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7 Questions on Leadership with Tanika L McCulloch

Name: Tanika L McCulloch

Title: Sr. Director Human Resources

Organisation: 1-800-Flowers

Human Resources Leader with a proven record and passion for building, creating and transforming talent capability and improving organization effectiveness to achieve business results.

Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!

I hope Tanika's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Jonno White

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?

Navigating the waters of corporate politics, glass ceilings and glass cliffs as a woman of color.

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

I was very fortunate early in my career to have a mentor that taught me the importance of developing relationships and learning the business from all angles. This has been critical to my success over the years.

During my time at Honeywell, I was tasked with leading a major Positive Employee Relations Survey project for the entire organization. This project impacted 90,000 employees worldwide resulting in a 10,000-employee participation increase from previous year. In addition to the project being successful, I obtained my Six Sigma Green Belt certification.

The objective of the process was to translate the current survey into 9 different languages and to create the database to house survey results for comparison and year over year improvement.

This project gave me the opportunity to be elevated to a leadership role, but also provided me the experience to lead teams globally.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

While I do not believe in work-life balance, I do believe in work-life harmony. In order to have that harmony it is critical to have structure in your day.

The first 15 minutes of my morning are dedicated to meditation. I check emails, my schedule for the day and get dressed. I’m also a mother, so, I spend most mornings getting my daughter ready and off to school as well.

Once I arrive at the office, I have coffee and prepare for the 8:30am meeting that we have every morning. The rest of the day is managed by my calendar with various meetings.

I typically work through or have lunch in my office and try to wrap up the day no later than 4:30pm. There are times when meetings are scheduled after normal business hours, however, I do try to be protective of my time with family, hence the word harmony and not balance.

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

Recently, I have been reminded that you can’t always please everyone, if you do the right thing for the masses, and are genuinely trying to make the right decisions, people may not always agree, but they will be able to understand and respect the decision.

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

"Dare to Lead” By: Brene Brown

Brene Brown discusses, “When we dare to lead, we don’t pretend to have the right answers; we stay curious and ask the right questions.” This has been very impactful for me. Many times, as leaders it is expected that you know the right answers, but that’s not always the case. It’s ok to show vulnerability. We’re people not machines.

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

The journey will be bumpy, it’s not always about what you do right or well, it’s how you respond when things are going wrong and how you recover. Be the type of leader that you wish you had.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?

I had taken a role in what would be considered a turnaround operation. The entire leadership team was new and we had been given the task of making this business successful in a very short amount of time. We all had great ideas and more processes than you could ever imagine. Of course, we did, we were all strong leaders, but that’s not what made us successful. Our success came from working as a cohesive unit and all moving in the same direction as a team. There are no egos and power struggles in true leaders. When the team wins, we all win.

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