By Bob Vanourek
“I came to see, in my time at IBM, that culture isn’t just one aspect of the game – it is the game.”
Lou Gerstner, former CEO of IBM in Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance
Most leaders know the importance of culture but have little first-hand experience with how to develop a healthy, trusting, high-performance culture.
Culture evolves over time. It is formed, most simply said, by “how we do things here.” Culture can and should be overtly addressed by the leadership of an organization. The culture of an organization is the legacy of its leadership.
This outline of a half-day, culture-building workshop for a senior leadership team will move you well down that important road of building the healthy, trusting, high-performance culture you desire for your organization.
Using a skilled, outside facilitator with experience in culture building, call your senior leadership team to a half-day offsite workshop. Here’s a draft agenda:
Culture-Building Workshop Outline
(Meeting notes are clearly recorded by the facilitator on flip chart
pages, visible for all to read, and pasted to the walls of the room.)
Brainwalking, invented by innovation consultant and author Bryan Mattimore, is preferred to seated brainstorming because it gets people up and moving and has them divided into smaller groups where it is easier to express ideas.
The result of this workshop is that
The facilitator can subsequently meet with and coach the Guiding Coalition over several months until the desired culture-change actions have been embedded into the operational DNA of the firm.
My colleague, Marla Reigel, and I have used this culture-building workshop approach to rave reviews.
Bob Vanourek is the former CEO of five firms from a start-up to a billion dollar NY stock exchange turnaround. He is an organizational consultant and is one of Trust Across America’s Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior. He is the co-author of the award-winning book Triple Crown Leadership: Building Excellent, Ethical, and Enduring Organizations. www.triplecrownleadership.com
 See Idea Stormers by Bryan Mattimore, pp. 25-29, for an explanation of brainwalking.