Date: Wednesday May 08, 2019

Step 1 : Create the Culture Story

5 Steps to creating an Authentic Culture

Step 1 : Create the Culture Story

Following on from my last post, I shared the 3 big drivers currently impacting culture; lack of trust, undercurrent of fear and disconnected workforce. At the Culture Group, we believe culture is the heart of an organisation and is one of the primary levers that affects performance, viability and effectiveness. What are the 5 critical steps in building an authentic culture? We have created our Authentic Culture Methodology™ based on our experience working with culture change and transformation. And I would like to explore Step 1 – Create the Culture Story.

Your organisation’s culture story is truly unique. A blend of why you started, what keeps you going, where you are now and ultimately where you’d like to head. Understanding your organisation's purpose or ‘why’, creating a new narrative and aligning values with behaviours to shape your desired eco-system is the starting point.  

Define your purpose

Purpose is the essence of your business, your reason for being and as Simon Sinek talks about – the why. Research conducted by Harvard and Standford universities highlights the critical importance of define your purpose, “The most successful companies, both in pro?tability and longevity, are the ones who recognize the absolute necessity of having a purpose beyond shareholder wealth”. When defining your purpose ask yourself…

  • What’s the organisation’s ‘why’?
  • What cause do you champion? Why does it matter?
  • What would be missing if you didn’t exist?
  • What is the ultimate impact you would like to have?

Understand the current state

Go beyond traditional employee engagement surveys and get underneath the surface to deeply understand your culture. Our Culture Baseline Assessment provides answers to questions like: What are the unwritten rules of success, what is valued by leaders, how is trust built within and across teams, how do people and leaders behave when no-one is looking, what unifies great teams and what makes people proud to be part of the business? 

The other critical part of understanding your current state is to identify the restraining factors for change.  I’ve witnessed great culture change initiatives in play, but for some reason, despite good intentions, the change is just not sticking.   Understanding the why behind internal resistance or in-built ‘immunity’ to change and creating strategies to shift these blockages will help create the paradigm shift needed.

Create the new Narrative

The final element of Step 1 – Create the Culture Story is to build the new narrative. The stories employees and leaders tell internally is a key leading indicator of culture.

Narrative sticks in our brain, moves us (literally), and increases empathy. Psychologists and neurologists have found that stories stimulate the parts of the brain that helps us understand others’ thoughts and emotions. When we hear powerful and emotional stories, our brain often releases dopamine. Dopamine helps us remember the experience with greater accuracy.

The language we use, the perspectives we share and experiences we express brings life to a desired culture.  And new culture norms more willing adopted if every employee connects with the underpinning story and how it relates to them. Start building your authentic culture by changing the conversation today.

In the coming days we’ll be exploring Step 2 – Grow the right capabilities.

In the meantime, connect with us at to find out more about our culture diagnostic process.