Creating a ‘Powerful Culture’: La Jollan authors a book for leaders

La Jolla resident Shahrzad Nooravi's new book, "A Powerful Culture Starts With You," is due out Tuesday, May 31.
(Courtesy of Shahrzad Nooravi)

For organizations big and small — from Fortune 500 companies to community members looking to get a crosswalk installed — a healthy work culture is key. So says La Jolla resident, organizational psychologist and master certified coach Shahrzad Nooravi.

To get there, she has authored a book outlining steps leaders can take to create positive work environments. The book, due out Tuesday, May 31, is called “A Powerful Culture Starts With You: Cultivate a Thriving Workplace from the Inside Out.”

“I have had my practice [consulting firm Strategy Meets Performance] for 12 years and worked with a lot of leaders, and one of the things about shaping strong culture is it starts with the way you receive feedback. It’s how you engage others, look at how strategies are implemented,” Nooravi said. “I believe a successful work culture starts with you. Whether you are the CEO, VP, a manager, each person has a chance to impact the environment and culture around them. I wrote this book because … I wanted to create a space to find steps to get there.”

Noting that the term “work culture” can be ambiguous, she said “culture is the way leaders make decisions, the communication, how people are rewarded, how teams are encouraged to work with one another. It’s the personality of the organization. It’s about how things are done, not how people say they are done.”

The three steps to achieve a healthy work culture are “watch it, drive it, walk it,” Nooravi said.

“Watch it” means looking at your work environment from an objective and fresh perspective, she said.

To “drive it,” she said, leaders are given a self-coaching model that helps them guide a person toward solutions.

The concept of “walking it,” Nooravi said, is that a company’s department heads “have to work in harmony with one another, and oftentimes they do not. That shows up in their teams, so if the leaders don’t get along, their people won’t get along. It feels like the house is in order when teams are aligned rather than sending mixed messages.”

Shahrzad Nooravi
(Courtesy of Shahrzad Nooravi)

She said she wanted to write a book to reach more companies and individuals than she would on her own.

“I want to help people tap into their potential and be happier in their jobs, home and communities,” she said. “It’s a call for people to be more courageous. When there is a healthy work culture and the teamwork is seamless, people give their all, people are motivated and have an ownership mindset. Each person has a sense of accountability to each other. Engaged employees will stay longer, do better work and bring on other people. ... The more engaged they are, the more productive they are.”

Nooravi put those methods into practice as one of the community members who advocated to get a midblock crosswalk installed on Torrey Pines Road between Amalfi and Princess streets.

“We were in a place where people couldn’t cross the street safely,” she said. “We watched how we got here and that the culture was shifting toward [emphasis on] pedestrian and bike safety. There is a larger culture in the United States because we are car-driven. In doing this, I had to look at the current culture and worked with community groups and City Council members.”

She said the group met to find a solution and spoke to San Diego city representatives with a clear and consistent message. “We were very much in alignment and touting the importance of safety for all,” she said.

The crosswalk was installed in 2018.

In the process, Nooravi said, the steps outlined in “A Powerful Culture Starts With You” were formalized and she was ready to write the book. It will be available online as an audiobook, an e-book and a softcover book.

A virtual book launch party is set for 4 p.m. May 31. To register, visit

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