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Home » Buffalo Center for Cultural Innovation

“Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast.” 

– Peter Drucker

Great cultures don't just happen. They awaken.


With the generous support of McGuire Development Company, The Buffalo Center for Cultural Innovation helps companies develop the processes, disciplines, strategies and work environments that support the business advantage of cultural excellence. The BCCI accomplishes this by offering a unique combination of best practice services, professional expertise, and strategic partnerships focused in three strategic areas: Purpose, Potential and Place.


The BCCI is housed inside McGuire’s new offices at 455 Cayuga Road, Buffalo, New York 14225. You can learn more about the BCCI at and McGuire at


What is Culture?

Culture is formed in response to the experiences people have within an organization. From these experiences beliefs are developed and those beliefs drive behaviors. The best organizations have intentionally cultivated “strong” cultures that shape their competitive advantage. Without a strong culture it is more difficult to attract and retain good people, more difficult to effect change, adapt to new opportunities and weather challenges. Maybe that’s why renowned management consultant, Peter Drucker said,

                                                                    “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

Purpose: Give them something to believe.

The purpose of your organization, your “why,” often emanates from deep within. Powerful brands align who the company is at its core with how it is perceived in the marketplace. In this sense, the personality of a brand is often byproduct of its culture. Imagine Disney saying it’s “The happiest place on Earth” and then having a customer experience to the contrary. When people believe in the purpose of the organization they are unstoppable.

Potential: Unlock the genius of your people.

As organizations grow they generate more complexity. Complexity is the enemy of growth. Entrepreneurial teams require a new set of skills, disciplines and frameworks to order to break through the ceiling. Growth is more difficult relying on the same methods that have allowed success in the past. Owners, leaders, teams and individuals must learn to think and act differently if they hope to unlock the power of potential.

Place: Build a sense of belonging.

Physical environment can reinforce personal identity. Alain de Botton’s book, The Architecture of Happiness, explore the important relationship between who we are and the spaces in which we reside. Physical space creates a sense of place and purpose. It reminds us of who we are and from where we have come. When physical space is shaped to reinforce the values, history and story of an organization its impact on the intention and purpose is unmistakable


Entrepreneurial Operating System®

Entrepreneurial Operating System

In three words:  Real. Simple. Results. EOS®, the Entrepreneurial Operating System®, is a comprehensive business system, integrating a holistic business model with a complete set of simple business tools and a proven business process to align and synchronize all the pieces of your business to produce the results you want. EOS will help you do three things we call vision, traction and healthy:

 Vision®:  First getting the leaders of your business 100% on the same page with the vision for your organization: who you are, what you do, where you are going and how you will get there.

 Traction®:  Helping your leaders to become more disciplined and accountable, executing consistently to do things well and achieve every piece of your vision.

 Healthy:  Helping your leaders to become a healthy, functional, cohesive leadership team, because leaders often don’t function well together as a team. From there, as goes your leadership team so goes the rest of your organization. You get to the point where your entire organization is focused, engaged, sharing a common vision, disciplined, accountable, executing well and advancing as a healthy, functional, cohesive team.

EOS is unique because it is easy to understand and use, holistically addressing all issues rather than applying spot-treatments to your business. It works in any entrepreneurial company and across all business models because the system is founded on time-tested methods and principles, not business management theories or “flavor of the month” fads.

 EOS is comprised of three elements; the EOS Model™, the EOS Toolbox™ and the EOS Process™. The EOS Model helps to simplify the way you see your business and sets the context for becoming a great company. The EOS Toolbox contains a complete set of simple tools you can use to strengthen each component of your business. The EOS Process is our proven way of helping you apply the right tools at the right time to get you the results you want.

Denison Organizational Cultural Survey

While organizations more commonly recognize that culture has a direct impact on performance—improving quality, safety, retention, profitability, EBITA—it’s often unclear what changes need to be made to have the greatest impact.

 Denison has identified four key drivers of high performance—mission, adaptability, involvement and consistency—that indicate where to focus. The Denison Culture Model measures these four drivers reflected in four primary colors. Simply put, the more color, the better the results.

Take a demo survey to understand more. Then be in touch with us. We can help you do the work of transformation in your firm. It’s an exciting process that generates real results…right to the bottom line.

Through the cumulative responses from the survey, you will gain insight on questions like:

  • Does your team understand your mission and where you’re headed?
  • Do they believe the firm can stay competitive and adapt to changes in the market?
  • Are your people involved, and do they feel they have the training they need?
  • Are your values clear and being lived out through consistent processes?

The baseline survey gives you statistical feedback against a global benchmark. Based on insight from this data, you can then confidently take action to improve your performance.

Additional survey modules are available to test trust, innovation, engagement, risk, safety and commitment.

Denison Leadership Development 360

The Denison Leadership Development 360 measures a leader’s performance on a set of 12 leadership behaviors linked to high performing business cultures. Based on the Denison Model, this 360-degree assessment benchmarks an individual’s leadership and management skills to those of leaders in other organizations.

 Importantly, the Denison Leadership Development 360 is a developmental tool. By providing data-based feedback, this instrument allows leaders to compare their own ratings to those of coworkers and to identify gaps in perceived strengths,   weaknesses, and capabilities.

 Denison uses normative scoring to present survey results. We compare your survey data to our global database of over 14,000 leaders (from a wide variety of industries, job functions, management levels and tenures) and tabulate graphical profiles–represented in a Summary Report–that convey the results in percentile scores.

Organizations have used the Denison Leadership Development 360 to help their leaders to:


  • Identify specific areas of individual strength and weakness, and establish an action plan for leadership development
  • Understand group-level leadership strengths and weaknesses
  • Learn how specific skills and practices impact their leadership performance
  • Develop leadership skills necessary to adapt to a changing environment
  • Understand their role in creating a high-performance culture

Developing the Trusted Leader

The two-day Trusted Leader = Character Infused Leadership program is focused on enabling you to step up to be a trusted transformational leader. This unique leadership development program commences by drawing from curriculum delivered at the Leadership Institute of the Ivey School of Business, Canada/UK/Hong Kong which is focused on the 3 C’s of Leadership – Character, Competency and Commitment. We move beyond the 3C’s and delve into focusing on the power of trust that will enable your organization to heighten performance at all levels.

Starting with a Leader Character Insights Assessment and a one-on-one debrief, the two days will focus on leadership development to achieve the following goals:

Loretta Biscaro Smith – President Genesis Executive Management Inc and EIR, IOI Leadership Institute, Ivey School of Business

Loretta Biscaro Smith is the founder and President of Genesis Executive  Management Inc.  Specializing in leadership development, she has coached and provided leadership expertise to senior executives from around the world.  Loretta is currently an Executive in Residence at the Ian O. Ihnatowycz Institute for Leadership at the Ivey School of Business. She is an accredited certified provider of the Leader Character – Breakthrough Leadership Dimensions program by Ivey School of Business.


 Participants will gain insights into the 11 dimensions of Leader Character and the behaviours attributed to how they lead and the impact on trust. [Values based leadership]

 Participants will develop a better understanding of their own leadership capacity enabling them to be more effective as leaders in an era where character and trust is what inspires us.

 Participants will learn to apply character/trust infused strategies that will increase confidence and competence in their own organization.

 Participants will develop the affective skills required to be successful in a world they will define and excel through being the trusted executive.

 Participants will develop/leave with their own map from current to ideal state utilizing methodology of innovation and change.

The program modules include:

 The case for Character Infused Leadership and being the Trusted Executive.

 Opportunities for individuals to heighten their courage, accountability and judgment all in a ‘hear me out/help me out’ session. This is a learning journey towards establishing character and trust.

 Development of personal/organizational maps to journey from current state to ideal stage utilizing human centric design formats.

Upcoming Workshops:

June 5th-6th

July 31st-August 1st

September 18th-19th

November 20th-21st

Developing the Creative Leader

It is widely recognized that we now live and work in an era of innovation; as such many leaders recognize that they do not have the skills now in demand in the innovation era. Today’s world of rampant change means that leaders must have the cognitive and emotional skills to lead in organizational environments characterized by volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. As such, creativity and creative problem solving are now touted as some of the most important leadership qualities. But where do leaders get these skills. Most MBA programs do very little by way of developing creativity competencies, in fact, most educational programs focus on critical and reactive thinking as opposed to creative and forward thinking. This unique leadership development program is drawn from the curriculum delivered at the International Center for Studies in Creativity, Buffalo State — a pioneering program in the field of creativity whose work has been demonstrated to be among the most effective at increasing creative capacities.
This two-day leadership development program is aimed at achieving the following specific goals:

  • Participants will recognize the important role creativity and creative problem solving play in 21st century leadership success.
  • Participants will develop the creative mindset that will enable them to be more effective as leaders in an era of innovation and change.
  • Participants will learn to apply cognitive strategies that will increase confidence and competence in addressing opportunities and challenges inherent in the 21st
  • Participants will develop the affective skills required to be successful in a world increasingly defined by volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity.

The program modules include:

  1. The case for creativity as a 21st century leadership skill.
  2. Individual feedback regarding participant’s creative-thinking preferences, areas of strength and potential areas for development.
  3. Tools for complex problem solving, learning to become a more effective creative thinker and problem solver.
  4. The emotional skills that promote effectiveness in a fast changing, increasingly uncertain, and turbulent business environment.
Gerard J. Puccio is the Department Chair and Professor at the International Center for Studies in Creativity, SUNY – Buffalo State.

As a creativity scholar he has written more than 60 articles, chapters and books. In recognition of his outstanding work as a scholar, Dr. Puccio received the State University of New York Chancellor’s Recognition Award for Research Excellence, as well as the President’s Medal for Scholarship and Creativity. The Teaching         Company selected Dr. Puccio as one of America’s great lecturers and as such released a Great Course titled “The Creative Thinker’s Tool Kit” that features Dr. Puccio and his work.

Upcoming Workshops:

August 15th-16th

October 31st-November 1st

Who We Are

Jim Wardlaw
Jim is an award-winning entrepreneur with more than 30 years of experience in brand management, strategic marketing, creativity, facilitation, sales and business management. He holds a BFA from Michigan State University and MS in Creativity and Change Leadership from SUNY Buffalo State, Buffalo, New York.

From 1995 to 2007, Jim was CEO and Owner of Publicom Inc., a full-service marketing communications firm based in East Lansing, Michigan specializing in service brand management for companies throughout the Midwest. Jim has been a frequent guest speaker at Michigan State University, authored numerous articles in local/regional business press and currently produces a regular podcast on dealing with change leadership entitled, Pocket Change. He has been active in wide range professional, non-profit and civic organizations, including the Entrepreneur’s Organization, where he was an active member for seven years.

Following the company’s sale in 2007, Jim held executive positions with McLaren Health Care Corporation, Flint, Michigan and Lifestyle Lift, Troy, Michigan. He is currently Chief Change Agent and Owner of Stitch Brand & Culture, a firm that specializes in developing executive teams for improved strategic execution, entrepreneurial leadership and the cultivation of innovative, collaborative cultures.

Jim is a CEL Reactor and presenter, local speaker, 43North Judge and member of the International Coaching Federation.

Professional Certifications & Capabilities

Certified Professional EOS Implementer: The Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), developed by Gino Wickman (author of Traction and founder of EOS Worldwide), provides leadership teams with a shared vision, greater accountability and a healthier dynamic. It is particularly powerful when entrepreneurial organizations have hit a growth ceiling and are looking to break through.

Certified Situational Outlook Questionnaire (SOQ) Practitioner: The SOQ is an insightful assessment of creative climate backed by 50 years of research. The SOQ is frequently used to assist leadership in cultivating a more innovative and creative environment within their organizations.

Certified VIEW Practitioner: A measure of creative problem solving style preference. Great for improving team performance.

Certified FourSight Administrator: A measure of creative problem solving style preference tied to creative problem solving process. Very effective in team problem solving.

Certified Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) Practitioner: The product of 30 years of research in leadership behavior and the offshoot of the best seller, The Leadership Challenge by Kouzes and Posner, the LPI is widely used and respected among leadership development professionals for its ability to identify, teach and refine productive leadership behaviors.

Creative Problem Solving (CPS): Professional trained as a creative problem solving facilitator and creativity/innovation coach.

Speaking Topics

  • Are you running your business or is your business running you?
  • The Creative Climate: Why creativity is the key to growth.
  • Creativity 101: An introduction to Creative Problem Solving Process
  • Entrepreneurial “Doer” to Entrepreneurial Leader: What got you here, won’t get you there.

Other topics upon request.

Dr. Gerard J. Puccio
Gerard J. Puccio is Department Chair and Professor at the International Center for Studies in Creativity, Buffalo State; a unique academic department that offers the world’s only Master of Science degree in creativity. Gerard has written more than 50 articles, chapters and books. His most recent book titled The Innovative Team, co-authored with Chris Grivas, is a fable about a team that was able to apply proven creative-thinking tools to turn around a dysfunctional and unproductive situation. In 2011 he and his colleagues published the second edition of their book Creative Leadership: Skills that Drive Change. In recognition of his outstanding work as a scholar, Dr. Puccio received the State University of New York Chancellor’s Recognition Award for Research Excellence, as well as the President’s Medal for Scholarship and Creativity.
Dr. Puccio is an accomplished speaker and consultant; he has worked with major corporations, universities, and numerous school districts. Some of his recent clients include the BBC, Fisher-Price Brands, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Kraft Foods, Rich Products, BNP Paribas, Rubbermaid, Coca-Cola, and the Fashion Institute of Technology. He has delivered creativity workshops and presentations across the United States and in more than 20 different countries.

In 2012 Dr. Puccio was selected by the Teaching Company as one of America’s Great Lecturers and as such was invited to design and deliver a course comprised of twenty-four 30-minute video sessions. This “Great Course,” titled The Creative Thinker’s Tool Box, was released nationally and internationally in January 2014. Dr. Puccio was also a featured speaker at a TEDx event held in New York City in December of 2012. Among many other responsibilities, Dr. Puccio also serves on the selecting committee for the Toy Hall of Fame at the National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York.

Gerard holds a Ph.D. in organizational psychology from the University of Manchester, England.

Loretta Biscaro Smith
Loretta Biscaro Smith a respected business strategist, dynamic speaker, executive coach, published author and trainer focused on the dynamics of Character Infused Leadership. She thrives in operational excellence believing that it’s all about how people utilize their character alongside competency and commitment that can enable result high performance. Loretta partners with business leaders coaching them to embrace the courage to lead.

As the founder and President of Genesis Executive Management Inc., she specializes in developing leaders. Loretta is known for her integrity, candour and broad vision – and for always asking the tough questions. She has a direct, no-nonsense approach that inspires bold, smart action. Her rigorous approach and sought-after expertise enable business leaders to rapidly identify and bridge gaps in their organizations and in their personal performance.

Loretta has coached and provided leadership expertise to senior executives in diverse business sectors from around the world. She skillfully guides them through tough, transformational decisions and helps them excel in personal leadership.

As an Executive in Resident at the Ian O. Ihnatowycz Institute for Leadership at the Ivey School of business where the focus is on Leader Character, Loretta has facilitated transformational training programs that enable companies to excel in a culture with character and trust as their solid foundation.   Her insights have delivered smart solutions, organizational alignment and improved business processes.

She is a frequent keynote speaker, published author and a certified provider of psychometric profiles enabling her to assess and understand people. Loretta excels in building trusting relationships on a global scale one step at a time.

She has served on several boards – locally and nationally and is a Mentor in the Transformational Leadership program at the Ivey School of Business. In her spare time, Loretta is an avid long distance cyclist and gourmet cook, with a special affinity for Italian cuisine. Loretta also runs a farm with her husband Larry and her 3 brave and adventurous children.

Get In Touch

Buffalo Center for
Cultural Innovation
455 Cayuga Rd Buffalo, NY 14225
(716) 970-4158