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Culture After Chaos

Right now, leaders I’m talking to are thinking about culture.

If culture is ‘the way we do things round here,’ then culture is changing. We’re still working out: how SHOULD we do things round here, moving forward?

Work still feels a little chaotic.

So, what can you do to cut through the covid chaos and supercharge your culture?

Read on; or watch…

Read on below for 4 questions to help you shape your culture.

Or watch this 5-minute video which explains the questions with two key visuals.

4 questions to help you cut through the chaos

To cut through the chaos, I am helping leaders answer four key questions.

What are YOUR answers to them?

The strategy question: Does your culture support your strategy?

Too often, leaders discuss culture without ever mentioning the organization’s strategy. This question will get you thinking: do we have the culture we need to deliver our strategy?

If your strategy includes some kind of, say, digital transformation, then do you have the culture to embrace transformation and deliver innovation?

What culture does your strategy need?

The reality question: How different is your real culture from your aspirational culture?

It’s critical to build an authentic culture so your people see the words you’ve written down and think, ‘that feels like us’.

The way to build an authentic culture is to start from the ground up by listening to the people. Involve everyone in the company in defining the culture by asking them what the company is like when it’s at its best: what has been your best day? What has been your best project? Why? What made it so good?

If the senior leaders then read these responses and discern the themes, they get a bottom-up view of culture. You can combine this with the top-down view of culture from the first question on strategy. And you’ll be able to define a culture which is strategic, authentic and aspirational.

The visibility question: Is your culture easy to see?

If I am a new employee, or a customer, what’s my experience of your organisation like? Is the culture visible? Do you do things differently around here?

Can you make your culture more visible? Can you make your culture more differentiated from other companies?

If you’re going to put ‘integrity’ in your values, then what am I going to see and feel when I work with you?

The gravity question: What core moments, experiences and processes can help ground your culture?

In the long-term you want a consistent culture, where everything you do reflects the culture you want. In reality, you’d be better off redesigning some key moments to reset the culture.

How about starting with meetings? If your team are spending 50% of their time in meetings, then do your meetings reflect your culture? Are they organized, efficient, effective? Are the enjoyable, inclusive, people-centric?

What are the key moments and experiences that you could redesign?

What about you?

Considering the four questions on strategy, reality, visibility and gravity – which one would be most useful to ask in your organisation right now?

Let me know by replying to this email with your reactions and questions.


If you liked these ideas

Feel free to forward this email to someone you know who is tackling culture right now.

Email me to ask a question or chat about working together.

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