LRN Perspectives

Do People Want to Work for Your Company? Joe Kale on How Your Culture Will Determine Your Fate

September 3, 2019 LRN Corporation

“If companies can get the culture right, it’s such a tremendous competitive advantage.”

 – Joe Kale

This episode of the Principled podcast finds our host Marsha Ershaghi Hames interviewing Executive Director of Ethics and Compliance at Creative Associates International, Joseph Kale. In this episode, Joe describes his experience building and running the ethics and compliance program at Lockheed Martin. Marsha and Joe both discuss the current focus on corporate culture as the ultimate competitive advantage that companies can leverage. They also cover why culture matters and the stakeholders that are key for culture change. Joe explains how critical it is that all levels of leadership exhibit behavior that is aligned with company values and how any inconsistencies can be rectified, both domestically and internationally.


  • [0:57] How did you enter the compliance and ethics field?
  • [1:10] Joe has been working in the field for 25 years now, with a large portion of that at Lockheed Martin, helping to build the program from its inception.
  • [2:24] Where did you draw inspiration and best practices from when building such a stellar system?
  • [2:37] Lockheed Martin is a very technical company, with most employees being engineers, so technology and established communication channels were the foundation for the program.
  • [3:49] As you progressed through your career, what levers or influences did you see in the design of effective compliance and ethics programs?
  • [3:59] For a long time companies had a “one and done” course methodology, but now there are many communication mediums that can be used to distribute information in shorter bursts and more frequently to better effect.
  • [5:18] As companies are evolving their compliance and ethics strategies, what hallmarks are you seeing in order for companies to scale their impact?
  • [5:36] The focus should first be on getting company culture right, which is a massive competitive advantage.
  • [7:08] Why does company culture matter?
  • [7:15] People are always a great asset, no matter the industry. The reputation of a company cannot be overstressed, because if employees feel valued and appreciated, they will want to work for the company and perform well.
  • [8:36] Who are the stakeholders that need to be collaborated with on the inside to really improve company culture?
  • [8:52] It has to begin with leadership’s demonstrative actions, which includes discussing the importance of the company values and how the whole team has to be aligned in embodying those values both internally and externally.
  • [10:35] How do you catalyze in middle layer of an organization to mobilize the messaging from the top?
  • [10:58] It comes down to behavior and leaders living the values of the company. When a member of the team is behaving inconsistently to the company values and beliefs, it has to be called out, and changes need to be made.
  • [12:57] How can inconsistent behavior be addressed and scaled when you are doing business outside the US?
  • [13:06] Education and repetitive messaging about the company values are necessary by all levels of leadership to effectively communicate expectations.
  • [14:52] What are some of the potential disruptors to culture being everyone’s responsibility?
  • [15:12] In today’s society of instant communications, prospective employees and customers are looking to work for and with companies with similar core values, otherwise they just won’t stick around.
    Don’t miss our next episode! Be sure to subscribe to Principled on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Play or wherever you listen to podcasts.
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By combining values-based education, rich insights, and expert advisory services into innovative, comprehensive solutions, LRN can help elevate behavior and the bottom line for your company.

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