Culture framework

Our richly meaningful culture framework is a fast-track to understanding and implementation
which we share with our clients.
Here are just some of the elements.

Culture defined

There’s a lot of chit-chat that sits around culture, so let’s cut through it. Culture gets created in the day-to-day. We’re tribal animals, we want to fit in, so we look for signals about how we’re meant to behave and we adapt our behaviour according to those messages.

In the workplace, the messages we receive come from what we see others do, what we hear others say and

how the business is set up to get things done. We call these “behaviours”, “symbols” and “systems”.

Where do values fit into culture? Well, values drive behaviours and decisions. Your behaviours, symbols and systems are the outward manifestation of what’s really valued by your organisation.


Tolerating behaviours

The behaviours you turn a blind eye to are just as powerful as the behaviours you actively encourage and discourage.  

Take Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World. The 2011 Leveson Inquiry into the scandal surrounding the newspaper suggested that whilst no one overtly encouraged phone-tapping, leaders ‘turned a blind eye’ to this extreme method of getting the scoop. The result: reputational damage and a publication no longer in print.

Consider Enron: It’s collapse amidst accounting fraud charges in 2001 was the last link in a chain of tolerance
that stretched all the way back to 1987, when two rogue traders were found guilty of a million-dollar trading conspiracy but were kept on the payroll. The lack of discouragement here sent a clear message that set the tone for the company's collapse nearly 15 years later.  

These may be dramatic examples, but we can guarantee that right now, there are behaviours being tolerated within your organisation that are affecting your ability to do business.  

Never underestimate the power of tolerance.


“While the theory of managing, leading and influencing culture is readily grasped by most, the actual ‘doing’ is the hard thing and that’s where Walking the Talk have provided a framework and support which allowed us to put our work on culture into action.”
Craig Oakley, Airservices, Australia

Culture management is not engagement

Imagine two teams about to play a match. Both are motivated and happy to be playing. On the pitch, one plays a defensive game, the other offensive, yet both are equally engaged in the moment. When we talk culture, we’re concerned with what they did and why they did it. When we talk engagement, we’re concerned with how they felt when they were playing.
Engagement means your people want to play for the team and give it their best. But that doesn’t mean their behaviour is aligned to the behaviour the team needs to win.

Engagement matters. It’s just not the only thing that matters.
Make culture do-able

Culture is do-able

Some people say that culture is too intangible to manage; but we don’t believe it’s any more intangible than your brand.

50 years ago, people didn’t know how to manage their brand. Today, it ‘s unquestioned that a well-managed brand adds value to the balance sheet.

During that time, the meaning of a brand hasn’t really changed. What has changed is our understanding of the brand management toolkit and how we can consciously, proactively and rigorously manage our brands.

At Walking the Talk, we’ve created a beautifully practical, easy-to-use system that enables you to produce the same results for your culture.

The Culture Archetypes

Through our 25 years of hands-on experience, we’ve observed that most current and desired cultures can be described by one or more of these 6 cultural archetypes.

The archetypes serve as an invaluable jumping-off point for our clients when they’re designing the culture they
need for success. Don’t worry if a few of these resonate with you.

Cultures are unique, and the healthiest and most effective culture for your business may well contain elements from several of these archetypes.
 

Getting to the crux of your culture

How many organisations approach culture transformation or organisational change by waving a magical ‘process’ wand?: “We need to change everybody’s behaviour, so let’s create a new appraisal method / install a new system / give everyone a personalised values mug.”

And then, abracadabra … the behaviour doesn’t change.

The failure of purely processed-based solutions like these can give culture initiatives a bad name, making culture change seem unmanageable and downright impossible.

At Walking the Talk, we believe that genuine culture transformation operates beyond a new ‘to-do’ list for your organisation. You need to be operating on the layers that sit beneath what your business does in order to get the root of why your culture is happening that way.

We’ve found, time and time again, that by working on all the layers of your business through our BE-DO-HAVE framework, our clients can achieve lasting organisational change that’s fit-for-purpose.

HAVE
You HAVE tangible outcomes in your business – your financial results, market share, reputation, customer and employee satisfaction levels.

DO
These outcomes are the result of what you DO – the decisions, behaviours, systems and actions in your business. To HAVE different outcomes, you need to DO different things.

BE
And people do what they do because of what’s going on at the BE-level. What people think, feel, believe and value causes them to choose certain actions. To truly manage culture, you need to be managing both the BE and the DO levels.

Let’s give an example.
A client wanted to change the culture to become more Customer-Centric. They embarked on an intensive training program across all their teams with a view to making customer interactions more effective. They were DOING a different thing.

The problem was that they had no positive shift in their customer satisfaction or retention scores. It seemed that a Customer-Centric cultural shift was un-do-able.

We got involved and conducted a cultural assessment. The work showed a core belief within the company: they knew what was best for the customer. It was an arrogance which was undermining their ability to build genuine customer relationships. Without tackling this mindset, the training was falling on stony ground, and the new culture could not take hold.

We worked with them to develop a mindset and behaviour pattern around curiosity and questioning, putting the customer agenda back into customer management and shifting the cultural patterns towards Customer-Centricity.

We’ve systematically incorporated the BE and the DO into our methodology to deliver lasting results for your business.

We prove culture transformation is do-able.

Shadow of angel

Shadow of the leader

With great power comes great responsibility. A leader, like a butterfly, can flap their wings and cause a hurricane

The power inherent in a leader’s position amplifies the impact of their ‘walk’ and ‘talk’ across the business. We call it the shadow of the leader and most leaders we meet underestimate the length and breadth of their shadow.

Leaders, it’s often said drive the culture, which drives results. True, but this alone is not sufficient to drive cultural transformation. Culture has to be actively led and managed.

The things that leaders pay attention to, the things that they encourage, and the things that they let just slip by, all send a strong message to people about how they ought to behave. This is your leadership shadow.

Building awareness and capability at the leadership level to understand the cultural reverberations of the leadership's shadow is vital for effective cultural transformation.

Shadow of devil