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I have a client who has two different cultures operating (R&D and Commercial). The two cultures need to understand each other and work effectively together where they interface.

I want to run a half day session with them on culture and would appreciate any advice on how the half day should be pitched and what sort of content I could include.

Also, doe sanyone have an exercise I could use that would illustrate the point?
Sally Henderson1

3 Responses

  1. Building Relationships and Understanding
    Tnis is an interesting and fairly common kind of issue. Often the key in these issues is the building of relationships and understanding between individuals within the 2 departments. This is something that will take longer than 1/2 day but you can probably do some useful kick off work in the time you’ve got.

    I like using an adaptation of the NLP Perceptual Positions exercise in this kind of circumstance. Basically you get the teams to look at each other from the others shoes. So in your example R&D would step into being Commercial, they would then look at R&D from the position of Commercial and comment on strengths, weaknesses and issues in the relationship. In this way the teams are talking about themsleves, but from the other teams perspective. This tends to be very good for surfacing the issues (we can be very honest when talking about ourselves), without degenerating in accusation and moaning.

    If you want more detail please get in touch with me. [email protected]

  2. Understanding Others Needs
    In your case, and in the time span you have available, I would suggest that you have the two groups do some pre-session work on the following questions:

    1. What I need more from you (e.g. R & D)
    2. What I need less from you.
    3. What I would like R & D to continue doing.
    4. What I would like R & D to stop doing.

    When they come together for the session, have R & D get together and share their answers and prioritize. Commercial do the same. Then have them share and discuss their answers as a total group and reach agreement on the above questions. You will need a leader from both groups.I’m not sure if a half day will do it, but if not, the discussion created may assist you in arranging another meeting ASAP. What you will be doing is facilitating this process and helping the two groups reach agreement on ‘how’ they can help each other and the company in obtaining their objectives.
    My email is: [email protected]

  3. Cultural web and culture clash
    I have used the cultural web to have different groups analyse their own cultural norms – it might be useful if you asked them to do each others. This might take an hour or so. Also, I have used a powerful culture clash exercise to illustrate difference – this takes about1 – 1 1/2 hours. Email if you want further info.
    Good luck


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