable when you go into a company and 6 months or 12 months later you get to watch the quality of the interaction and know that it is incredibly different than it would have been 12 months previously. 

I remember when we were working with appreciation with one executive team.  There was this one line worker that was part of the management team.  He was the supervisor of the shop floor.  And most of his time was spent down on the shop floor.  He was a guy that had risen up the ranks until he was supervisor.  And he had probably 40 or 50 people reporting to him.  This guy, you know, he was a big truck driver.  And we were on appreciation.  He says, “I don't see how this applies to me.  My guys have certain metrics that they have to complete and if they don't do that over the course of a month for example and really get up to those metrics, then they don't have a job.  So what, I just say, “Thanks for doing your job”?  Like, appreciation does not fit into my life.”

Mark Lewis:  How am I supposed to acknowledge them?

Jason Gore:  So we asked him to try it out.  And the CEO of the company was in the room.  We were working together as a team and we said, “David would you be willing to try on acknowledging your CEO, Fred?”  I was making up names.  Hopefully I will remember them in two seconds.

So David says, “OK”. After a little hesitation he agrees and he turns to Fred and starts to just acknowledge him for being part of the company for 17 years and how he basically has a high school education, never went on to college and could have never succeeded or had a family or gotten his kids into school if it wasn't for this company.  And the CEO just starts to cry.  A tear just wells up in his eyes.

David sees this and tears start to well up in his eyes.  And the CEO basically says, “You know, that's why I do this company.  I run a small company in a small town.  And this whole town survives because of this company.  And for me to hear that you impacted even in that way and you were able to send your kids to school because of it makes me really happy that I chose to be the CEO of this company.”

And in hearing that, of course David started to cry more.  And the whole room broke up a little bit.  It was just a really touching moment.

Mark Lewis:  I'm guessing that in the same way that the CEO was touched by David's sharing, how was it for you to watch that happen?

Jason Gore:  For me it was just amazing to know that I catalyze that ended that my presence there, whatever I was bringing that day, created a deeper relationship and created a deep level of satisfaction and that they were going to then take that out to the rest of their teams and how that was going to ripple out from there.  It felt really good.

Mark Lewis:  Yeah.  I'm imagining in the last year you talked about how you actually were underwater and you breathed in water and passed out.  Then you woke up later, right?  From that, it kind of changed your perspective on what you were doing.

Jason Gore:  [chuckles]

Mark Lewis:  How is that moment, which I'm sure is one of many moments where something you have done has catalyzed this kind of new opening into partnership, into - for lack of a better term - love and this collaborative process, how is that a fulfillment of what you woke up to?  It's a very leading question.

Jason Gore:  So, I essentially drowned.  I lost consciousness.  I remember losing consciousness up to the point that I actually lost consciousness. And from my perspective I thought that was it.  But the next thing I know, I feel a texture on my cheek.  I open my eyes and I see that I am lying on sand.  And well, I actually puked my guts out.  I pass out again.  And when I wake up after that, it's like I'm on a beach alone.

I am in the middle of Costa Rica.  There are cliffs all around me.  There is nowhere to go except back in the river because I can't climb these cliffs.

Mark Lewis:  Oh, wow.

Jason Gore:  The question on my mind is, ‘Am I alive or not alive?’

Mark Lewis:  Is this an afterlife?

Jason Gore:  I pinched myself.  And I'm like, “OK, what does that tell me?”  I pinched myself harder and it's like, “Oh, that hurt.  That still doesn't tell me anything.”  Like maybe it hurts up here.

Mark Lewis:  Right.

Jason Gore:  [laughs] And for about three hours I had no contact at all with anyone.  I just was sitting, waiting, not necessarily for anything; there was nothing I could do.  What was going through my mind at that point in time was not all the things that I had done or all the things that I was yet to do, it was all the people in my life that I was going to miss. 

And I really just understood at that moment that what makes life so incredibly rich is relationship.  It’s friends.  It’s intimacy.  It's the people in your life, not what you do.  So for me that was just a very telling moment because I have always been very results driven and I would always push through relationship to achieve the results.  “If you're not going to do it, dammit I will find someone else that will.”

Mark Lewis:  Right.

Jason Gore:  I was just always focused on trying to do and accomplish as much as possible.  And I think that experience taught me that it is the people that count.  If you learn to relate to people effectively, then you could actually accomplish your goals much faster.  So it's not like there is this either/or.  It's a yes/and situation.

Mark Lewis:  Right.

Jason Gore:  And it's also one of the juices in life.  At the end of the day, when I die, whether it is tomorrow or 40 years from now, I guess I want to know and look back and say, “Yeah, I have done a good job of loving people in my life.”

Mark Lewis:  You were just talking about Fred and David, right?  I'm imagining that they have been doing their business and every day David is getting his results and things like that.  What day is he going to remember?  He is going to remember the day that he actually acknowledged and appreciated the CEO and the tears welled up in their eyes and there was that human connection and relationship. 

The term you used is ‘rich’.  And I really appreciate you using that because sometimes people say, “Oh, relationship is good.  Money and results are heartless and it is meaningless.”  This is Money Mission and Meaning.  It is the integration of that.

The relationship, that lived experience is simply so rich.  It is the meaning of the money.  Right?  You're making money.  You do this work.  Why?  This guy was doing it so he could support his family and so he could send his kids to school.  Why?  So that they could have those experiences of relationship and meaning and richness and I appreciate you sharing that.

Jason Gore:  You know, it's amazing Mark.  The most surprising thing about corporations is that the higher you go, the lonelier it gets.  Everybody puts CEOs and executives up on this pedestal, especially in America in our culture.  We don't really relate to them as human anymore.  We relate to them as people of power and resource and ‘Wow, how did they get there?’

At the end of the day they are just as human as we are.  When you're at the top the most consistent complaint that I get is, “Wow, it's really alone.  No one talks to me.  No one really gives me their opinion.  They all say yes to me.  And I never find out the information that I need to know.”

When you implement all these practices that pretty much all goes away or least gets lessened significantly because people are then given permission to speak up and share their ideas.  When they disagree with your opinion they are going to let you know.  And you might decide that, “Hey I'm going to stick to my guns on this one and we are going this way as a company” because as a CEO that is your right and in fact it is your responsibility.

Mark Lewis:  Yeah, you've got to lead.

Jason Gore:  Exactly.  But what you're going to find is a richness, going back to that word, of conversation and that maybe 10% of your implementation plan is going to change because of the conversation.  And that 10% is going to make a big difference in terms of getting alignment across the whole organization and getting the whole organization behind the strategic initiatives that you are really trying to implement.

Mark Lewis:  Right, and when they get behind it then they bring their innovation in their genius to it.  Instead of trying to pull this entire organization, you can set a goal and have the organization work with you towards it.  So the whole process becomes not only more effective, but I love what you were pointing to - it becomes richer and more meaningful and more valuable because it's not just about achieving the result.  It's about the relationships that you build, and the teamwork of doing that.

Jason Gore:  Exactly.  People want to produce value.  They want to satisfy their customers.  They want to do a good job.  And it is just a matter of giving them the tools and giving the team the tools to manage the complexity of team environments such that they could have that excitement.  They could really contribute.  They could get engaged by what they are doing individually as well as a team and produce individually as well as produce the outcomes as a team and as an organization that are going to really move the organization forward successfully.

Mark Lewis:  Right.  And from my perspective, it's going to make it so that they can love their work because they're actually bringing their gifts. And as you go through the Six Practices of the Collaborative Way, so that they are actually seeing, so that they feel that the organization and their peers and their bosses are for them and that their team is for them.  So you get this experience of meeting with the money, which for me is really what it is all about.  I think that's the greatest accomplishments to neither make money without meaning, nor give up money in order to pursue meaning but to find a way of creating and making meaning as you make money.

So I really appreciate you coming in today. The collaboration principles you have talked about I think are something that anyone can use.  And they will help those who are in a position to actually use your services, bring you in to use your expertise to teach the executives these practices.  This is such that they can create organizations that are using this genius and are bringing this meaning and that are tapping into the beauty and the passion and the skills and the heart of their people so that you can deal in this marketplace, which is just changing so quickly that the command-and-control perspective as methodology is just not working so well.

So thank you very much.

Jason Gore:  You’re welcome Mark.  You know, before we end, I just want to say that a lot of people come to me and say, “Hey, as an individual, I want to learn more about this.  How can I do that if I don't bring you into the company?”  Should I share a little bit about that?

Mark Lewis:  Oh, absolutely.  I was just going to get into your website and what you are up to.  But please - let's just follow that up.

Let’s say someone says, “I want to learn more about this.”  Right?  How do they do that, other than bringing you in perhaps as a first step to deciding whether or not they want to bring you in?

Jason Gore:  As I mentioned earlier we have a website, on which we try to give as much information away for free as we can.

Mark Lewis:  Yes, by the way they have a great newsletter in which they go through the various principles.  It rocks.  I love it.  So there is a little plug for you.

Jason Gore:  Yeah, the newsletter we send out every six weeks or so.  Anybody can get it.  We want to make this available to as many people as possible.  And each newsletter is intended to share a specific practice that people can implement almost immediately.  I constantly get e-mails back.  Every time I send one of these, I get e-mails back saying, “Wow, I'm going to use this in a meeting tomorrow.”  Or usually they'll say, “Oh, I could have really used that yesterday.”


Mark Lewis:  Exactly.  Hindsight is 20/20.

Jason Gore:  And they are very short.  They take about a minute - 60 to 90 seconds to read because I know that people don't have a lot of time.  We are all overwhelmed with e-mails so I typically will share a story about something that happened in the last year and explain what went wrong and what to do differently in the future to avoid that situation.

Mark Lewis:  Right.  Yeah.  And again, it's fantastic news.  So besides the newsletter, what else do you offer on your site?

Jason Gore:  Well, on the site you can sign up for the newsletter and once you enter your e-mail address you will get that every six weeks.  My partner also just finished a book.

Mark Lewis:  So you can get that on the site?

Jason Gore:  Yes, you can order it right on the site.

Mark Lewis:  OK.  Great.  Well again, thank you Jason Scott Gore, collaborative consultant.  Thanks for coming on the show.

Jason Gore:  It’s my pleasure Mark.

Mark Lewis:  for more information on Jason Scott Gore and how you might use his collaborative ways of training and facilitation in your own organization, or just benefit from the newsletter go to For text and transcripts of this show and other shows on the Personal Life Media Network, please visit our website at

I'm your host Mark Michael Lewis, CEO of Smart Energy Enterprises, SEE-Inc - A Beautiful Future Now.  That brings us to the end of our show.  Thanks for listening and join us next week on Money Mission and Meaning - Passion at Work.  Purpose at Play’ as we interview cutting-edge business leaders who are committed to making a positive difference in the world about the motivation and the practical ideas that create pleasure and profit in the business of life.

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