Cathy McCullough

Cathy McCullough
Cathy McCullough is a Business Growth Consultant and Culture Expert with Rhythm Systems. For 25 years, she has worked with leaders of organizations of all sizes and sectors by providing consulting and coaching for business growth. Areas of expertise include strategy development for growth, cultivating accountability, creating high performance environments, organizational culture, and leadership. Cathy is also a keynote and workshop speaker at national and international conferences. Contact:
Find me on:

Recent Posts

The Five C's of Team Accountability

By: Cathy McCulloughThu, Feb 16, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

From a leadership perspective, there’s a real thirst for increasing accountability. Leaders have recently asked me various questions that linger over the concept of building accountability:

“How do I do that?”

What else can I do to get people to do what we need them to do?”

“How can I hold people accountable and still be seen as a good leader?”

Building team accountability requires that we understand a few dynamics because it’s more complicated than we might recognize.

Read More

Topics: Accountability

Becoming an Accountable Leader: From Aspiration to Reality

By: Cathy McCulloughSun, Jan 22, 2017 @ 12:00 PM

The key question relative to becoming an accountable leader is this: How do you turn an aspiration into a reality?

At the last Rhythm Systems Breakthrough Conference in Charlotte, I was honored to provide a keynote presentation on becoming an accountable leader. I shared what I’ve observed in my 25 years of working with leaders of amazing companies. Over these years, I’ve had the privilege of working with a lot of men and women who truly do desire to become better leaders. As I reflected on that thought, I realized even more that great leadership is a journey. Whereas a company has a long-term vision or BHAG (longer term because it’s like leading an expedition up Mt. Everest—which takes dedication, focus, commitment, and time around some powerful Winning Moves), leaders must desire to be great. Many leaders can be good, but to be great is their true aspiration. 

Read More

Topics: Leadership, Accountability

Leadership Tips to Help Your People Solve Their Own Problems (Part 2)

By: Cathy McCulloughThu, Dec 22, 2016 @ 09:00 AM

In my last post, I began exploring the question of how to help your people master the skill of problem-solving. While the ability to create their own solutions in real-time is a trait that leaders crave in their teams, often leaders fail to create environments where this kind of behavior can flourish. Meanwhile, most employees would like to have the opportunity to solve problems themselves. But, without the right conditions created by their leaders, they never practice the kind of strategic thinking that would lead to better problem-solving. Without practice, those skills can't grow.

You'll remember my three-fold question:

  • What should leaders be doing to help their people learn to think strategically?
  • What should leaders be doing to encourage their employees to solve their own problems?
  • Why does any of this really matter? 
Read More

Topics: Leadership

Leadership Tips to Help Your People Solve Their Own Problems (Part 1)

By: Cathy McCulloughTue, Dec 20, 2016 @ 09:00 AM

When asked what’s needed most in today’s workforce, many leaders will list a cadre of characteristics. But the one characteristic that continues to crop up is “the ability to solve problems.” So, how does that work?

Many executives aspire to have a company of people that are masters of problem-solving. These leaders salivate over the mere thought of people being able to create their own solutions in real-time. Interestingly enough, though, most employees would like to have those types of opportunities. If both sides want it, then why is problem-solving still a sought-after characteristic?

Read More

Topics: Leadership

Is Your Company Healthy?

By: Cathy McCulloughSun, Nov 27, 2016 @ 12:00 PM

Organizations are like the human body. They are intricate systems made up of extremely complex interactions between interdependent parts. If one part of the system isn’t working right, then other parts of the system are affected as well. The result is an imbalance in the overall human system.

When it comes to your company’s health, things may seem like they’re going well, or at least good enough. The question, though, is: How do you know that? When was the last time you gave your company a physical exam? Doing so might open an understanding around where there are problems before they become potential longer-term illnesses.

Read More

Topics: Business Execution

Why Leading People Through Change is so Hard…

By: Cathy McCulloughThu, Nov 3, 2016 @ 09:00 AM

You probably hear it all the time: “But things are going just fine! Why do we have to start doing that!?” Or even better: “But we’ve always done it this way!” Even better yet: The person who doesn’t say a word and simply keeps doing the same thing the way it’s always been done. 

Maybe you’re changing your business model or maybe you’re incorporating the healthy use of the Rhythm Dashboard within your company. It doesn’t matter what the change is; some people will be onboard and fine with it; others…not so much. As a leader, it’s imperative that you understand the dynamics behind leading people through change. Even a change for the better is a hard road for the people around you. But, don’t get defensive. Human beings are wired to love the routine and what’s familiar. What’s important, though, is that you recognize from the beginning that your job is to stand steady, to stay positive, and to be graciously relentless with the implementation of your change.

Read More

Topics: Leadership

7 Ways to Assess if You’re Relying on Yesteryear Thinking

By: Cathy McCulloughSun, Oct 9, 2016 @ 12:00 PM

I recently had a CEO share with me that he “thinks” everything is fine in his company. After all, he said, “We know what we know!” In his world, spreadsheets were the name of the game. Yet, there’s a problem brewing at his company: people are realizing how easily key details or metrics get buried. If no one sees the information, then it’s an “out-of-sight/out-of-mind” corporate mentality. But, this mentality serves only the self-serving leader; it doesn’t serve the company very well at all. Yet, we like our spreadsheets. We know how to use them (at least some of us know), and we like what we know, so why change? 

Read More

Topics: Leadership

Taming the Leadership Beast

By: Cathy McCulloughTue, Sep 27, 2016 @ 09:00 AM

This “thing” we call leadership isn’t as easy as we thought. At least, that’s what I’ve repeatedly heard from executives I’ve worked with over the years. Many of them simply never really thought about it; it was merely the next step up on the ladder—exciting for sure. After all, each rung of the ladder just took them to higher level challenges, more decision-making opportunities, a seat at a different table, the opportunity to lead different groups of people, and more.

But for many leaders, there’s a defining moment when they realize that truly effective leadership certainly is not what they thought it would be. A rung on the ladder cracks; sometimes it just breaks altogether. As one leader recently said to me, “I way underestimated what leadership really is. Leading is a lot of hard work piled on top of everything else there is to do. I never really expected that.”

Read More

Topics: Leadership

What No One Ever Told You About Being a Leader

By: Cathy McCulloughWed, Sep 14, 2016 @ 09:00 AM

There’s a lot to learn about being a strong and effective leader, and the journey toward this end can be an arduous one. Part of the difficulty is that at some point in time, you suddenly were promoted into a leadership position—with little to no training on what constitutes effective leadership.

To sum up what I’ve heard from leaders of organizations of all sizes and shapes, here are a few things about leadership that no one ever told you.

Read More

Topics: Leadership

Do You Have a People Problem or a Leadership Problem?

By: Cathy McCulloughSun, Sep 4, 2016 @ 12:00 PM

I love organizational diagnostics. It’s probably one of my favorite things to do because I love getting to root causes instead of merely addressing superficial symptoms. Working to alleviate the root causes of something allows me to add value to my clients and to my work as a whole. Plus, I love the journey of dissecting what’s happening and developing a strategy to heal a company plagued by a disease they don’t fully understand.

Read More

Topics: Leadership, High Performance Teams