Strategies to Create the Team Culture You Want & Need


60 minutes

Teams have always had cultures.  But in the last three years, as more teams have operated at a distance, the topic have culture has become more important and top of mind. People wonder if they can ever get the culture they need for high productivity, engagement and retention in an increasingly complex world.

In this practical and interactive webinar, leadership and culture expert Kevin Eikenberry will help you think about the role you can play in creating your aspirational culture, whether as an HR/L&D professional, leader, or team member.  The topic is critical, misunderstood, and it matters whether your team is fully remote, hybrid, or together every day.

Attendees will learn

  • What culture really is.
  • The value of both macro and micro cultures.
  • How to create an aspirational team culture.
  • How you can help move the culture, whether as a HR/Learning professional, leader, team member, or all three. 

Who should attend

  • Managers delivering training
  • HR and training professionals
  • Independent consultants


Kevin Eikenberry

Kevin Eikenberry is a recognized world expert on leadership development and learning and is the Chief Potential Officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group ( He has spent over 30 years helping organizations across North America, and leaders from over 50 countries, on leadership, learning, teams and teamwork, communication and more. Global Gurus lists him as one of the World’s Top 30 Leadership Professionals. He is the author, co-author or a contributing author to over 20 books, including Remarkable Leadership and bestseller From Bud to Boss – Secrets of the Successful Transition to Remarkable Leadership (with Guy Harris), The Long-Distance Leader: Rules for Remarkable Remote Leadership, The Long-Distance Teammate, and his latest The Long-Distance Team (all three with Wayne Turmel). His blog is consistently ranked among the world’s best, most read and most shared on leadership.

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Hi, Everyone, and welcome to today’s webinar, Strategies To Create the Key Team Culture: You Want And Need, hosted by HRDQ-U and presented by Kevin Eikenberry. My name is Sarah, and I will moderate today’s webinar.
The webinar will last around one hour. If you have any questions or comments, please type them into the question area on your GoToWebinar control panel, and we’ll answer as many as we can during today’s session.
And I know Kevin does use the questions box a lot, so, make sure that you’re interacting with us in there, and you can actually just type in where you’re coming from, so, you can find that questions box on your control panel there.
And today’s webinar is sponsored by HRDQstore, HRDQ are providers of researched based training resources for more than 40 years, the offering learning resources to help retain employees and clients, make better decisions, improve performance, and much more. You can learn more at
And I’m excited to introduce our presenter today, Kevin Eikenberry.
Kevin, as I recognize the world expert on leadership development and learning, and as the chief potential officer at the Kevin Eikenberry group, he has spent over 30 years helping organizations across North America and leaders from over 50 countries on leadership, learning, teams and teamwork, communication, and a more global guru’s list him as one of the world’s top 30 leadership professionals.
He is the author or co-author or contributing author to over 20 books, including the Remarkable Leadership, The Long-Distance Teammate, and his latest The Long Distance Team. His blog is consistently ranked among the world’s best, most read and most shared on leadership. And thank you so much for joining us today.
Sarah, thank you and welcome, everybody. Thank you, Sarah, for reading that introduction that my mother wrote.
In all seriousness, I am so glad to be with all of you today, those of you that are continuing to join us Crystal and Antoinette, who have told us where they are located. So, open up that window, that Q&A window and tell us where you tell everybody where you’re from. That would be a great way for us to get started.
The only other thing that I would add, that you might, that might be useful to know about me is that it’s that Lotte, third bullet from the bottom that I’m leading a team every single day.
I’ve been working with leaders for a long time, as Sarah said.
But, man, here’s the issue. I’m leading a team every day, and if you are, then we have that in common.
And so, hopefully, what I’m going to bring to you today is practical, and based on real-life situations, both for us and with our clients. And I’m looking forward to sharing it with you. It looks like Texas seems to be the winner in terms of where people are from so far. And I’m so glad that you’re all here. So, let’s dive in. You joined this webinar, you had some clue about what this was going to be about, and so I’ll remind you of that. Excuse me. A second.
And so, we’re going to talk about this word culture, or understand what culture really means, and, and recognize the value of both the macro and micro cultures, which will get N into N, described for you in a second.
The big idea of the day is: How can we, organizationally create an aspirational team culture for our organization or for our team will get to that, and then, what can we do?
Now, I’m guessing that most of you are wearing more than one hat that are here, that you may be wearing the head of an HR or learning professional, that of a leader, either of that team or a leader in the organization, or, and you’re probably also a member of a team within an organization and maybe wearing all three of those hats. And so before we finish, Will, will lay out some very specific things that you can do. Wearing each of those three hats to make the things that we’re talking about today. Make more sense, and for you to get real benefit from the ideas were sharing.
Today. Thanks to all of you who are telling us where you’re located. I have been to many of those places. As it turns out, I’ve been to many places in Nebraska. I would love to know Erika Ware in Nebraska, if you don’t mind telling me. So here we go. I wanted to also want to know in the chat yes I have been to Lincoln.
I want to know in the Q and A as well, Why did you come?
Like, I have a pretty good guess of that, based on what we describe the webinar to be.
But I would really love to quickly know, and I know there are lots of you here, and you’re not, everyone will, Well, we’ll add a comment, but I would love for you, to just say quickly, why did you come if you can get to it with a quick answer, client, with culture issues, learn strategies to improve my, our office culture. Awesome, Building our supervisor and team management skills. Fantastic, Heather, I want to build cohesion on my team.
Good job, Kim. Crystal says, I need help.
Now, I need help with hybrid teamwork.
We’ll get to that a little bit if, see, if I can drive culture. I want to develop our managers supportive culture, and I see a lot of really great stuff, Good news.
These are the kinds of things that I was hoping you would be looking for, because that’s what I have in mind, build more leadership skills to support my team. So, Sarah, thinking about this for herself, which, I hope that you’re all thinking about it for yourself, even if you’re like, Leslie and you’re leading an OD and a, an L&D team, right?
So, the, the reality here is there’s stuff here for all of us, right?
Um, Troubleshooting tips on how to utilize …, Maria, I can’t help with that?
Well, let Sarah help you with that, and hopefully, Jennifer will give you some new ideas, and my, my hope, really, is that we will connect a lot of dots for you today, as well.
So, let’s start here, and I won’t ask you to comment in the Q&A here.
But I will ask the question that gets asked of me regularly, and that I hear asked of others regularly, like what is culture. We’re talking about it all the time, And yet it seems like the more we talk about it, the more complicated it seems to become, And I want to get that out of the way, because I don’t think it’s complicated.
At all in terms of what it actually is, Here’s my definition for you. Culture is no more and no less than the way we do things around here.
How do we do it around here? How do we do it on this team? How did we do it in this organization? How do we do things, the way we do things?
That’s all it is. And so there’s lots of conversation about it. And, and people, I suppose, like me, who write books and consult, and all that sort of stuff, try to make it sound like it’s a bigger deal. Now, it’s a really big deal.
But at its core, it’s not a difficult concept to understand. So, so don’t let someone try to make the concept more complex.
Solving some of the challenges that you might have about it is different for sure, right?
But what it is, isn’t difficult at all. We’ve all been experiencing it our entire lives. It’s the way we do things around here. So now, back to you for a second, And some of you have answered this a bit already. Sarah, you could help me by closing out or deleting some of those questions, so I can see what I’ve got.
That’s new, that would be helpful if you can do that. So, here’s the question for you: What are your biggest cultural concerns?
Like, some of you have mentioned some of those things, like, I need my leaders to support it better. I’m trying to build more effective teams.
Are there any other concerns that you have about the culture that you’re living and working in, now, that you want to share with the group?
Chances are, by the way, if you share one, you’re response.
Well, you won’t be the only one that has that problem. Let me just tell you that, right.
Lack of communication, Judy says lack of transparency and that might, and maybe that’s from, from above, that may even be across the team. Long term unengaged employees who think they know it all well that’s very specific beckie We need better empathy. Our team is reactive I’d love for them to be more responsive.
Tourette try, OK, got it, Judy, trying to motivate our co-workers. So we’ve got a lot here about engagement.
Motivation, communication, moving from a negative to a more positive culture. So, I’m hearing what you’re telling me Can executives, model, team behaviors? Of course, they can show, and maybe we’ll get to that before we’re done.
We need, we need to get beyond the bare minimum, OK? I get that. Every group has different cultures, hard to always see the right approach. Sean, will that. We’re gonna talk about that a little bit. That are, John saying, our culture is a little bit authoritarian or a little bit paternal, and maybe that’s not serving us best.
May well not be, um, and oh, how can we talk about culture in new hire orientation?
Jane, that’s a really, really good question, and we’ll try to get it a little bit too.
So as is normal and sort of anticipated, I suppose in a session like this. There’ll be a slide, the obligatory slide near the end that says, what questions do you have? But I really hope that you will do, as we’ve already been doing, which is just interact with me as we go. I’ll do my very best to see it as we go. If I miss any, Sarah will, we’ll clean those up and make sure that, that she answers that asks them of me in the end.
But if you’ve got things along the way, please share it, really appreciate you doing that, so, and, and the things that you’ve shared with me today, will help me sort of adjust where we’re gonna go for the next 50 minutes.
But beyond that, it’s important for you to hear that, everything that you’ve said in one way or another, I’ve heard before, you’re not alone, Your organization isn’t the only organization that’s still trying to figure this out. So, sometimes, I think, coming to these kinds of things with our colleagues, even if it’s virtually, that’s one of the best things we can take from it. Is that we’re not alone.
We’re not the only ones that have these challenges. We’re not doing something wrong if we’re having challenges, but hopefully, you’ll leave with some ideas on how to make things better. Let’s talk about culture now. A little bit about where it is today. Whereas culture right now.
Well, there’s more conversation about culture now, then, ever. I’ve been in this business a long time, Been in organizational work for very long time, and there’s more talk about culture now than ever.
I think there are a variety of reasons that largely go beyond the, the needs for us to talk about here.
But certainly the aftermath of the pandemic, like what we all experienced during that time, the phenomenon of quiet quitting and the phenomenon of the great resignation play a part in this. People didn’t resign if they were in a place where the culture was great and so people are figuring some of this stuff out so there’s more conversation about this.
then there’s ever been and I actually think that that’s healthy as long as we talk about it in a way that’s actually helpful. Right?
So, when, I said earlier that what culture is, is simple, but the reality is that when we get it right, or more accurately, are moving in the direction of getting it right, it can have a huge positive impact on our results and outcomes.
And if it’s sort of broken, or there are challenges with it, Well, that can have huge, negative impacts on our results, on our productivity, on our collaboration, on our outcomes, of all sorts, as well as how our teams and our individuals are feeling about their work.
Alright, so, so, I want you to think about culture, both, in terms of how can it help us get great results or outcomes, but also, how can it best serve those of us who are doing the work?
We think about leadership as being about outcomes and others, and both are impacted directly and significantly by culture, either in a positive or a negative way.
So, it’s a big deal, it warrants our conversation, For sure, the fact that we’re talking about it, to me, is a really positive thing, because it’s one of the single biggest levers we have to make things better.
If we move in the direction of the kind of ideas we’re going to talk about today, we can have a real impact on helping things get better in almost every way in our organizations.
And so if you’re thinking about that from an OD or L&D perspective, then you can say, this may be a way that you can really have a business impact.
If you can think about these things, and if you’re an individual leader, this can be a way that you can enable your team to get even better results, Perhaps help you yourself stand out on your own, on your own development as well. So it’s one of the biggest levers we have available to us, which is why I’m so excited that we had the chance to talk about this today.
And I would say today, that there are three cultures that we need to be thinking about.
And those three are the one we had before coven.
The one we have now and the one we will have in the future.
And so many people, ARR, try to look back to the one we had, and in many cases, say, Man, that was really good.
I just want us to get back to that two, which I have two things to say.
Even if it was really, really good.
Surely, we’ve learned something in the last three years that we could use to make it better.
And the second thing I would say is that, even if it, however good it was.
Look at the further we get away from that time, the more that we look back with more distance between us.
The more that it kind of becomes the good, Old Days syndrome is that the further things are in the rearview mirror. The more they. oh, man. It was awesome.
Back then, and let me tell you. As a person who has worked with organizations for a very long time, not everyone thought their culture was awesome before we had lockdowns. So the reality is, we sort of look back with fondness. And maybe it wasn’t quite as wonderful as we thought. even if it really was wonderful. Might we not be have learned something we should use to make it better?
And thirdly, even for folks who want to bring everyone back to the office.
one of the reasons they say that is so that we can get our culture back.
To which I say, you still have a culture, even if you’re not together.
And, in fact, in some ways, it might be better. It’s different, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s worse.
OK, So, and if you’ve moved from fully together to fully remote, to something that’s hybrid, then clearly, We have to think about, What’s the culture that we want and need now?
So let me share with you some facts about culture that aren’t just true today, but have always been true.
Number one is, when you put a group of people together, physical proximity or not, you have a culture.
There always is one.
It naturally exists. There’s always a way we do things. Now, people might do it in vet and very do do things in very different ways, and that’s part of your culture.
That level of chaos and confusion, but you have one, And in organizations, as several of you mentioned, in the, in the comments and the questions, in organizations, we have at least a couple that all of us need to be aware of. What is the macro culture, and we’ll dive into this a little bit more in a little bit.
What is the macro culture of the organization, and what is the micro culture of our team?
And both matter, and like I said, we’re gonna get into this a little bit more later.
So, another way that we get this sort of confused, or we get confused about it all is we’d say that there’s a culture when really, almost everyone.
If you’re in an organization of more than, say, 10 people, you likely are talking about two.
There’s an overall one, and there’s one, or our team. Now, there are 15 people on our team, and I can tell you that that are the macro and micro for us are very close, because not everyone reports to me. So there are slight differences between the sales team and other parts of the organization, for example, in terms of how we do things. But fundamentally, they’re very much the same. But the bigger the organization gets, and the more teams that there are. the more of these two things, both matter a lot, And again, a lot more on this in a few minutes. The third fact about culture is, not only do they always exist, but they’re always changing.
I mean, let’s let’s think think about a simple example in your family, you have a culture around certain holidays So for example, if you celebrate Thanksgiving, you have some traditions You have some culture around what Thanksgiving looks like in our family, and if you end up going to someone else’s Thanksgiving, you’re like, OK, I know it’s Thanksgiving, but it doesn’t feel quite the same.
What you’re experiencing is a different culture, OK?
Now, as time goes on, in your family, there are people that leave. And people that join this family.
And, so, as people leave, for whatever reason, and, as people join, either buy by marriage, or by birth, or whatever, it changes, doesn’t it?
I would say in organizations because there’s often much more ebb and flow with people, for example, and much more complexity in terms of how we are interacting on a daily basis.
That not only do cultures and organizations change, they’re probably changing faster, maybe now than ever.
Fact is, There is one and it’s always going to change, but we don’t have to leave the change to the winds of fate.
The reality is, we can choose the one we want, and we can move towards it.
That’s it, Right?
Like, that’s one of the big ideas of this day, is, what is the, And what’s the culture we aspire to, and how can we start to move in the direction of it?
And we’re gonna unload unpack all of that for you In a minute, A few minutes ago, when Sarah introduced me, she mentioned that we have a new book out. In the new book is called The Long Distance Team. And what I want to share with you next is a, an idea from inside of there, but actually, a lot of what I’m going to share ideas inside of the book. But, one of the things that we talk about a lot with our clients, and in the book is this idea of a culture.
While it’s simple to say the way we do things around here, it’s important for us to say like, what kinds of things are we talking about?
And, and we like to think about the three C’s, the seeds of communication, collaboration, and cohesion.
And if we think through how we communicate, how we collaborate, and how cohesive we are, then, we start to, we started to put meat on the bones of what do we mean by culture about the way we do things here.
So, what I want to do is go through each of these, seize a little bit because you can start. Because it’s one thing to say, Well, our culture is this. Or, Here’s the problem with our culture.
But what this does, this can be a bit of a framework for assessing where we are, or putting words to where we’re doing well, or where we might want to do different or better, right?
So let’s talk about each of those a little bit more.
And we’ll start with communication.
How do we communicate around here?
How do we, what does the peer communication look like and feel like?
What is the communication in meetings?
What does the communication with the leader or leaders?
Is it different with the leader, That is one of my peers?
Is it impacted by where we’re physically working, hybrid, face to face, close proximity at a distance.
Whatever, like, how do we communicate collectively and individually? What kinds of tools do we use, And the more that we’re doing it, some amount of it at a distance, the more the tools matter.
But it’s as simple as, even if we were all in the same location, do we lean into e-mail or do we walk down the hall?
And if we’re more remote, or some of us are, do we lean into e-mail, or do we lean into Microsoft Teams, or Slack? Or do we use text messages, or do we never use our phones? Or whatever it is, do we turn our cameras, or not like, all of those things are parts of culture. And the choices that we make related to, those have impacts on how successful, or how effective our communication is, right?
So the tools are a piece of it, the timing. Like, how quickly do we respond to each other? What are the expectations around that?
What about synchronous communication and asynchronous communication?
Do we, do we have to have meetings or meetings the only way we get things accomplished in terms of communicating with each other? When do we meet versus when do we send an e-mail versus when do we record a video? Versus what other tools or approaches we might use to get information to people?
And then, what are the purposes of our communication? When and why do we communicate?
So, these are just a few We can, I can make a lot longer list. Just a few of the things that help us think about communication as a piece of this puzzle, right?
Communication is a huge component of what our culture is, whatever it is and so again, as we go through these three C’s, I want you to be thinking about like, how are we doing in this area?
Good or bad, right? Improving or slipping, whatever that might be.
Second, C It’s Collaborations.
Who do we collaborate with? Are we expected to collaborate with everyone? Is it always based on a team or a sub team?
What does, how does collaboration work in terms of levels of communication and collaboration, both? Do we, can we skip level, communicate? Can we skip level, collaborate? Can I collaborate with someone in another department? Is that OK? Or do I have to ask permission to do that?
And I want you to think about collaboration, not just I’ll start a strategic this year.
I would say starting about three months into the pandemic, the lockdowns win.
People started saying, Well, you know, we’re going to be back and fourth of July then, we’re going to be back at Labor Day And then we’re going to be back at the end of the year, all those kinds of timelines. one of the things that people kept saying that they were missing. I can’t get wait. Wait to get back so. we can work on a whiteboard.
So, we can collaborate on a whiteboard, so we can brainstorm together, which I would say there are other tools. So we could use to do that. Which I also have said, I’ve seen lots of blackboards and have a white boards, and in offices that have things that they do do not erase that have been there for weeks or months. So, some of that’s just, again, kind of the good old days piece.
But the other the important piece of that is what people were saying is, I love to collaborate in person, but I love to collaborate in real time.
And, in fact, we can’t collaborate unless it’s in a synchronous way, which just isn’t true, right? We can brainstorm synchronously. That’s what we grew up doing.
But we can brainstorm asynchronously.
We can do that in different ways, depending on what our processes, ARR.
So collaboration includes what we do when we meet and how we meet, and when we meet and why we meet, but it’s also everything around who is collaborating, or what purposes, How do we solve problems?
How do we make decisions?
All of those things and the way we do them is our culture and if they’re not clearly defined, it’s one of the rubs that creates conflict, right, because some people are doing it one way. Some people are doing another way. They both think they’re the way they’re doing it, is fine, or OK, or accepted, and yet, at the margin, it creates conflict.
So, what we want to do is think about, how can we create the culture that would work best, and help us really get somewhere?
That makes sense?
Communication collaborations, pieces of what a culture looks like?
Ways to assess, how are cultures doing, ways to think about what we’d want our culture to be, communication, collaborations, and cohesion.
How connected to people feel both to each other and to purpose.
How strong are the working relationships that I’m talking about?
Friendships, although friendships at work are valuable and fine. I’m just talking about, do we have strong working relationships. We have a level of trust that that is both built and expected that allows for the collaboration and communication work more effectively, is their level of belief in each other.
And people believe in people’s ability to succeed and do the work, and we trust each other’s intention relationship, what they’re doing and the and what.
Maybe one of the biggest ideas that I heard in the questions earlier was this idea of engagement and the idea of employee engagement sits inside of cohesion, right? If we have more people who are engaged in their work, we have a higher level of cohesion.
Alternatively, as some of you said, we’ve got a lot of people that feel entitled We got a lot of people with where the bar around engagement is pretty low or that are unengaged disengaged. And if that’s true then you can sense that the level of cohesion isn’t really all that strong. And of course it bleeds over into the other two as well.
What what do we want engagement to look like?
What do we want connection relationships should look like what do we want accountability to look like?
Is that where we are now or not?
But then, how can we put words around and a vision around what we want that to look like.
And that’s where we’ll end up before we’re done.
Now I’m going to take a breath. We’re about halfway through.
And I would really love to know at this point as we think about these three C’s, if you have any questions or comments, before I go any further, I’m gonna take a sip of my tea and give you a chance to tell me what I missed, or what wasn’t clear, or what you want me to say.
More about?
Also, quiet, I find it hard to believe that 195 of you. oh hello, mister John Titus.
The larger the enterprise, the more difficult it is.
No doubt that. That’s true because the more people we add, the more complex it gets, right? And that’s why Kathryn, when we get to the next slide, this, that will give you some ideas to help you think about it.
But there’s no doubt that that’s correct.
I’m on a micro level.
You’ve probably heard this.
But every time we add a person to a meeting, we we geometrically make the meeting more complex, right? So you can think about that. If you’ve got one thousand employees. It’s really darn complex. There’s no doubt about that, right? That’s why we want to do some of the things we’re going to talk about being Catherine says. Being onboarded to a new job during a pandemic. I noticed cultures.
Yeah, two cultures.
And, and even if the people who have joined, right?
Even if maybe you are still remote from each other or at a distance.
It’s still sort of two things, right?
That’s not healthy, right? We’ve got to work to get back to how do we bridge the gap between the macro and the micro where we’re headed there, just a second?
Challenging to integrate and learn culture.
And, and again, here’s the thing, you all know this.
Many of you are training and learning professionals.
And you know, there you go. John is doing the math for you all. Here’s the thing.
You all know that it’s hard to have effective training, if you don’t have a clear learning objective.
Right? Well, it’s hard to teach culture, if there’s not a clear picture of what the culture is.
Like, how do we explain it, or discuss it?
If it’s still kinda, well, you know, you know it when you see it or, It’s sort of nebulous or it’s different. Everywhere we go.
Some people want to stick.
David says, somebody will say they’re always changing that to fit a new culture seems to create conflict. I think there’s truth in that, but it’s much more. I think we, I’ll help you get past that.
I think, David, before we’re done as well. I scroll up, Make sure I didn’t miss anything.
Yeah, I don’t know if you can. Oh, you guys can’t see the comments. I can see them OK. That’s right.
Thank you, Brian for reminding me, but mister Titus told us that if you have two members, one can actually give 3 or 3 connections. You have four members there are six connections if you have five members, there are 10 connections. If you have 1500 members, there are one million, 124,250 connections.
That’s what’s his point. So, thank you, Brian, for reminding me of that in this particular platform.
Um, Carol says, There’s so much transition at the top that it’s difficult for lower level employees to see exactly where the corporate culture is, trying to go and adjust your team culture to fix it, Which, again, is related to this next slide. Time for me to go on. To the next slide. Because a lot of things you’re talking about are related to this idea of macro and micro, so let’s let’s go there.
So here’s the thing.
Macro versus micro culture.
Macro culture is organizational in nature, right? It’s that big one. It’s the one that Karels talking about here.
When she says that, it’s difficult for lower level employees to figure it out, because the, there’s changes that continue to happen at the top.
Uh, Kathryn, I’ll get to your point in a couple of minutes.
There there’s the Organizational Culture, and there’s the culture of the individual team. I already said that part before, so so let me give you an example.
I grew up in Western Michigan and really near to Lake Michigan. So there’s a culture, excuse me.
There’s a there’s a climate of Michigan. There’s a climate of our county.
But as you get further and further away from the lake, the microclimate changes, because the lake has a huge impact on snowfall and clouds and sun and temperature and wind and a whole bunch of other stuff.
So, Catherine, I grew up near Ludington that will help you understand that we’re only about an hour apart.
So here’s the thing: Um, you can have a climate and then you can have a microclimate.
Right? You can have a culture, the micro culture will sit inside of it, because it’s impacted by the bigger one. But how do we work those two out?
Well, if macro culture is broad, then micro culture is local. That also makes sense. I think that macro culture often is legacy based.
Think about a big organization that has a long history, and even if senior leaders are changing, there’s, there’s, like, a lot of history here. And that plays a big role in a macro culture.
It can play a role in a micro culture, but if you’ve ever been on a team, where the, the only thing that changed was the leader, You know that the leader has a role in the culture, too, right?
It’s not that there’s not legacy and historical stuff in a micro culture, but an individual leader has a big lever that they can play for good or ill pretty quickly as well.
It doesn’t, but the culture doesn’t belong only to the leader, But they have a huge impact and influence on it, for sure.
I’d like you to think about it this way.
That macro culture is leader prompted.
But micro, but culture at the end of the day is actually driven from the bottom.
It’s created from the bottom.
It’s created from the folks doing the work.
Now, a senior leader can say, We need to talk about this. We need to think about this. We need to work on this. We need to maintain this, Whatever that is. It can be prompted by senior leadership.
But ultimately, culture is developed, not by proclamation, but by behavior, and because our teams are smaller than the whole back to this, this this issue of complexity, we can change the culture on a micro level much more rapidly than we can turn the whole ship of the organization.
More true.
The larger it is, right?
So, macro culture probably changes slowly, and micro culture can change more rapidly, and micro culture is team owned, It’s owned by the team, really needs to be owned by the team. Teresa says we have lots of surveys, but aside from reporting the results of the survey, there’s not a lot of forward movement and addressing the challenges. Suggestions are not acknowledged, so many co-workers are frustrated. Like, here’s the thing, I would say to any leader ever, like, if you’re not gonna do anything with the answers, don’t ask the question.
So, Theresa, you’re right asking. The questions are good only if you’re going to take action.
Now, even if you’re not going to take action because you need to at least acknowledge, here’s what we heard, because sometimes in the silence, in the background, things are happening, but their lot, the rank and file don’t know it, right.
So it, it raises their level of frustration because they’re unaware.
Theresa’s point is that we’re asking, we’re not doing anything that to which I would say stop doing that, right? Or really work on applying some of what you’ve learned.
But I want to take us to a step a step further than that, but I’ve gotta put one more thing on this slide first, Both of these things are important.
I can get my slide to move. There we go, Both matter. Macro culture matters. Micro culture matters, so if you’re sitting here as the leader of a team, I want you to work, I don’t want you to be worried as much about the left side, as the writer.
If you’re here as an HR leader, as an L&D leader, as a senior leader, then then you might have little, a little more influence on the left side, on the agriculture side, too, which I would say go for it.
Uh, this slide should tell us that all of us have a chance.
All of us have a stake, and I would also say, you can say, Well, I don’t, I’ve, because I’ve heard this 100 times, it doesn’t matter what we do. Macro culture is never going to change.
Well, it is not being lieder prompted, it will only change by the confluence of micro cultures changing.
Right? So here’s a simple example.
I’ve trained thousands of leaders in my life, one of the things that I’ve helped leaders get better at his run meetings.
And I wish I had a dime for every time someone has said this to me.
Kevin, I wish the people that lead, the meetings I go to would do the things you’re saying, to which I say, make sure you’re doing the things we’re talking about.
Make your meetings better.
If your meetings get better, your meetings are getting better results, and your meeting is, are creating more engagement, and your meetings are getting actions taken, then what’s going to happen?
People are going to start to notice, are other people going to start to start to, uh, replicate the things they learn from you? Yes, and you’re changing culture.
You started by changing the meeting culture for your team and it starts to have a ripple effect outward.
So, start, where you are, would be the comment that I would make. And I know that all of you are in different places based on the roles that you play, and why you’re here.
So I just, I just, I want this to be, um, a session of encouragement for you, I guess, is my point, OK, So, so how did we create this idea of an aspirational culture, like culture exists, and one is going to exist in the future, why shouldn’t we figure out what we really want it to be?
So what I want to do is, in, at very high level, outline the process that we help organizations, or teams go through to create, and operationalize an aspirational culture.
Creating an aspirational culture isn’t just creating a statement, but it’s creating a new way.
We do things around here, and so I think I want you to think about this as a leader. So the first thing is, if you’re a senior leader, or if you’re a leader in the team, the first thing you get is, determine your moment.
Because you may be thinking about this right now, and say, Man, this is super important, but if, in this moment, you’ve got three other major projects going on, and your people’s hair is already on fire, or there’s two other changes that are coming down the pike that you know of in the next 60 days, I wouldn’t start talking about culture, yet.
Even though we could argue it’s the single most important thing we could do, timing’s still matters. Determine your moment.
When can we start to think about this?
Talk about this, dream about this. Determine your moment, and then communicate why the kinds of things we’ve been talking about. Why does culture matter?
How can it make a difference for us getting better results, and having a better workplace work place, a better working environment, a better way of interacting.
How can we make this, what would it look like if we could create eight?
Something that was a fabulous place to work, where we got great results, and we loved working there.
That’s kind of the question.
Now, if you’re in a very large organization, you’re, this would look a little different, but the steps don’t really change.
So I’m going to talk about this, let’s say that you’re leading a department of 15 or something like that, Then the next step is we’re going to get everybody together on the rest of these steps. But if it’s a bigger organization, 200 people, 2000 people, or whatever you have to create a team, it’s going to do the next step.
So if your team is small enough, it’s everybody antimicrobials, your situation, Larger you need to create a team.
That is, that our Volant, that have volunteered, that are excited about the reasons that you’ve shared, and want to play a part in creating this aspirational cultural picture.
You want champions that will come together to think about those big picture questions, say, what would it look like if this was an amazing likes to work? What would it look like if we got amazing results? We were highly productive.
We people got along with collaborated at high levels, communication was was exceptionally good, all those things, right? So create a team with the goal of painting a picture.
I say, painting a picture because at the end of the day, well, you’ll have to put words to it.
I don’t think you should start with words.
Excuse me.
I think you should start with I sort of a three-dimensional multi-sensory picture of what it would look like.
And usually when we’re helping organizations do this or teams do this, we get people to do things using other than words. Right? We get people to draw, we get people to sculpt, we get people to use, Clay.
We get people to use any sorts of ways to kind of describe three dimensionally what it would look like.
Eventually, we have to put words to it, so if you’ve got a team, you spend some time asking those big picture questions, and starting to say, Here’s what we would really like it to be. Here’s an aspirational cultural vision, and eventually then you have to put it into some words.
Yep. Cut pictures out of magazines. That came in. That is certainly one of the things that you can do. There’s all sorts of things, ways that you can do it.
And all I’m saying, with zero point four, is, don’t rely only on words, because some of the people on these on the team will will not necessarily be wordsmiths.
Some of them will have different sorts of intelligences that can really help us paint a picture. So, we paint a picture. Then, we have to create a statement, or a set of statements, or an or a short document. Here’s the thing.
We are not trying to create anything sort of beyond a page.
We’re trying to create a few sentences that says, this is what we would like it to look like.
We’ve come together as a team and said, and we’ve, we’ve done some dreaming, we said aspirationally. This is what we think it ought to look like. Then we need to take it back out to the rest of the organization and socialize it.
And see what other people think.
Well, does it mean this doesn’t mean this? What about this would be considered this? And so, then there’s probably a revision process, and, of course, how much time we take to do all this. Depends on the size, the organization, Here’s the point.
It can’t just be the senior leaders aspirational, cultural vision, why, because then there isn’t ownership. The only way we have a chance to create ownership is if people are involved. And the bigger the organization, the more this has to go through, some, some Cascading of conversations, But we really need this team to come together to create the picture, And then to be the advocates and champions. But also those who are asking and trying to understand what other people are saying.
As we socialize and revise, and eventually we come up with a statement, come up with a series of, of sentences.
Perhaps, say, this is what we aspire it to look like, the way we do things here.
And then individual teams start to think about, how do they refine that, right? How did they do that? How did they start to make that look in our organization now?
Of course, if you’re just doing this for your team, then this step, then, some of these later steps are faster, right, because maybe everyone’s involved.
So you move from five down to seven. Here’s the thing.
When you come up with something, you still need to let people sleep. You still need to have a little time. You don’t need to come out of a meeting, Say. We have identified it. It is perfect. Even if everyone that was involved, that would be involved, is there.
So David says, so in a way, back to basics, mission, vision, and core values. Yes, I think values plays into this, but really, we’re talking here about the very specific idea of, like, those probably play a role in all of this.
But we’re really talking about the very specific idea of what would we really like it to be like to work here, right?
If culture is the way we do things around here, aspirationally, what would that look like?
So it’s not, it’s not just those big, big ideas, Although we want to think about those things, and values could play a huge role in what your culture would look like, For sure.
So those would, I would say, David, those are more inputs, right?
But the process of creating an aspirational culture is not unlike a process of working on mission and vision, if you’ve ever been involved in that process, and then the last thing is we’ve got to do this every day.
Right, and that’s what I want to get to in terms of our roles here in just a second, but, but the reality is that if we, if we when I say do this right, I don’t mean come up with the, with the right vision, but if we really make it aspirational, it should be something we’re always reaching for, and we can always be getting better.
So the question is, what can we do today that isn’t support?
How are we behaving in ways that help us, that move us in the direction that aspirational vision? Are? the decisions that we’re making, and the way that we’re making them in alignment with the aspirational culture?
Because if they’re not, every time, we, we aren’t in that alignment where ticking away, we’re picking away at the underpinnings of what we created in this vision.
So it becomes about consistency, So when we think about operationalizing this daily, Now, I said, I’m going to help you think about this, depending on which hat you’re wearing. So that’s where we’re headed next.
So how do we help make all of this happen? If we’re in L&D, HR, talent, you know what I mean?
Which is, I think, where many of you are.
Well, the first thing is we can be a champion of culture, both of the idea that culture matters, and of to champion the culture that we’re trying to create.
So like, if you’ve done some version of what I’ve just talked about.
like, if your organization has said, this is the culture that we’re after, then as an L&D, HR talent professional, you should be championing that.
But you should also be a champion of the idea that culture is a major lever for us to get better results, all right?
The second thing is, you may be in a very unique place to be able to support the work. You might be the one that’s facilitating some of these conversations.
You might be serving as an internal advisor or an internal pair of hands to do the work, and so I strongly encourage you to think about that, OK?
And don’t miss this once an aspirational culture is created in our experience.
I will say, in every case, there ends up being a learning component, like, we need to be better at listening to each other, or we need to get better at collaborating, or, We need to get better at this, that, or, the next thing. And so, there ends up being skill gaps.
And in our experience, there’s always a learning, and development are a learning component of moving in the direction of the culture that we want, because if we already had all the skills, it wouldn’t be much of a jump.
It would simply be habit jump, which is a big jump, but it wouldn’t be. There’s almost always a skill gap component. And so, number one is an L&D person, B B, realizing that?
And then number two, use use your knowledge expertise and wherewithal to help support those learning gaps.
All right?
This should be, this bullet should be really good news to you and L&D.
Because this should, this could be a huge way that you can, you can make a big impact in the organization by connecting, learning outcomes to the culture that’s trying to be created. And then, and really that’s comes to the last point, which is recognizing the role you play in operationalizing this in the in these kinds of roles, you might have the chance to be doing coaching, internal consulting and all sorts of things that can help support providing feedback.
All sorts of ways to help support And bolster making these changes happen.
As an individual leader, um, we should be a culture champion, as well, for much the same ways that, I said a second ago, as a leader.
You may be the one that can initiate this conversation, whether it’s at the senior level or with the at the micro level with your team. Like, you can be the one to say, let’s talk about culture.
What can we do to make it better, richer, more effective, more productive, healthier, whatever.
Where do you want to put around that?
Then we had to invest in that invest with our time, and that’s perhaps with other sorts of resources.
But if we initiated and we started and we need to be invested in making it happen, making the changes come to light doing the steps that we’ve talked about, certainly recognize reward, reinforce, Provide feedback. Do those kinds of things that we ought to be doing as a leader. Just looking at that through the lens of cultures.
Are we giving people feedback and reinforcement based on the right behaviors, the behaviors that are helping us to move the culture forward?
And I actually was on a live earlier today.
That would eventually be an episode of our podcast where I was talking to gentlemen about culture and I said, so what is the thing from your perspective mat, that people are missing most?
After they think about culture and they’re trying to do it. He said, well, leaders aren’t role modeling it and I think he’s exactly right. You see that point here.
If you want your team to move in the direction of the aspirational culture as a leader, you’ve got to be doing it because they’re watching you.
And taking cues and clues from you.
Whether and if you’re not doing it or the decisions that you make or the way you make decisions, For example, isn’t in alignment or seen as an alignment with the culture, then that’s having a huge impact.
But if people see that you’re investing in the process and recognizing and rewarding and reinforcing and doing it all yourself, you don’t have to be superhuman. But if, if that’s the direction you’re moving, you’re helping the team move that direction.
And everyone who’s on this session live or later also wears the hat of being a team member.
Right? I mean, you might be a leader. You might be an L&D, but you’re also a team member.
And so that first bullet remains certainly, but here’s the next thing I would say.
It’s easy as a team member to get frustrated.
It’s easy as a team member, to say, we’ll never make this change.
It’s easy as a team member, to be cynical about some of these things.
Don’t do those things, as may be easy, but they’re not helpful. Be curious, be supportive.
Ask the question, Why can’t, can’t we help people lift their eyes to this picture of an aspirational culture? help? The people who are unengaged and disengaged as several of you asked me in the questions earlier?
Here’s the thing about engagement.
It’s a choice that people make, and, at the end of the day, when people realize that, when they choose to be engaged, they make a bigger difference, that they have a, they have more meaning in their work, that they have, likely have better working relationships.
And more, once people see that, they can make a different choice, then just come to work and leave at five o’clock.
Many will make that choice. And as a team member, we can be curious and supportive of that. We can role model by changing our behavior.
We can even be the one to start.
And talking about why making these changes matter for us as individuals is huge.
It’s one thing for a senior leaders, say, We want to change the culture because of this region, and this region, and the competitive advantage, and the, and the talent retention and all those things, all of which are completely true.
But ultimately, at the end of the day, aspirational culture is every bit as valuable to every individual, because they’re living in that work environment every single day, and so what we can do, as a team member, is to change our behavior.
OK, so, uh?
So Jennifer says, if it’s not managers that want the culture change, but the other staff, well, then that’s, that’s the point of this slide.
Jennifer, and that is that start making changes yourself as an individual start.
Start being the kind of team mate that you want to have.
You know, Gandhi said, Be the change. You want to see in the world.
And I would say that’s where we start, because ultimately, if, If I change my behavior a little bit, and that influences others on the team, to change their behavior a little bit, pretty soon, the culture has changed in a positive.
If you work in a culture that is very negative or more negative than you wish it would be, make sure you’re not feeding into that.
Make sure, like, it’s awesome if we have leaders on board, and managers say, like, Ah, man, let’s do this, but we don’t have to wait for them.
We can start, We can make the culture better where we are in real time.
I said there would be this obligatory slide, and here it is. And I’ve tried to answer some of your questions along the way, and Sarah has been dutifully watching to see what I missed or what I left out.
If there’s something that we haven’t talked about, that you asked, but I haven’t addressed, feel free to put it in again, um, but, Sarah, I’ll let you come back and say we’ve got time for 1 or 2.
I suppose anything that’s come up that you want me to address?
Yes, so if you have a question, you can type it into that questions box. We have about five minutes here to answer a couple of those.
And you weren’t just discussing this shortly ago, but we did have a question come through from Brian, who says, You know, can you just tell people what the culture is, or must you simply demonstrate it?
Well, I think we need to have a clear expectation of where we’re trying to go with it, right? So hopefully that’s not tell, but that share, and that’s come to an agreement about that. But fundamentally, there have to be words.
The words only set the picture, Then there has to be behavior, So I think the answer is yes, to answer that question. It’s both, it’s not just one or the other.
Great, and then one more question today coming from George.
How do you deal with the resistors, OK, let me ask this question of all of you.
Would you rather have someone be resistant?
We’re apathetic.
I’ve asked this question of thousands of people, so I know what most of you are thinking, because you’re saying, well, I’d rather have someone be resistant than empathetic.
And there we go, people are starting to answer, right?
Because if people are resistant or when we are resistant, we resist, because why? Because we care.
So the way we deal with resistors is number one.
Don’t be surprised, because change, it’s a natural outcome, of a change, is that people are gonna say, Wait a minute.
So, so don’t be surprised by it. Number two, don’t be freaked out by it.
Number three.
Acknowledge it, Surface it.
Find out what they’re resisting, Find out what their concerns are.
In my experience, when we really create an aspirational culture, the only real resistance is, I don’t think we can get there, because if it’s truly something that we aspire to, like everyone’s going to like it, they may not think we can get there, but what I, but what I want to do is, is surface the resistance, acknowledge it, one of the reasons leaders are afraid of resistance is I’m not sure how to answer their questions. Sometimes all people want is our ears and our attention. You don’t necessarily need our answers. So, ask, Tell me what your, what your concerns are. Tell me what your issues are. Let’s talk about it.
And, oftentimes, like, when you open the Sota Canyon and you hear a little bit of resistance, right?
It’s not as big a deal as we think, but if we don’t, let it come up if we try to push it to the side. We think if we ignore the resistance, it will get better or it will go away. It’s like shaking up that soda cans and you know what happens after you shake it up when you go?
There you go.
Teresa asked, how do you promote these new ideas so that leaders don’t feel threatened?
Listen, we’re, it’s about continuous improvement. It’s not about saying, you screwed this up, it’s like how can we get better.
It’s a, it’s a great question, Teresa, because we don’t want to put people on the defensive, but what we want to do instead is help people see that we can move to something better.
Now, I need to hand the slides off to Miss Sarah in a second, but I want to tell you that before you get back to your work, or before the end of your day, you need to say, what am I going to do with this? And I know you’re in different places, you’re in different situations, but the reality is, if you don’t take some action on this today, then it will just be fleetingly move on. So, whichever hat you’re wearing that you’re thinking about, I hope that you will consider what you will do next as a result, and I’m gonna give you a couple of things that you can do.
If you connect with me on LinkedIn and tell me that you came from this webinar, I’m gonna pick somebody, and I’m gonna say, Hey, you’re gonna win one of these books, and you’re gonna get to pick which one of these three books that you want. And so, I hope you’ll do that.
I hope you’ll do that. And, there’s a link to our newsletters. If you want to subscribe to our newsletters. I know there’s some people here that already do that and hope that you’ll join us there.
There’s lots of ways to connect with me.
I’ll leave that there. I know that there’s a handout that has all that in there. So if if there’s anything that I can do to answer a question we didn’t get to, if you have an issue or concern, or you just want some support, or you just want some other good content moving forward, because you thought today was useful. These are ways that you can get that. And with that, I say thank you.
And I hand you back to Sarah to close us out.
Well, thank you, Kevin, for such an informative webinar today.
It’s my pleasure.
And today’s webinar was sponsored by HRDQstore. You can learn more about HRDQstore at And that is all the time that we have for today. And thank you all for participating in today’s webinar.
Thanks, everybody.



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