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Culture eats strategy for breakfast and behaviours eat culture for lunch.

With so much to consider when working to enhance your workplace culture, where on earth do you start and how can you make the process meaningful, enjoyable and impactful? We’ve got you covered. Although culture work can often feel tricky, relentless and intense, the spoils that come are worth it.

Here’s our ten steps for approaching cultural development in your organisation.

Future Vision 

In order to work out if you need to enhance or work on your culture you first need to have a clear enough idea of the kind of culture your business needs in order to achieve your future vision.  We recommend a company wide business planning review and process where you put colour and texture to your future goals.

Clear audit of where you are 

Alongside having a future vision, you must also understand your starting point. A thorough audit process assessing what’s working and what feels tricky about your ways of working will help you identify the gaps between now and your desired future. 

Set up a culture group 

This is not a management job. It’s an all of us job and you must have representation from across your business. The more variety the better. It’s ok for the management to set the intention, but you must sanity check it with your people and then ensure they’re involved in creating the HOW.

Simple is best 

When you’re thinking about the desired culture you want, simple is always best. The best example of this I’ve come across in recent months is the book Love as a Business Strategy , based on the journey of Softway….an American tech firm who nearly went busy and claim their pivot to creating a ‘loving culture’ was what turned their business around. 

Get external support 

Culture is tricky. It sits atop a pyramid of psychological stuff, from behaviours, to beliefs, to values, to impact, to boundaries, to contracting. All the icky people stuff that can make or break a business (without managers and people who prioritise people). Having independent support not only offers support for your business while you figure out what’s needed and take steps to change what can be changed, it also brings a 3rd independent party who’s only priority is delivery a great piece of work for your culture. They have no ulterior motive. 

Creativity is your secret weapon 

This is not an exercise for your logical left brain. It is definitely a job for the right brain (certainly to begin with).  You and your people must be supported and encouraged to imagine what’s possible for the business, for them and for you. Creative exercises that allow for more expression enable, innovate and liberate stuck thinking. Get your lego out! 

Board buy in 

Do not attempt to do this if your board are not bought in to the process or a potential change. It will frustrate everyone involved and leave you in a worse position (although you will at least have learnt that you need to prioritse developmental work with your board). Again they need to be fully integrated and championing the process.

Role model 

Whatever change you desire to see, the management of your business must lead the way by role modelling the behaviours expected to create the culture you desire. 

Review – review – review 

Culture development work is ongoing. Once you start you can never stop. Because you’re trapped but because you will see the impact it has and it will become your number one priority. You must have regular reviews in place across all levels of the business (tied into your internal comms and employee engagement plans as well as alongside your strategy). 

Have fun 

Culture is so much fun once you get in to it and can start to see the results. Most leaders realise just how much culture can be a powerful weapon for their business and it fast becomes a priority because if you put people first (through effective culture development) the profits and purpose follow.  

If you’re starting out on your culture journey and want to take a temperature check of your current culture, ready our blog, Ten Questions to improve your workplace

And if you’re at the early stages and concerned about how not to do it, read our blog, The Culture Trap and how to avoid them