Cultural Brilliance: The DNA of Organizational Excellence

With Host Claudette Rowley – Transformation Talk Radio – Every 2nd & 4th Friday 10 AM (PT)/1 PM (ET)

“Looking for a Collaborative Culture” – With Special Guest Martha Miser


I had the pleasure of interviewing Martha Miser on my show Cultural Brilliance Radio. Martha is the founder and president of Aduro Consulting, a Boston-based consulting and coaching firm, specializing in leadership and change for purpose driven companies. For over 30 years, Martha Miser has held leadership positions in both private and public-sector organizations, including Director of Operations Improvement and Assistant City Manager for Administrative Services for the city of Hartford, Connecticut, as well as Global Head of Leadership and Change for ING in the Netherlands. Martha has a BA in American Studies from Hamilton College, an MPA in Public Administration from Syracuse University, and a PhD in Leadership and Change from Antioch University.

Below is an article written by the Conscious Business Radio team about the show.

Cultural Brilliance helps you experience groundbreaking ways to transform your company’s culture. Host Claudette Rowley invites some of the foremost experts on organizational culture to help understand how to make a brilliant culture the rule rather than the exception.

Claudette had the opportunity to speak with Martha Miser, a pioneer in the field of leadership development.

The interview began with an explanation of Martha’s current focus – which is best described as working with organizations that seek to have an impact beyond the bottom line. Particularly, disrupting these organizations so that people think differently about themselves and their relationships. This subsequently leads to organizations that are more awake, passionate, more human and more focused. All of which adds up to better business results.

Both Claudette and Martha agreed that one of the things they wanted to discuss during the interview is the idea of collaboration in organizations. Claudette specifically mentions how sometimes, collaboration is very challenging and it’s not quite what it seems to be. Detailing some of these challenges, Martha explains that in her extensive experience – every organization deals with situations where they have kind of endemic fear-based cultures, kind of finger pointing. Along with this, the outdated ways of working in organizations that many people have can certainly play a part. Claudette goes on to clarify the challenge of collaboration by explaining the difficulty of asking people to come together in so many different ways, when so many organizations are not set up for it – lacking the structure, mentality, the ways of connecting and relating that are necessary to be able to collaborate effectively.

As for trying to describe how collaboration truly looks in an organization – Martha and Claudette next discuss the question of democracy in an organization. Martha states that when this topic is looked at from a broader perspective, it becomes obvious that one of the most daunting challenges in collaboration is the question of democracy. Greek in origin, democracy translates to “rule by the people”, which in essence demands collective problem solving. However, Martha explains that democracy is only as good as its institution, and the real issue is not just what democracy is, but how it is done. Democracy is not a thing per say, Martha explains it’s not something that happens, that you put in place – it is an ongoing process that is continually recreated in our behaviors and our daily conversations, which is exactly how collaboration works in an organization. Claudette brings up the point that oftentimes, organizations are looking at collaboration as something to be checked off a list. Martha agrees, and talks about the difference in real collaboration versus the “tick the box” kind.  As an example, she uses the quote, “They were consciously engaged with the difficult reality of unavoidable, unending, careful, respectful struggle.” (Cynthia Coburn) The dynamic essence of democracy, and the mega-collaboration challenge, can be described as a respectful struggle, with the hope of achieving people working together to overcome tough issues, where there’s little agreement and no apparent answers.


To listen to the full show, click here

To contact Martha Miser, email her at

For more information on Aduro Consulting, click here

Click here for Claudette Rowley’s website, Cultural Brilliance

(Archived episodes available at and