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What’s driving the culture in your organisation?

Does ‘the way we do things around here’ reflect your desired culture?

Organisational culture is quite often described as the ‘the way we do things’. Be that across the whole organisation or in different parts.

The Go MAD® Leadership Framework demonstrates how culture is represented by the collective beliefs of the people in the organisation.


Individuals will hold beliefs about themselves, others and their workplace. These beliefs will naturally underpin personal values. Beliefs may be unchallenged assumptions and not necessarily facts. Plus, they may be ingrained having been formed over many years. Regardless of the origin or validity of these beliefs, people will act in accordance with them. And, that will shape your culture.


What beliefs do you and your colleagues possibly hold that shape the culture where you work?


An organisation and the leaders in that organisation may think they are driving the culture, but this isn’t always the case. The culture will also be determined by the way people are ‘doing things’. That is, their actions and behaviours. And, this may or may not be in line with the culture wanted.

It's important to acknowledge that the actions and behaviours will result from the thinking that is going on. Is the thinking in your organisation helpful or hindering in creating healthy culture?



Organisations we work with usually have a vision plus a set of values and behaviours that have been created to outline the desired culture. People may know what these are to some extent, but do they truly buy-in to them and demonstrate them? Or, are there a different set of collective beliefs driving the values and therefore the culture?

People may not even be aware of what is actually driving the culture.  It might possibly be unspoken rules that are complied with unconsciously. And, it will be influenced by individuals’ habitual helpful or hindering thinking and how this is shared in all forms of communication.


Changing culture one conversation at a time

In supporting organisations who are looking for culture shifts, a key area of focus are the conversations that are happening within the organisation.


These conversations will be at three levels.

  1. Conversations you have with yourself – your inner dialogue, your own thinking
  2. The conversations you have with individuals on a one-to-one basis
  3. Conversations with more than one person or groups, which will include meetings


A great question for you to reflect on is:

‘How are the conversations at all three levels in your organisation currently reflecting the desired values and behaviours?’


It’s useful to recognise that meetings are micro-cultures with the organisation. Whether a Board meeting or a team meeting, they give you a sense check of the culture. What people are saying, how they behave, how their thinking is expressed, the quality of the questions asked and how individual thinking is reflected through what is said.


What micro-cultures might be present in your organisation?

Here’s 3 questions to get you thinking:

  1. How are the values expressed through the behaviours of people in the meetings?
  2. What hindering thinking is expressed that could possibly damage the culture?
  3. What questions are asked before or during meetings to stimulate thinking?

Meetings are an ideal place for leaders and leadership teams to set the tone for the organisational culture, and are a great place to start a shift in culture. 


Some questions to consider:

  • How is the desired culture and values role modelled in leadership meetings?
  • Through conversations at all three levels how could leaders possibly ensure that employees have a real sense of being valued and creating value?
  • How could high quality questions be used more to help people understand the values and encourage helpful thinking?

One final question to help you move forward:

What could you possibly start to do to create culture shift through the meetings that you attend?


Further help with your thinking

Take a look at our book ’How to save time and money by managing meetings effectively’ for some practical tips on how to make a difference in your meetings.

Sign up to our monthly newsletter for regular inspiration to stretch your thinking. By signing up you will also be helping us to make a difference as for each newsletter read we provide 1 daily dose of vitamin supplement to a child in need through our partnership with B1G1.

Get in touch for a chat about how to improve conversations in your organisation.


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