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Sophie Berryman

Rakuten Marketing

VP, HR and Talent EU

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Professional culture workshop


Hi, I have been asked to prepare a 'professional culture' workshop for a company that would like to address some internal issues.  They are not looking for major culture change, more of a refocus of their current approach and the session would be for the management team.  If anyone has done something similar, I would be very interested to hear how you approached it and what worked well.  Also, tips about things to avoid are always useful!  Thanks in advance for  your help, Sophie

7 Responses

  1. Is this about cross-team cooperation?


    Not sure precisely what "professional culture" might mean – but I guess it is around working together across teams as it is an internal issue?

    Maybe a session on "serving the internal customer" might be useful? Get teams/individuals to identify who their internal customers are, what service they need and would like, what service they actually receive, where it could be improved etc etc.



  2. Professional Culture Workshop

    Hi Sophie,

    I would be happy to provide advice; feeling a bit challenged to provide targeted and useful advice however, given your brief description.  Below I offer good resources that you can study and hopefully glean some useful guidance.  

    I have been doing corporate culture change work for 15 years. I am a firm believer most corporate cultures should NOT fundamentally change – rather, they need to evolve: Build new habits that are tied directly to new strategies. Create more change-friendly modern work practices. Build on existing strengths. My training and consulting is all based on this philosophy. 

    On my website is a free "culture change plan" outlining 4 stages with tips for aligning a culture to a new or shifting strategy. If that is of interest, just complete an email address and you can download it immediately.

    For a nominal fee, also on the site, I offer a 211-page downloadable e-guidebook (Culture Builder Toolkit) filled with tools and templates and worksheets, including outlines of workshops/meeting designs we have run for senior management to educate them about culture, and help steer culture efforts in a practical and tangible way.  We built this for exactly your situation – when an internal culture effort is underway and guidance to make it a powerful and business-relevant conversation is needed.

    What to avoid: Culture is a fuzzy topic. Even the most open-minded executives have trouble getting their arms around how to turn it into a practical effort. I highly recommend you use language that links culture to the business strategies and priorities – ie, connect what about the culture is hindering the performance metrics the business leaders are accountable for. This is not always obvious, but doing so makes a HUGE difference in their ability to understand that culture is not a "soft" topic but rather something that is measurable and links to bottom line performance. (You could glean this information from a few focus groups with employees and first-line supervisors.) We use the Denison tool as an initial assessment, to start the conversation on the right foot. They have done 30 years' research in linking culture to business performance.  The Culture Builder Toolkit I mentioned also has an assessment tool included, which is loosely based on the Denison work; ie, the Toolkit was built knowing what changes in culture best link to and drive business performance.

    I am available for Skype or phone coaching as well.  If you wish, we can set up a small bucket of coaching time if you want to talk to an expert on the subject.

    Best to you,

    Lisa Jackson

    Skype: Lisa_Jackson1


  3. Thanks so much for your

    Thanks so much for your comments. 

    Jenny – the topic is more to do with work ethic, attire, excessive chatting about non-work issues and a feeling that the relaxed atmosphere has gone a bit too far and needs to be addressed, whilst not becoming a 9 to 5.30, do-as-you-are-told environment.  Your idea about focusing on the service that employees offer is useful because we definitely need to look at the impact on the business of this way of working.

    Lisa, thanks for your advice and I have downloaded your toolkit and will read this week.  I agree that the workshop needs to focus on the commercial impact of the culture and it's a good idea to get the employees' take on it too, to encourage their buy-in when things begin to change.


  4. “silver bullet”

    Hi Sophie

    it rather sounds is if the organisations has some challenges and the "solution" is someo form of training intervention, rather than management actually doing its job.

    At the risk of being seen as negative I would be wary of trying to take this on alone….yes you can help to run sessions to get people to see that "work ethic, attire, excessive chatting about non-work issues and a feeling that the relaxed atmosphere has gone a bit too far" but the line management has got to do their bit as well.




  5. Hi Rus

    Hi Rus

    Definitely not a silver bullet – the managers need to be responsible for implementing the changes so I'm looking at the workshop as a way to get agreement between them for a consistent approach and giving them the tools and the confidence to do something about it. Some are not experienced managers and so the support offered here will fit into the other development sessions I am doing with them.



  6. great!

    I did a project with similarities where we looked at "downstream Impact" of issues such as procrastination and poor quality… had a major impact on people who suddenly saw that a manana approach or an 'it ain't perfect but it'll do' attitude led to major problems down stream for colleagues or customers.

    Good luck with it


  7. Glad to hear your project

    Glad to hear your project worked well – I think the key is getting them and their teams to understand the commercial impact of the existing approach.



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Sophie Berryman

VP, HR and Talent EU

Read more from Sophie Berryman

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