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14 Oct 2022

Everything you need to know about culture

Organisation and Team Culture has been identified time and time again as the key ingredient to sustained success in any setting. People recognise this and it is probably shown in the hard to escape sentiment from Peter Druker that “culture eats strategy for breakfast”.

But what is culture?

When challenged a lot of us have defaulted historically to “Culture is the way we do things around here” but I think this can be overly simplistic and doesn’t start to factor in what needs to be in focus when we talk about culture in teams and organisations. The etymology of culture boils down to growth and I think that is where I’d leave a suitable definition of culture. “Culture is the environment we create for growth in our teams and organisations”, what do you think? Clearly this focuses on a positive viewpoint of culture and doesn’t factor in the negative cultures that exist, right? But maybe positive culture can be positioned as environments tuned for true growth in individuals and negative cultures/toxic cultures aren’t.

How do we measure culture?

The differentiators between positive growth cultures and negative recessive cultures (toxic cultures) are between the prevalence of a universal vision, or the removal of it, and the presence of purpose lead autonomy or the removal of it. The extent as to how the two elements have been removed introduces the extent of how toxic an environment is.

After six years of pulling it apart we have identified the 5 HPTM® values which are essential to facilitate teams which deliver immense growth. These are the values which we regularly measure in teams

  • Balance – How much people are able to take responsibility and do take responsibility for managing their own balance
  • Honesty – How honest people feel they can be and how much they embrace honesty
  • Belief – How much everyone believes in what they are doing
  • Agile Structure – How much people believe in their structure and help it evolve
  • Inclusiveness – How much everyone believes in everyone and everything around them to build forward

The 5 HPTM® values are non-negotiable components facilitating the highest growth in individuals and leading to truly collaborative teams.

However for the ability to achieve a positive growth culture at all, we need two components to be present in everyone

  • The ability to maintain Balance
  • The ability to be Honest

The absence of these two means that we as individuals will be in bad spaces and unable to build forwards. To facilitate these two components we need to have people who are able to believe in the things they do and are able to be as autonomous as possible in the pursuit. The absence of these two variables results in individuals not delivering anything that resembles growth.

Looking at the Growth Culture types there are 4 environments that Charles Handy originally identified and we have built on them a little

For the best environments we must have all five values at the highest levels.

How do we create environments high on balance and high on honesty?

The short answer is by prioritising the people involved and making sure they are aware of the responsibility of offloading the moment they aren’t in great spaces or feel things are off. The reality is it is a long journey which is potentially never ending as there are so many things that offset the belief in individuals that they are important and that everyone wants them to prioritise themselves.

At Tribe365® we have created a daily check for how people are and if they are not in the best space prompt offloading to start to understand what can be better. This is where we would suggest everyone gets to, as there is no fool proof solution to making sure people are in great spaces, and the more work we do to ensure there can be total psychological safety then the more likely we’ll get to an environment where people truly believe they can be honest and prioritise themselves, right?

We have a free app that starts to explore team sentiment Employee Wellbeing App | Wellbeing in the Workplace UK – Tribe365®

How do we create environments full of Belief?

This is a more expansive answer, but before you start, you better have high honesty and balance, right? Then we can look at galvanising belief. The first thing to understand about belief is we never do anything we don’t believe in and we believe we believe in a few different things

  • The role you do
  • The individuals around us
  • The organisation/team itself 
  • The shared purpose for everyone

The fact is we only believe in an end purpose, and we can test this if you want, and if you want environments with maximum resilience and proactivity then you will only aim for a shared vision. To get there requires everyone being involved and consulted on setting the shared purpose in the first place, this could be done by a Vision Map process. Once done then it doesn’t stop there I am afraid, you need to constantly revisit and check, is it still inspiring? Are we demonstrating the behaviours/values which will help us achieve everything we want to achieve etc. because it takes a surprisingly short time for people to evolve and for visions and values to become disconnected, and we all need 100% belief to truly deliver and commit to an environment.

How do we create environments full of Agile Structure?

Again we need honesty and balance and we also need belief for structure to start being possible. Once these values are in place we have some chance of starting to deliver on Agile Structure. Agile Structure is all about moving away from central power structures and increasing autonomy around the way we do things. Making sure everyone agrees with the way forwards and there are clear measures to help everything improve. The base components to any structured activity going forwards are

  • Specifics – Who, What, When
  • Measured – What resource to do what? how do we know how well things are going?
  • Agreed by all – Everyone contributes to the way forward, collective intelligence all the time
  • Relevant to purpose – Links to the why for all of us
  • Time Efficient – Done in the most efficient time possible

How do we create environments full of Inclusiveness?

We actively push to involve everyone and everything we can. We value everyone and everything. There is no stone left unturned until we have achieved everyone on the journey and building towards better together. We have left bitterness, judgement and resentment behind us on the understanding we are all the sum of what has gone before and not one of us wakes to make the world worse. We all want better every day. When this is embodied by every teams and individual then true inclusiveness has been achieved. Only positive futures will be found.

For more information email us at team@tribe365.co or visit our contact page Tribe365 Address and Phone Number | Contact Us For Team Development

Interested in finding out more?
Book a meeting in with the Tribe team
today on +44 (0) 1913 080 356 or at

Written By Oliver Randall

Oliver is one of the Tribe365 ® founding members and has forged a career on finding passion in everything he does. Until the work with Tribe365 ® he never really understood it, and has found his real passion is unlocking the true passion and enjoyment in everyone around him.

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