Setting the Benchmark: March 2023

Pay It Forward
by Lynne Reyes, ACC

Benchmark ACTP and Advanced Coaching Alumna

Lynne Reyes


Today’s topic on how a healthy culture can define the success of the individual and the organization recalls that screaming scene in the Jerry Maguire movie, “Show me the money!!!”

No doubt, money is important, yet it is but one of the many measures of the value one brings.

Taking that perspective lens and using it to peer more closely into what people look for, point us to one important realization. In one’s search for a meaningful and successful career and in an organization’s objective of meeting its strategic and business objectives — there is so much more than just the bottomline.

“What is the culture like in your organization?” As a young individual years ago, aspiring for a successful corporate career, I found myself thoughtfully asking interviewers this question.

Why ask this question? What makes an organization’s culture important? What are embodied in an organization’s culture and when can you say it is healthy? What impact does the corporate culture have on the individual’s aspirations, on the values and norms that shape the behavior of its employees, on the achievement of the company’s strategic and business objectives?

Fast forward to today and many years after that interview, I go back to Jerry to reiterate the same words – it is not just the money, after all.

Years of corporate experience has taught me that money may always be a part of the equation but over and above that:

  • Creating value is critical wherever one goes. It gives one a meaningful sense of pride that what he does rolls up as a critical contribution to the attainment of the company’s overall objectives. That said, he needs to know that the value he creates is likewise valued and recognized.
  • A healthy corporate culture believes in supporting the personal growth and professional development of every member of its team (s). A fat paycheck, benefits and perks are all important as they serve as means to get much more out of life. Personal growth and development, on the other hand, is transformational as it builds capabilities to maximize one’s full potential into attaining a “higher self”.
  • All companies sell something – a product, an idea, a service. However, what we sell should translate to something of deeper meaning that transforms the lives of customers–- hope, fun, longevity, confidence, diversity, connectivity, – and should be woven into an inspiring vision that employees buy into. This vision shapes the values, norms, and behaviors of the employees inside and outside the organization.
  • Every team member who buys into that inspiring vision, becomes more engaged and collaborative, willing to go beyond good and motivated to go beyond the minimum expectations. These, then, result in a rewarding and fulfilling work experience that brings productivity to a higher level. When this happens, it benefits the employees and the organization as a whole.
Group holding soil with a sprout

A company’s culture and the values it espouses are embodied in its Mission & Vision statements. Let’s see what some of the globally successful organizations have to say:

The Coca-Cola Company

“At The Coca-Cola Company, we are a diverse global community of individuals growing, learning and thriving together. Our global system has thrived since 1886, driven by the passion of our employees and our culture of growth. Whether your career passion is business strategy, digital platforms or research and development, we’re thrilled to share more of our inclusive, people-first culture with you. We thrive on creating change and a better company for all — one that fosters connection and is as diverse and inclusive as the communities we serve.”

Our vision is to craft the brands and choice of drinks that people love, to refresh them in body & spirit. And done in ways that create a more sustainable business and better shared future that makes a difference in people’s lives, communities and our planet. (

Johnson & Johnson

“The values that guide our decision-making are spelled out in Our Credo. Put simply, Our Credo challenges us to put the needs and well-being of the people we serve first.

At Johnson & Johnson, we believe good health is the foundation of vibrant lives, thriving communities and forward progress. That’s why for more than 135 years, we have aimed to keep people well at every age and every stage of life. Today, as the world’s largest and most broadly based healthcare company, we are committed to using our reach and size for good. We strive to improve access and affordability, create healthier communities, and put a healthy mind, body and environment within reach of everyone, everywhere.

Every day, our more than 140,000 employees across the world are blending heart, science and ingenuity to profoundly change the trajectory of health for humanity.” (


Mission statement is: “To bringing the best user experience to customers through innovative hardware, software, and services.” Vision statement is: “To make the best products on earth and to leave the world better than we found it.“ (from Business Strategy Hub –

Alphabet (Google)

Google’s mission statement is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Its vision statement is to “provide an important service to the world-instantly delivering relevant information on virtually any topic.” In 2019, Sundar Pichai emphasized a renewed mission to allow people “to get things done!” (from Comparably –

A group holding hands

Common threads:

  • An inspiring vision that goes beyond the actual product they sell – changing and transforming the lives of the people and the markets they serve.
  • Learning and growing

In conclusion, the organization’s culture embodied in its mission and vision statements defines its work environment. A healthy culture and a work environment that fosters growth leads to high performing organizations.

As Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO says it so aptly, “The only thing we have is one another. The only competitive advantage we have is the culture and values of the company. Anyone can open up a coffee store. We have no technology; we have no patent. All we have is the relationship around the values of the company and what we bring to the customer every day. And we all have to own it.”

In end, let me bring this to the context of leadership coaching. As an Executive Coach, we coach not for functional or technical skills. We coach to help executives gain clarity on how they can become the great leaders they aspire to be, as they become more self-aware of the work climate they create, consciously model the values they espouse, appreciate and develop the uniqueness of their talents, and serve as an inspiration to the organization and the communities they serve. Now, that is leading at the human level!



  1. Run an employee survey to measure the quality of the workplace culture as the team experiences it. Be transparent about the results and process them through an open forum, to understand the context behind them. Then come up with an action plan to work on the areas needing improvement and circle back the following period to show developments.
  2. Run workshops to make sure your Vision, Mission and Values are clearly understood and adopted by everyone in the company, from the top level all the way to the most junior level staff. Define clear behavioral indicators about what each of your values mean and integrate them in everything that you do, including weaving them in development conversations with individual team members.
  3. Invest in engagement and teambuilding/team bonding activities, ranging from simple lunches out to full out of town teambuilding and company events.
  4. Foster a culture of candor and openness in all meetings, where people are invited to speak up, share their opinions and ideas, and just talk about how to further improve.
  5. Equip your leaders to set the example, live out this culture, and safeguard it in their individual teams. That means investing in leadership training to hone their mentoring, individual coaching and team coaching skills
5 Ways to Improve Your Company Culture Today
Best Practices


Can coaching really make a difference in society?

Today we’d like to share with you a story of our partner and client, the Zuellig Family Foundation (ZFF) to show you exactly how coaching can uplift entire communities.

Zuellig Family Foundation

ZFF is a non-government organization (NGO) focused on improving health conditions in rural Filipino communities by helping local government health leaders, including governors, mayors, provincial and municipal health officers, as well as officials of the Department of Health and other government agencies strengthen their competencies in health leadership and improve governance.

To do this, the organization recognizes and practices coaching as a key enabler of the organization’s employee development and performance, as well as a major intervention in its work with the health leaders. Starting 2018, ZFF has sent selected managers and directors, to Benchmark Consulting’s ICF-accredited Accelerated Coach Training Program to capacitate them to perform internal coaching as supervisors, and/or external coaching as account officers of partner local government units. All other supervisors and external liaisons have also been sent to undergo coaching skills training, including their Academic Partners from various educational institutions in the country who provide coaching support for LGU health leaders and their respective teams implementing local health programs.

This strong coaching culture has yielded results that not only benefited their organization internally, but also contributed to societal improvements, impacting 27 provinces, 776 municipalities, and 28 cities. Because they were coached, the organization’s staff performed at their best and even applied coaching on their partner local leaders, who were then immediately moved to find ways to address various health system gaps that prevent easy access to good quality, affordable health care services. As a result, even the disadvantaged members of the community have benefited, receiving proper medical attention from government without fear of paying out-of-pocket. Subsequently, health outcomes in these areas improved.

When the organization shifted to remote work due to the pandemic, they intensified further individual and team coaching conversations to manage anxieties and maintain trust, maintain a steady work rhythm, address new challenges and consistently provide support to their partner local government leaders, leading to better health outcomes. This is one of the reasons that the Coaching Culture of ZFF has been recognized by the International Coaching Federation in its local Prism Awards and was nominated to the ICF Global Awards as well.

ZFF has since stayed fully committed to utilizing coaching as a key driver of leadership development, performance and engagement of their employees and stakeholders in local government, thus supporting its mission of enabling local health systems to effectively achieve better health outcomes of all Filipinos through leadership and governance.

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