Strengthening organisational culture

Josef Gardiner
March 19, 2023


Most organisations these days have got a set of values, and we know that every website that you go on to will say, "We believe in, for example, harmony, courage, accountability, and justice," whatever it may be. And often, those values are lovely words that have perhaps been created in a participatory way, but not much else happens with them after that. So what I invite leaders of organisations to do when they're thinking about organisational culture is to get those values out and let's use them as a tool for creating a shared language and aspiration for organisational culture.

So if you're trying to figure out what your organisation's culture is, it's the values that you hold. That's the shared language of culture for everyone in the organisation. And so in the Culture Conversations program, we run sessions where leaders are talking about how they want to embody those organisational values. For example, when the value of accountability is alive and well in the organisation, as leaders, what will you be seeing? What will you be hearing? And then I train leaders to facilitate conversations with their own teams in much the same way.

So the team is creating a sense of shared expectations and agreements about how they're going to behave and how they're going to demonstrate the valueson a daily basis. Once you've created those agreements, it makes it so much easier for each of the members of that team to hold themselves and each other accountable to those agreements and for you as a leader to hold the team as a whole accountable to the culture they've chosen to create. It's really hard to do that if you haven't already held robust conversations and made the agreements.

That's really the essence of the Culture Conversations program - taking your organisation's values, using those as a shared language for the culture that you're trying to create, taking your leaders through the process of thinking about them and then training leaders to have conversations about these things with their teams. So you're building up facilitation and leadership capacity, as well as building up a language around culture in the organisation, around behavioural expectations and agreements.


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