Culture & Behavioral Change

“Culture – The way we do things around here”.

This is an area where we are involved in developing one to two year programs designed to achieve behavioral change; change reflected in increased employee commitment to between six and eight desired behaviors. (These behaviors are articulated by the client at the front-end of any program and will differ from one client to another although behaviors that support HSEC Strategies and Teamwork are common, in our experience, to all clients). A sample client’s ‘Cultural Agenda’ would typically look like this:

Desired Behaviors, Current Behavior & Level of Commitment to the Desired Behavior

  • We demonstrate that safety is a value in all we do vs. We take unacceptable and unmanaged risks i.e. Non Compliance
  • We plan our work and work to plan vs. We sometimes wing it and often go in boots and all i.e. Non Compliance
  • We collaborate with colleagues inside & outside our team vs. We engage in combat within and between functions while firmly ensconced in our silo i.e. Apathy
  • We seek to continuously improve all that we do vs. We resist change until it is absolutely necessary and then spend an inordinate amount of time complaining about it i.e. Grudging Compliance
  • We put the customer’s needs at the forefront of our decision making and actions vs. We treat our customers as a necessary evil i.e. Non-compliance
  • We act on client requests with a sense of urgency vs. We respond to requests with the speed of a sloth on valium i.e. Apathy

Once a client has clearly established their Cultural Agenda we will tailor our Cultural Change Program to support their needs. Typically the program will ‘move’ people through a transition so that within 12-18 months a critical mass is at least at Genuine Compliance or Enrolment with respect to each of the desired behaviors. Sometimes the cultural agenda is more simply expressed as a desire to translate the clients stated Values into Behavioral Competencies or to turn its People Principles/ Code of Conduct from being statements that are aspirational i.e. how we want to be, into statements that reflect reality…

… I.e. the way we do things around here!

Culture & Behavioural Change Programs and Workshops

Our programs and workshops have been designed with a particular client need in mind. In all cases the existing design is then further tailored depending on the client’s sector/ industry; strategy, issues…

Culture and behaviour change – the need…
…to translate “Values & Principles into Behaviour”

Many organizations articulate and even ‘go public’ with statements of values, people principles and/or codes of conduct. These are important but start out, in essence, as aspirational statements. We develop programs to translate aspiration into reality.

Cultural Management Workshops – Understand Culture, its impact on your business and start managing it


To develop an action plan to address culture as a key element of organizational capability


Increased skill in:
  • ‘Storytelling’ i.e. being able to do the 100 small things that can influence perception and drive behaviour
  • Developing a Cultural Agenda
Increased knowledge of:
  • Culture as an element of organizational capability and the importance of behaviour
  • The concepts and importance of symbols, rituals, ceremonies, symbolic actions and personal example in the context of changing behaviour
  • The importance of systems and ways of categorizing systems again in the context of changing behaviour
Personal growth through experiencing concepts by participating in:
  • Case Study Resolution and Role-Playing (optional)
  • One Experiential Activity (Depending on the duration of the workshop)
  • Documentation of a first draft Action Plan to address the 4-6 most strongly desired behaviours of the team’s target group
  • The leader and his or her natural team at any level in the organization who have a need to change the behaviour of people at the next level down
Workshop Delivery Requirements (People)
  • Client team leader to spend 15-30 minutes at the front end setting context
  • One facilitator to be provided by ourselves
Recommended Pre & Post Workshop Activities/Requirements
  • Pre – None
  • Post – Review the workshop report (to be provided by ourselves)
    – Action the items developed i.e. commence the Storytelling
    – Monitor and review
Workshop Activities

Theory Sessions Key topics:

  • Culture – Definitions
  • Values vs. behaviour
  • Traditional Approached to Managing Culture
  • The Commitment to Change Curve
  • The Apathy to Commitment Scale
  • Understanding and Managing Perception/ Folklore
  • Testing Through Consultation
  • Storytelling – ‘doing 100 small things…’
  • Experiential Learning Activity
  • Case Studies – both written and video
  • Application Tasks
    – Desired vs. Current behaviour & Commitment Task
    – Understanding the Prevailing Folklore Task
    – Our 100 small things Task
  • Duration – One day suitable, two days ideal
  • # of attendees – Whatever the size of the natural team is (typically eight to twelve people)
  • Typical location or site – On or off site training room
  • Residential requirements – None unless desired by the client and this would only be the case if a two-day workshop were being run
  • We seek to provide all portable equipment (cameras/ kits etc) for experiential activities
  • We also provide electronic copy of a Toolkit (workshop manual) to the client for printing as well as electronic copy of all handouts not appropriate for inclusion into the Toolkit
  • Clients are required to provide, supporting materials (posters, desk stands, memory joggers, palm cards etc) as well as non-portable experiential equipment
Venue Requirements
  • Whiteboard, data projector, DVD player & monitor &/or screen, butchers paper stands & stationery
  • Main U-shaped area as well as two equipped breakaways

Cultural Change Program – “Change the culture of your company”


To translate client aspiration (Charter, Values, Code of Conduct, People Principles) into reality (behaviour) across the entire organization over a 24 month timeframe


  • behavioural change in relation to the clients desired behaviours as reflected in a move from the lower half (Apathy, Non-Compliance, Malicious Compliance or Grudging Compliance) into the upper half (Formal Compliance, Genuine Compliance, Enrolment or Commitment) of the ‘Apathy to Commitment’ Scale
  • Improved performance against HSEC measures
  • Improved teamwork within and between functions
  • Increased process literacy across the organization
  • Increased employee satisfaction as measured in annual employee opinion surveys

Program Delivery Requirements (People)

  • Senior/ Executive Lead Team Involvement is essential and can take many forms however what is absolutely required is that a senior person be available for opening and closing each of the workshops that are run
  • Designated Program Client/ Owner
  • Designated Project Leader
  • Designated Project Coordinator/s (if there are multiple sites each site should have its own coordinator)
External (i.e. provided by ourselves)
  • Project Leader
  • Facilitators as required for workshops and general consulting

Program Workshop

Working InFlow*

*As a part of the tailoring that occurs most clients will replace this name with the name of their overall Program which is entirely appropriate. And so Working InFlow has been variously called Success Through People, Working Together, One Way, Achieving Outstanding Results, Delivering Together and most recently STOP, Success Through Our People

Workshop Participants

Clients have wide limits on their discretion here and we have usually seen one of three approaches:

  1. Cascade by level
  2. Select a Function/ Unit at a time and cascade within that Function/ Unit
  3. Have a vertical slice on each workshop from across levels and functions

What we do strongly urge is that the workshop is compulsory for all leadership role incumbents and that all other employees are encouraged to attend with a target of getting 30 to 50% attending.

Clients are advised to expect a 10 to 15% turnover in leadership role incumbents as a minimum as a consequence of a Cultural Change Program

Workshop Delivery Requirements (People)

  • Senior leader to spend 30 minutes at the front end setting context and be available for 90 minutes on last day for case study evaluation and close
  • One facilitator to be provided by ourselves and a support facilitator to be provide by either ourselves or the client. The support facilitator will need to demonstrate proficiency in setting up experiential learning activities, briefing experiential task leaders, video taping and debriefing experientials, monitoring and coaching participants on an individual level and managing workshop administration (We do run Train the Facilitator Workshops)

Recommended Pre & Post Workshop Activities/Requirements

  • Pre
    – Each participants meets with his/her direct leader to clarify context and purpose for their attending and to establish a personal learning contract
  • Post
    – Each participants meets with his/her direct leader to review and capture/ action learning’s
    – Natural Team refresher/ application workshops are run internally once a leader and her/his direct reports have attended
    – Design and implementation of a validation process (we can advise)
    – Design and implementation of a review process (again we can advise and would participate)
    – Broader systems changes/ improvements and most importantly aligning all HR Systems to the Cultural Change Program once it is tailored to the client’s needs (including the HR Strategy)
    – Active storytelling by all leaders who have attended i.e. doing 100 small things…day in and day out, inside and outside of the organization
    – Employee opinion surveys
    – Completion by the individual and review by their leader of the post-workshop task

Workshop Activities

Theory Sessions

Topics that can be included vary enormously depending on the client’s six to eight most strongly desired behaviours but a sample listing from previous programs follows:

  • Teamwork – Problem Solving, Team Leadership & Membership
  • Task Formulation, Assignment & Review
  • Work & Well-Being
  • Understanding and Managing Capability
  • Managerial Authority & Accountability
  • Managing Culture
  • How to Give and Get Feedback
  • How to achieve Innovation though Creativity
  • How to achieve Inclusivity through the Management of Diversity
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Self-Assertion
  • Temperament, style & behaviour (supplemented with the client’s preferred tool i.e. MBTI, Belbin, BEST etc)
  • Experiential Learning Activities – six to eight with indoor and outdoor options available but no high ropes, rafts or flying foxes! All of these activities are videotaped and rigorously debriefed and we have some 24 activities for clients to select from with advice from ourselves on which ones will best reinforce the client’s Cultural Agenda
  • Case Studies – written and video selected by client from our database or written for the client and again tailored to the Cultural Agenda of the client
  • An Open Forum where a senior person or team visits the group for a Q&A Session is optional
  • Self-Awareness & Review Sessions are ongoing throughout the workshop
  • Personal Action Planning is mandatory for all attendees
  • Application Tasks are assigned at the end of the workshop to help ensure that good theory translates into great practice

Workshops Logistics

  • Duration – Two days and nights suitable, four days and three nights ideal and we have seen a wide range of successful approaches ranging from five days four nights to x2 two-day workshop a month apart to…
  • # of attendees – 12-16
  • Typical location or site – A conference centre, hotel or motel which is ideally a minimum 45 minutes away from the office/ site
  • Residential requirements – Ideally residential although in two major programs we have successfully worked with the clients in question to develop a non-residential workshop


  • We seek to provide all portable equipment (cameras/ kits etc) for experiential activities
  • We also provide electronic copy of a Toolkit (workshop manual) to the client for printing as well as electronic copy of all handouts not appropriate for inclusion into the Toolkit
  • Clients are required to provide, supporting materials (posters, desk stands, memory joggers, palm cards etc) as well as non-portable experiential equipment

Venue requirements

  • Open spaces at least tennis court size
  • Fully A-V equipped training room
  • 2 x breakaways with butchers paper and seating for eight people
  • Mobile/ cell phone reception and internet access
  • Telephone links between main room and breakaways
  • Photocopier & printer

One Step Behind…and four other ideas…

  1. The best that a leader should hope for is that her/ his team members will be one step behind them in the commitment stakes to any organizational change especially when that change is cultural i.e. a behavioral change!
  2. Cultural Change programs that do not result in some turnover are most likely not well-designed. In simple terms not all employees will make the journey when it comes to behavioral change.
  3. Cultural change is a process not an event and cannot be done ‘for’ an organization by consultants. It requires months and years of commitment by leaders at every level in the organization.
  4. While significant and positive change can take years the good work can be overturned in days through thoughtless acts of ill-informed managers.
  5. Cultural change becomes easier when organizations translate their Values into behaviors that can be observed and integrate these behaviors into their performance management systems i.e. people are assesses against not just what they achieve but also how they achieve it.