Ever notice how you feel when you enter a company's doors? Is there excitement in the air? A buzz? Does it feel like innovation is oozing from the walls? Or does it feel as exciting as a tax man's trousers? What makes you feel these things? And how can you start creating a better cultural experience for your employees and customers?

Culture is hard to change. And every time I hear there is a "mindset problem" or, "we need to change our culture", it becomes painfully clear that focusing on process and tooling changes alone won't cut it. Thankfully, there are effective techniques to help you hack your culture.

In this workshop, you will learn how to identify the attributes of your existing culture. You will build a culture map, starting with the visible signs of culture and then delve into norms, values, and finally, the core of culture--the underlying assumptions we don't even think about. Understanding where you are, culturally, is the first step.

From there, you will run through facilitated activities to build a culture hack. Simply put, a hack allows you to test a culture change and if it works, you can stabilize that change and start adding new hacks. Each hack moves you down that all important path to a new, vibrant culture, step by step.

My team has been experimenting with these techniques with several organizations. You'll hear about some real-world hacks and how they helped organizations improve. Our approach is not built on a single culture framework or a change management system. It is built on the work of many; the Cynefin framework, complex adaptive systems thinking, lean change, supported by culture walks, interviewing, and impact mapping to name a few of the tools you'll learn to use.

As a leader in your organization, one of your most important roles is as the steward and curator of your culture. This workshop will help you make culture change real, practical, and measurable. With these tools, you can have a positive impact on your people and customers.

Here are some common cultural challenges:

  • Excessive command and control
  • A belief that employees need detailed processes because they are incapable of making decisions on their own
  • Fear of making a mistake
  • Long and excessive approval processes - again, because employees cannot make good decisions
  • No or little focus on customers
  • Value statements like "We value our people" but with no supporting evidence
  • Lack of employee engagement
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Outline/structure of the Session

  • Introduction, agenda, icebreaker - 5 mins
  • What is culture? An overview of what culture is, and how to characterize it in a structured way - 10 mins
  • Exercise 1 - Build a culture map of your organization (or use a case study that will be provided) - 15 mins
  • Readout of Exercise 1 - one or two groups can share their maps with the room - 5 mins
  • Describe tools and techniques for identifying and characerizing change experiments (culture hacks) - a real world example will be shared - 10 mins
  • Exercise 2 - build your own culture hack
    • Identify the cultural element to change (e.g. a behaviour) - 5 mins
    • Table read out - 5 mins
    • Apply tools to identify the desired change, the parties effected, and the desired outcome (building the hypothesis) - 10 mins
    • Table read out - 5 mins
    • Design the culture hack including measurement criteria - 10 mins
    • Table read out - 5 mins
  • Q&A and close-out - 5 mins

Learning Outcome

You will learn:

  • How to identify and characterize your culture in a structured way to link the visible sings of culture back into norms, values, and the underlying assumptions that created the culture in the first place
  • How to systematically identify a desired new behavioural change
  • How to build an experiment to test a culture change, with measures of success - a culture hack
  • Examples of hacks that have succeeded from real world experiences
  • A new set of tools and techniques you can continue to use to drive cultural change

Target Audience

Leaders who want to drive culture change in their organizations


Familiarity with common lean/agile frameworks like Scrum, Kanban, SAFe, and LeSS.

schedule Submitted 1 week ago

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