The Gap Between Workplace Cultures and Mission Statements


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The employee experience in any organization must be in sync with the soaring ideals of its mission statement because gaps between the real and the ideal will always manifest in low employee satisfaction, high turnover, leadership burnout, and poor customer satisfaction. The challenge is that most workplace teams and leadership struggle to understand their workplace culture. If you ask a fish to describe water, the fish can’t do it even though he swims in it every day. In this presentation, interculturalist Marcia Carteret will offer participants a framework for understanding their workplace culture. What do interpersonal communication dynamics reveal about the values – codified or not – that drive established daily routines? What are the expectations of roles and relationships people assume they share on a work team? How do these expectations extend to clients and customers, and how do misaligned expectations affect the customer experience?

Participants Will Learn:

  • What contributes to gaps between workplace cultures and the ideals behind mission statements.
  • A framework for exploring workplace cultures.
  • Several dimensions of culture used to explore team communication dynamics within organizations.
  • To apply their knowledge of culture dimensions to real work teams and describe the culture of a workplace.
  • Opportunities and strategies for improving alignment between mission statement ideals and the actual workplace culture employees experience.

Who Should Attend:

  • Training and HR professionals
  • Managers and supervisors
  • Anyone interested in workplace culture

Additional Resources:


Face - Monochrome / M

Marcia Carteret has a knack for making meaningful connections with audiences and a passion for helping others maximize their potential. “My job is to assist organizations in developing their workplace culture so that it supports their MOST valuable asset – their people.” Marcia has helped individuals in dozens of organizations understand and amplify their team communication dynamics and workplace culture. Audiences love her practical strategies they can apply personally and professionally.

Marcia gained much of her expertise in workplace performance in her family’s successful employee assistance business in Washington D.C. In 2008, she joined the faculty of the University of Colorado School of Medicine as an expert in healthcare team communication and cross-cultural patient care. She has trained care teams in over a hundred private medical practices, hospitals, clinics, non-profits, and community-based organizations. For more information, please visit her website at


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Hi, everyone, and welcome to today’s webinar, The Gap Between Workplace Cultures and Mission Statements, hosted by … and presented by Marcia Carteret. My name is Sarah, and I will moderate today’s webinar. The webinar will last around one hour. If you have any questions, 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.


Today’s webinar is sponsored by HRDQ-U Virtual Seminars. HRDQ-U virtual seminars are soft skills training classes with real-time interaction and expert trainers and grows your organization’s learners in HRDQ-U virtual seminars and lets them develop the perfect performance skills that they need from their home or office.


And on any device from desktop to mobile, learn more at


And I’m excited to introduce today’s presenter … Marcia Carteret.


Marcia has a knack for making meaningful connections with audiences and a passion for helping others maximize their potential. Marcia has helped individuals and dozens of organizations understand and amplify their team, communication, dynamics, and workplace culture.


Audiences love her practical strategies that they can apply personally and professionally.


She has trained teams in over 100 private medical practices, hospitals, clinics, non-profits, and community-based organizations.


Thank you for joining us today, Marcia.


Thank you, Sarah. I’m excited to be here. So, let’s get started.




Her topic today minding the gap between workplace culture and mission statements. And I think this is a timely topic in a pandemic, post pandemic world as we’re establishing the opportunities that come with the new normal that we’re all creating together.


Um, I’m speaking to you today from the mountains outside of Denver, Colorado, and it’s bright and sunny here. We’re at an elevation of over 7300 feet, clear skies, and a long view to the horizon. And I’d like to think that this is a perfect metaphor for our opportunity today, to shift our perspective at this unique time, as we’re coming out of this worldwide health crisis.


Life isn’t just getting back to old, normal things are changing, at least for most of us. And I think we have an opportunity to co create a new normal.


And what better thing to do than to focus on improving the quality of people’s work-life?


I’m an intercultural lust, which means that I’ve spent the past 15 or so years, studying very closely, how culture affects the way people communicate, and how they achieve the means of co-operation.


Even when, as is so often the case, we don’t share a common cultural background.


Now, the early years of my teaching and training work was done in business settings, but I transitioned to health care in 2009 when I joined the faculty of the University of Colorado School of Medicine. So, if you look at that dimensions of culture website, you’re going to see that it is very healthcare focused.


And so, for some of you, that may be great. And for others, it may feel a little bit less relevant. But what we’re going to be doing today is relevant across all industries.


For me, personally, my new normal is going to involve a lot of less commuting to campus so that I can focus more on coaching and consulting work.


That said, I remain a teacher at heart. So, I like an interactive learning environment, and so I hope that you’ll give your input put when we do the polls, you’ll use the question field off your ideas to the group.


And, by the way, you don’t have to have perfectly formulated questions and answers to participate. This webinar is designed to be an introduction to what is a complex topic.


And we only have an hour, which we’ll go quickly.


So, I’m going to touch on some theory as we go, but I really want this to be a chance for you to get thinking about your workplace culture in some new ways.


So, here’s our roadmap for today’s topic.


Broken down into three steps, we’re going to start with some key questions that we have to ask before we can take a deeper dive in any one area.


We’re going to start by exploring mission statements from what I’ve seen over the years, in multiple organizations, mission statements, all too often are marketing jargon, and they don’t really serve to guide the culture of the organization.


So, I’m going to encourage you to ask the what, the who, and the why of your organization’s mission statement.


Then in step two, we’re going to be examining workplace culture, and if you haven’t thought about your workplace culture much, or you don’t know how to make sense of it, I’m going to share a framework that I think may be helpful for you.


And then finally, we’re going to look at how to mind the gap between mission, statements, and workplace cultures.


So, I always pose this two-part question when I do workplace trainings. And it doesn’t matter whether the size of the organization is five people or 5000.


So do mission statements, shape workplace culture?


Or does workplace culture shape the mission statement? In other words, you have a culture. And because it is what it is, you create a mission statement accordingly.


So, I’m going to pause here just long enough for you to ponder this.


I think there’s always fuels, like, which came first, the chicken or the egg.


And it’s perfectly OK if you can’t arrive at a final answer, but at least, I think we can all agree that there is an essential connection between the two, between the chicken and the egg, obviously, but also, at least in my mind, between mission statements and the workplace culture.


So, I’m going to begin with our first poll question here.


Do you know your organization’s mission statement?


And the poll is now launched. You can take a few moments here and submit your answer.


I’ll give you about a min or so.


OK, great, and now we will share those results. Do you see those results on your screen, Marcia?


I sure do. I don’t know at all only 9%. That’s good.


I know it only vaguely 40%. I can paraphrase it fairly well.


And I actually know it word for word. So those 2.9% are interesting to me the outliers. You don’t know it at all. Or you actually know it word for word. So, most of us are some.


We’re sort of in the middle of all that.


Sarah, are you still seeing my screen? My, my slides.


That’s like, your slides are down, but we can see your screen OK. Here we go. Perfect. Alright.


So, then, the next question that I want to ask is, do you know who crafted your mission statement?


And, again, you can take a few moments here. I’ll give you about a min or so so that you can submit your answer.


OK, we’ll share those results as well.


OK, I have no idea of 42%, I participated in creating it 18%, I’m curious, for those who participated and created, creating it, what that process was like.


Then, it would be fun to go through all 39% of what the other variations on the theme, or if we had time to do that. But I think it’s important to think about mission statements.


Um, from these, these kinds of fundamental questions, no matter how an organization has developed its mission statement, I think what should be clear is the intended audience. Does your guiding statement have relevance, both internally and externally?


Let’s look at some common ways that mission statements are often developed.


This first mission statement is by the leadership team. This is very common in large organizations. In this scenario, the mission statement is developed by a group of cross functional senior executives, for example, and perhaps they spend days in an off-site meeting to get it done, because there’s a lot of work behind creating a good mission statement. They probably struggle to please everyone, but they may end up pleasing. No one there are genuine attempts made to make everyone feel some sense of ownership.


But in the end, it’s all too common that no one really comes away feeling that they have real ownership.


Now in this next example, we have a mission statement when it’s written by the HR. Maybe consultants or marketing gurus, I call this the view from afar.


Oftentimes, it’s written by the specialists to sort or are imagining the organizational chart, the different departments and managers, and employees at different levels. They use language, that sounds like it makes sense, but it’s actually kind of hard to explain in concrete terms.


This approach works best for mission statements that are geared towards external audiences, but again, too often there isn’t enough focus on the internal audience, the worker bees, so to speak. So, their sense of ownership and engagement is sometimes lacking.


Then, last but not least, we have mission statements that are written by everyone, I also call this Death by one thousand edits. I’ve been through this important movements on different work teams. This is really typical and small organizations, the mission statements or an agenda item, and then it ends up consuming an entire meeting or more than one meeting.


You can get into haggling over nuances of wording, and I think that’s where things really kinda get off track.


And again, there’s an attempt to make everyone feel some sense of ownership, but then the question really still becomes, maybe they do, or maybe they just really needed a long nap at the end of the process.


So, here’s the most important question: What is the function of your mission statement? What function is it serving?


And is there relevance internally, as well as relevance externally?


Hold on a second.


So, a practical mission statement serves both as an internal and external communication instrument, and it should be designed to inform clients and investors, et cetera, but also, it should focus and motivate employees and leadership.


It should actively inform the way people treat one another within the organization and set a standard for the quality of work-life. That’s, that’s kind of an ideal.


And I challenge you to do a little research on mission statements.


Read the ones from leading companies like Google or Microsoft.


Read the ones of those who are in your same industry, your direct competitors, for example.


Many of them are short statements or why an organization exists, what its overall goal is, what kind of product or service it promotes.


Then some of them are kind of so vague that it’s hard, at least for me to see how they’re put into action every day by actual employees. The mission statement of a popular t-shirt company, life is good dot com is to spread the power of optimism and I love that statement. And the simplicity of the mission statement is powerful.


But I’m left wondering, what does that look like at work every day?


And Patagonia’s mission statement is clear and direct, which is great.


But I also, then I’m left asking, who exactly is the audience is that everyone is an internal, is it external to the organization?


Some companies are actually developing two mission statements. one for the internal audience and one for the external, and I call this the spork approach. You can come at the challenge of clarifying your mission from both directions, but with a unified purpose, and this makes a lot of sense to me.


So do some research and see what’s out there and compare your mission statements to the others.


And current trends that I’ve been reading about are, the companies are actually getting away from mission statements, but I don’t think you have to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I think that mission statements are actually being put to work enough. And so, it’s more a question of how you’re using them.


They can be powerful tools.


So, when there’s an internal focus, that’s part of the mission statement, it’s usually crafted in a common language that people can easily understand, and it’s communicated to employees before their first day on the job, and then is highlighted in recruiting and onboarding materials. And it’s valued so that employees actually know it.


So, I was glad to see that there was a pretty large percent of people that could, at least paraphrase, praise the mission statement of the company that they worked for. That’s a good thing, but then the next question is, is it actually actionable.


Our employees able to align their actions and attitudes with the mission statement every day in an authentic way? Does it have its place in performance reviews? It really should appear in performance reviews, as well.


So, a quick check in with our roadmap shows that we’ve done diligence on mission statements. So, let’s move on to examining Workplace culture.


I’m going to pause here to see if we have any burning questions. We should have time at the end of the Webinar for questions and answers, but is there anything that anybody wants to address right now?


If you have any questions, type them into the question area, you can take those and throughout today’s session as we check in with you, as well as Marcia said, we’ll have time for Q&A at the end.


Right now, Marcia, it doesn’t look like we have anything coming through.


OK, then we can move right along.


So, I’ve asked this question of hundreds of audience in training workshops, and in classrooms, and at conferences.


And people tend to struggle with this. And this question quite a lot, and in fact, a lot of people just kind of draw a blank. But I want you to take a moment and ask, how would you describe your workplace culture?


And I think, Sarah, if people want to type anything into the question box here that might be interesting and quick, we can share what people are saying.


Yeah, so type, again, type your responses into the questions box, and then we can share some of your responses out with the audience.


So, Charles says, ours is moving towards a learning culture, Sherry says, Shared norms and behaviors. Timothy says, Uncertain, and we’re trying to redefine it.


OK, All right. The one about shared norms and behaviors.


I want to clarify that. I understand. So, you would describe your workplace culture as being one where people are pretty well aligned, and they feel as though they do share norms and behaviors, they’re clear on that.


Whoever is writing that, if they want to give a thumbs up, or say Yes or no.


If you’d like to put your response into the questions field, and while we’re waiting, that we have a couple of more responses coming through as well, OK? Ratings driven, it’s who you know to get opportunities, and we’re trying to build a positive and supportive work culture.


OK, these are some great responses, and Sherry said, yes, that is where I thought the workplace culture came from, from shared norms and behaviors.


Um, it does, it does.


But I think the challenges that, when we get down to really trying to be specific about our workplace culture, so that we could really describe it effectively to someone else, we have a hard time doing that. because.


Always say, the talking about culture is a little bit like eating fried calamari. The more you chew it, the bigger it gets. It’s, it’s not a concrete thing. It is kind of like the software that is our programming.


But it’s oftentimes harder for us, like the fish, they can’t describe the water that it’s swimming.


And if somebody says to the fish, what is water?


We have a tendency to not be able to describe it or say very much, very clearly about it. It’s all around the fish. You can’t survive without water swims in every day.


But when asked directly, know what is water, the fish draws a blank and a lot of people struggle to really define what their workplace culture is, their team culture. So, it makes it very difficult if you’re trying to transition and make change because you don’t have a clear foundation or starting point. And I’m going to try to help you with that today and give you some ideas on how to get a little bit more specific.


So, I liked this article from Fast Company Magazine. It really caught my attention recently. The industry executive, who’s writing it, is saying that culture is the single most important ingredient in any company’s success.


He says but ask me what culture is. And I will fumble.


I can’t categorically define it.


But I realize, if I want to succeed, I have to get culture, right. So, this just really caught my attention, knowing that I was going to be doing this webinar today.


A positive workplace culture is so important Because it attracts talent. It drives engagement and retention. It impacts happiness and satisfaction, and it definitely impacts performance.


So, it’s pretty easy to see that there’s a direct impact.


But the internal stakeholders have on the external stakeholders who are your clients and customers. So, it’s really worth taking the time. I’m glad to hear that there are people who are really serious about this question, of taking a look at their workplace culture, trying to understand it, and then trying to figure out what it takes to change it.


So, let’s help the fish.


How does the fish better understand the water that he’s swimming in?


We’re going to be doing, what I call, applying the intercultural framework.


Um, now.


We have to start before we do anything else.


By defining what we mean by culture, we aren’t talking about culture as in being cultured, obviously. You know, because you go to the opera or the ballet.


For our purposes, I’m going to set out a useful way to think about culture for this topic today.


Um, so let’s be thinking about culture.


A particular culture is maintained by people who interact with one another within a boundary of some kind. So, consider a workplace where people spend an average of what, 40 hours a week together.


And so even online during the pandemic we were working together. Zoom meetings kept us together.


Even though we were apart for months on end, the great American poet Robert Frost famously said that men work together in the heart, whether they work together or apart.


So, if you consider your workplace as a boundary of belonging, what makes that space unique to its insiders because you can’t have boundaries of belonging, without creating insiders and outsiders? That’s just how it works. It’s not a bad thing. That’s just the way the world works. So, you have to start by clarifying.


What boundary of belonging you’re working to understand.


Is it a corporate culture that you’re part of?


You know, for example, Google is known for being fun, flexible, innovative, and collaborative. But if you were a fly on the wall at Google, what would you actually see in the workplace day-to-day?


Maybe you’re taking a closer look at institutional culture.


The military always makes a great example of this because it’s a highly specific institutional culture. People who join the military become highly acculturated into that way of life.


If you’re working for a non-profit, for example, you would ask: No, is our belonging all about not really caring about profit.


Well, the non-profits I’ve worked with, I would say, that’s not really true because they’re, they are running a business, it’s more about a shared belief system of doing good in the world.


And doing work that matters, but what happens day in and day out, is everyone really sitting around, and you know singing Kumbaya?


And then maybe it’s professional culture that you want to explore.


The medical culture, for example, is highly specific, but the culture of doctors is very different from the culture of nurses.


So as a starting place to do the work, and defining your culture, and understanding it better, especially if you want to change it, you have to get really clear about understanding this idea of your boundaries of belonging.


Um, let’s to this slide.


So, in the field of intercultural communications, we use what we call dimensions of culture, to create specific points of comparison, that are useful in describing cultural differences.


And we can apply these to any group, where there’s a strong sense of belonging, and where daily routine interactions between people and search become kind of normalized over time.


So, that is what I think.


I didn’t catch her name, but when I asked for clarification, on that one, answer, I think this is the kind of thing that you were pointing in the direction of, OK, so these dimensions of culture can help work teams understand their workplace culture better.


They can give you a place to start exploring your values, your beliefs, your attitudes, because those are what drive people’s behavior.


And we’re going to focus on six of these today, and I’m going to have to go through them with our time limitations in mind. So, this is an overview.


And, before I even begin going through them, let me establish that we are working with generalizations, here.


We’re looking for probabilities and patterns that are worth paying attention to, but there are always exceptions, gray areas, and you can’t apply these dimensions too rigidly.


Culture is a very fluid and changing things. It’s a process. It’s not static, so it just changes over time.


And so that really means that you can’t establish your sense of culture in your organization, and just sit with that. And then 10 years later, assume that you have the same culture because that definitely will not play out that way.


So, let’s begin with individualism versus collectivism.


Do you work in an organization where there’s a strong in emphasis on individual achievement and competition?


Or would you say that the emphasis is more on co-operation, giving people a sense of belonging and sharing group harmony?


Now, don’t overthink this is what you get responses. And remember that there’s a continuum. It isn’t one way or the other, but typically one way of being gets rewarded more than the other.


And when you look at this picture, what you see is the North Star, versus a constellation, like the Big Dipper. So, in American culture, we tend to be, in fact, we are known to be the most highly individualistic group of people in the world. OK, so every person in American culture is encouraged to stand out to be the brightest, to be the North Star. There are much more collectivist-oriented cultures in the world.


Where what matters most is your belonging within a group, OK, and so if you narrow down from the characteristics of, of countries down into the more specific, smaller workplace organizations, you can see these things play out. And again, it’s not an either or if you’re highly collectivist, it doesn’t mean that. Individual achievement isn’t valued, it’s just to what degree is, that more important than the good of the group.


OK, next, we’re going to look at Harris called Masculine versus Feminine. Now lean in here a bit, because this one can be a little tricky to understand.


It’s very similar to individualism versus collectivism.


The question that you would ask here is about the emphasis is placed on success material rewards.


The winner takes all attitude and sometimes an environment where the weak kinda get weeded out on the other end of the spectrum.


And, again, there’s a continuum. There’s more of an emphasis on quality of life over success, sharing rewards with others.


The stronger helping the weaker.


Now it’s easy to confuse this with male and female gender, it isn’t about that at all, because professional sports are dominated by men, still. But women athletes are just as driven to wind, dig in, to make a lot of money, right?


And similarly, I’ve worked with doctors in refugee clinics who were men very much dedicated to what we would call the more feminine values selflessness, helping those in need putting their materials success and personal gain after the well-being of others that they’re working with their patients and families.


Next step, we have high versus low power distance. This is a really wanted to pay important dimension to pay attention to in workplace settings.


What we’re looking at here is the emphasis is placed on hierarchy. In some cultures, there’s an accepted authority.


From a strong leader or leaders, decisions are typically dictated, they’re coming from the top down.


Interactions tend to be more formalized; titles are very important. Where you are on the totem pole is very important.


The boss and other dominant persons oftentimes do a lot, if not all, the talking in meetings and others listen respectfully.


On the other end of the spectrum, we have an environment where there’s a lower power distance, meaning that there’s a really strong emphasis on inequality leaders act as equals working alongside group members.


For an example, like an, a receptionist speaks up at meetings as much as the boss does. Everyone’s frank with the boss, in front of one another. There’s shared decision making. It’s highly valued.


Things tend to be more informal, like the way people dress people eating lunch at their desks, enlarge organization.


This gets tricky if department. By department, there are variations on this dimension of culture.


So, depending on whether, like, you’re looking at an overall organization, or you’re looking at just one team or department, it’s a good starting place to take this by looking at what’s happening within a particular group, and then you can amplify that outwards.


So, future versus immediate orientation, here, we’re looking at whether the emphasis is typically stronger on planning for the future, anticipating future conference consequences. Avoiding impulsive actions and behaviors.


And on the other end of the spectrum, we have the feel of workplaces where people seize the moment.


People are encouraged to take chances and try new things. There’s an acceptance of being impulsive because it’s seen as being necessary for the, the freedom to express creativity.


Organizations that describe themselves as agile, are often describing, in some way, this aspect of their culture.


Got a couple more here, are coming to time control and time control.


It may seem obvious, but we don’t think about how much time our sensitive time is culturally based, and you can watch time control in an organization. It’s one of the ones that’s pretty much on this for us, and easy to observe. So, there’s either an emphasis on punctuality. Never wasting time, and always being considerate of other people’s time because no one ever has enough time.


Time is money, and we’re always short of time.


I can think of many medical offices that I’ve worked in.


For example, there is an extremely high focus on time control and also efficiency, the two go hand in hand.


Now, the other version of time control is an emphasis on more relaxed time. Meetings don’t always start on time. There’s no formal agenda, or there isn’t an agenda that people don’t worry about sticking to it too closely.


Um, employees tend to have a lot of flexibility.


And there is oftentimes also, it goes along with this, a feeling that a person’s personal life can. If necessary, take precedence over work, IE, staying home or coming in late because you have a sick child, it’s less frowned upon than it would be in an environment where time control is really strict. No, as long as it’s not being abused. So, you can look at your organization and your team and see how you deal with time. What is the expectation for people around that?


And how is it enforced?


Last but not least, we have task versus relationship. This is going to sound very close to time control, but not quite the same. So, the task, part of this emphasis is all about getting work done and being productive.


Socializing at work is kept to a minimum so that people stay on task.


Maybe people don’t spend too much time on things like celebrating every employee’s birthday when it comes round.


Now, on the other hand, there are workplaces with real emphasis on relationships.


So, externally, what this might look like is that with clients and customers, you do a lot of socializing to build rapport and trust first. In business comes after.


Closing the deal isn’t the first priority. You’re trying to establish relationships that will last more or less over time.


Depending on your business model that is or isn’t, something of priority, there’s an understanding that relationships evolve, and they should be given appropriate time to do so.


Now, internally, the way this can look is that the boss has an open-door policy. There’s chat time at the water cooler, and that’s valued.


Every meeting starts with joking stories. And let’s go around the room and share what we did on our weekend and holidays. So, this, again, those are just some sort of generalized examples of the different feel that workplaces have based on this dimension of task versus relationship.


Now you might be saying, OK, that’s six dimensions of culture, and I’m not really sure what to do with these dimensions of culture.


That’s not unusual, and as I said, this is a complex topic, but one thing I can tell you can start with is look for clues in meetings.


This is one of the best places.


You can hone in on these dimensions of culture, because meetings tend to be like a Petri dish where you can observe behaviors that tell you a lot about the values that are driving the culture in the organization. So how are people communicating? What are the team dynamics?


I can think of doing consulting work and observing teams, where I sat in quietly, like as much a fly on the wall as possible. And watched team meetings. And there, that nobody could get a word in edgewise. Everybody interrupted everybody else. That’s, That’s one thing. You’ll see that there’s, there’s other situations where one person is, very clearly the speaker, and everybody just listen. So those are completely different dynamics, and they say a lot about the power distance in the organization, and all kinds of things.


So, use meetings as kind of your way of, of, beginning to explore the culture of your organization.


And I always ask teams this question, how do people use communication to achieve the means of co-operation, which basically means working together within their boundary of belonging.


So that’s kind of encapsulates as the idea here, begin to be a really good observer. Like a cultural anthropologist and watch what people around you are doing. Day in and day out. My dad always used to say, it’s not what people say. It’s what they do. Watch behavior if you really want to know the truth of what’s going on. And that really plays out when you’re studying culture as well.


So, I’m going to run through some pictures here.


And the idea is that after we’ve talked about these dimensions of culture, gives you sort of a way to view these pictures and get a sense of what might be going on in each of them.


How, when I say the feel of the organization, I know that sounds kind of touchy feely for those of you who like facts and data, but we’re really talking about something here that, that is, it is so fundamental to human experience. We take it for granted. It’s hard to get concrete about it, but if you observe, you can feel the differences. So, you’ll see what I mean with these pictures. So, you look at this picture, if you want to type into the question box, how does this, this work team, what do you see here? How does it feel?


Yeah, again, you can type your response into that question box once you have a few minutes to analyze the photo.


And Marcy and we didn’t have a question come in earlier. Someone was asking the title for the Ethan Karp or an article in Fast Company Magazine.


Um, I don’t have it on the tip of my tongue, but it was, I wrote about it in the blog post for HDRQ-U. Um, yeah, if you go to … dot com, you can check out the blog post there that Marcia provided.


Can we have some responses coming through as well?


People are saying and far more appreciative, leader led, engaged in the topic.


Informal in their clothing, attire, gift bags with the smiley face.


I would say it’s collective feminine, low power distance, immediate orientation, relaxed, time control, and relationship relaxed and caring tech focused.


Hmm, hmm, hmm, hmm, hmm, hmm, hmm, gosh, those are great responses. Very excellent observations, excellent observations.


And what’s interesting to, again, is, when I look at this picture, I say, well, I’m the one hand. You know, this fella’s wearing shorts, and tennis shoes and it looks like somebody’s wearing, you know, short sleeve.


It looks almost like a halter top, but you can’t really tell from the side.


And sometimes, it can be misleading.


So, you have to really get to know your, what you know from inside the organization versus people trying to, to say what it is from looking outside.


It’s two different things, because it’s quite possible that there, there is some power distance here that might be the boss in the picture, and maybe he typically does do most of the talking in meetings. And T tends to give directives as opposed to looking for a lot of group input. So you can’t tell to immediately, and make assumptions. But I would say that this is very, very different, obviously, from our next picture.


So, let’s put some comments in the question field about this picture.


And while you’re doing that, and Carrie actually found the article title. We’re all working so well as a team here today. Great manufacturing executive on the industry Agnostic Steps to form a strong culture. And she also shared the link so I will share that out with the group.


Fantastic. Thank you so much.


And we have responses coming in here very professionally dressed: power posing in form, all, business attire, form all diverse.


Oh, it seems like we’re having a theme here of the form.


All, commentator, hm.


Or any other, any other comments that you’d like to chat in that we can share corporate?


Yes, very corporate.


And lastly, we’ll share this other response. We have professional, but intent on Listening and learning.


Yes, right.


So, you know, depending on who you’re talking to, you can be showing these pictures to different people, and we all have gut reactions.


And if this looks like a workplace that we’d like to work, then mostly, we’re gonna say positive things. We’re going to view it in that, in that way. But, if we look at this and go, God, I could never fit into an organization like that, then, we’re gonna have a tendency to describe things, perhaps as formal. But, maybe, we mean something negative about that in our own mind.


I made this point, because I think one of the things about mission statements and looking at workplace culture that doesn’t get enough attention, is the process of hiring new people and making sure that they’re a good fit in the organization.


I had an experience where I was working with a team, kind of a mid-sized medical practice, and I did a survey monkey, a survey, before I went into debrief.


The group, that had a lot of questions getting at, you know, how well did people feel like they were in sync with the culture of their workplace? And it was a little bit dicey thing because, in this one instance, I got an awful lot of really negative feedback.


I told them that their responses were going to be just between me and them, I wasn’t going to be sharing them with management.


It got me thinking about the fact that there for managers, we sometimes don’t pay enough attention to the, there’s a kind of a misfit it could be a good employee, but they’re just not in the, the, the organization has the right culture where they’re going to Excel. So, I really encourage managers, and leadership to pay attention to being able to be very clear and specific about what the culture of your organization is, so that you can do a better job in the hiring process. And then, for people who are looking for a new job, it’s the same thing, Ask a lot of, questions about the culture of an organization.


Get to know it pretty well before you make a decision to work there, because it will impact your life day in and day out, as we all know.


So, here’s another picture, um, I think we can all agree that.


This looks like a pretty informal group. Of course, we don’t know, it’s possible that they have meetings like this, and they also have meetings like this.


So, again, we’re looking for patterns that we can make sense of, but we can’t be too rigid in how we apply our ideas about these dimensions of culture and what we see.


Now, time, control is another one that is really on the surface, it’s easy to observe. But it says an awful lot about power distance possibly in the organization, how formal it is, how flexible it is. How much creativity is, is part of the work that people do. So, what are, what are people’s reactions to somebody showing up late for meetings, if it happens once? But what if it’s a constant thing?


Are you working in an organization where this is just kind of an accepted part of day-to-day interaction? Or is it not OK?


And then, finally, I think this is really important right now, is to consider, again, I keep talking about this new normal. But, for some organizations, more than others, we’re going to be neat needing to address how things have changed. And working from home is an awfully big part of that. How does working from home change your workplace culture?


For some, I think that’s one of the biggest challenges of making the transition to having people working from home, or a hybrid of working from home, and still working in the office.


When you’re doing a little bit of both, there needs to be an awful lot of clarity and conversation around that transition, because you can see that it could really lead to a train wreck of, of expectations.


So, this is a really interesting part of, of what’s going on in the workplace right now.


Are there any other questions or thoughts on any of these pictures before I move on?


Looks like we covered everything so far, OK.


So, back to our roadmap.


We have finished steps 1 and 2, and so, the last thing we need to do here, before we wind up and do any Q and A this left to be done, um, is to look at how to mine the gap between mission statements and workplace cultures. If there is a gap.


And I go back to always, this question, which to me rings so true. It’s the old chicken and egg dilemma.


But I think it’s a great starting place if you want to have a conversation with a team. Maybe you have a quality improvement team that’s going to be working on the question around your workplace culture. What is it? Do we understand it? Is it the culture we want? This might be one of the important questions to begin with.


And also, thinking in terms of who crafts the mission statement for the organization, and does it in line up with the actual culture of the workplace? There’s a lot of discussion that can go on around that. And is it being used for recruiting and onboarding, and is it being done effectively? I mean, if if the mission statement just sits somewhere in a brochure or on the online website, and nobody ever looks at, it ensures a waste of time for also, he spent an hour, a thousand hours trying to come up with it, right?


And most important is it valued by employees and actionable in their work-life every day?


And also, in terms of minding the gap, how might you be able to use the intercultural framework to better understand your workplace culture?


I provide this framework as a starting place, knowing that everybody may be able to use it somewhat differently to suit the needs of their specific organization. No two. workplace cultures are exactly the same.


Do you need buy in at multiple levels?


I get this question a lot.


If you’re wanting to assess and improve aspects of your teen culture, the answer absolutely is yes.


People at all levels need to be engaged in this process.


I’ve seen medical practices where all the doctors communicate with one another respectfully, and they work really effectively together.


But the front office staff is stranded on a stressful island that they never visit. So, they don’t know what’s going on for the people that are checking patients in and making appointments and dealing with the day-to-day problems that aren’t strictly clinical problems.


And then finally, here, is there a new Normal Post coven? And is it an opportunity?


And I think the answer around this is going to be different for each one of you, and for some, this is going to be a very personal decision about your career track and your quality of life.


And for others.


This is a workplace and teen question that you’ll need to address together. And the great thing is that you do have an opportunity to kind of co create a new normal going forward. and I think there’s no better time to try to do this than now.


Time is of the essence.


So, I will end here with this quote by Bertrand Russell. and all Affairs’, it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things that we have long taken for granted. And I think this applies really, really well to our mission statements in our workplace cultures.


So that is a wrap on this eye, train medical residents, nurses, and all kinds of folks, to be, not only encouraging, but emphatic about encouraging questions and answers, so that people will really feel comfortable asking any questions that they have. So, please, by all means, if you have a question that you haven’t had a chance, chance to ask me, do so. Now, we do have the time to do some diligence on some good Q and A if you want to.


Yeah, so, as Marcia said, if you have any questions, please type them into the question area, we have some time here to answer those for you.


The first question we have is, if we’re in a very large organization, and our departments feel very different, how can we address our workplace culture when there’s so little uniformity?


OK, well first, I would say. That Enlarge organized. It’s a great question because enlarge organizations, I think this is really typical. I think the first thing to do is to start making sure that the people at the top are on board with conversation around the need to assess how, how, how many disparities there are in the different cultures. Whether one department seems to be functioning really well. And another department is really struggling. And using the culture of those two different departments as a starting point to look at what’s working and what isn’t working.


And taking the idea about sort of using a framework to understand the cultural differences there, might be something that leadership hasn’t thought about before. There are fields where these dimensions of culture are really well-known.


For example, in Foreign Service work or in the Peace Corps, people get trained on this when they are ex-pats going abroad to work in corporations and businesses, in other countries and cultures.


But a lot of domestic workplaces are not as familiar with this, sort of paradigm, these dimensions of culture, and we’d never think that maybe this is a way to use them, So, I would start at the top and see if you can get some conversation going on that.


Right, and then we have another question here with more emphasis on diversity and inclusion, and how do you balance maintaining culture versus growing, and changing it?


OK, so read that to me again, because that’s a great question, but it’s, it’s not an easy one, so I want to make sure I get it right.


Yeah. So, with more emphasis on diversity and inclusion, how do you balance maintaining culture versus growing, and changing your culture?


OK, so what I’m hearing here, and tell me if I’m not right, is that there is perhaps a sense, a status quo, to some degree, that there is a set culture, but there is also, the idea that with all of the changes in the world, around diversity and inclusion, in black lives matters, and so on, that there is a need to change, And how do you balance that change?


And that is a really good question, but it’s also a different, difficult question, because this is so different from, from ever, every organization, the personalities that are involved.


one thing that I would say is, you have to be careful about treating culture as if it’s the same as race, ethnicity, micro biases, and those kinds of things.


Oftentimes, those need to be addressed somewhat separate, separately.


At a very general level, where you’re not telling everybody that they have to be a cog in the wheel and exactly the same, you have to be able to talk about I don’t identifying a general culture.


Where you can, can say, these are some patterns. See, these are norms of behavior and that kind of thing in the ways people communicate and treat one another, the expectations that employees have for leadership. You’re looking for norms there that you can work on from the cultural aspect.


Diversity, inclusion isn’t really separate from that, But I think it needs to be a separate, a separate, and equally important initiative, um, and making sure that people understand, you’re working on both, both of them, but not. It’ll get really confusing if you try to mix them both together.


Because the main reason being, I can tell you that people do not understand the difference between diversity and inclusion and culture, and it just, it’ll, it’ll really make a mess of things.


So, I recommend kind of dealing with them separately, but towards the same, and of creating a better work environment where everybody is respected.




Oh, no. And this next question that we have is, why is the way people communicate so important in understanding their culture?


Because, as I was trying to say, you know, when you ask people, what is culture, that’s very fundamental question, People have a really hard time answering that question and so you’ll get, well as values, beliefs, and attitudes to drive behavior or you’ll get, well, it’s kind of like an iceberg. And the bigger part that you can actually see is above the waterline, but all the things that are really important are underneath waterline.


And the problem with that is that you’re you are treating culture like a thing and you’re not allowing it to be dynamic, you have to have a pretty sophisticated … about culture. We’re not talking about taco night for the Latinos, right, Check. That box that. That’s done, unfortunately. That happens too much in the Workplaces in America. So.


Communication is important because communication is, is where culture surfaces and it’s visible, it’s really in people’s interactions with one another, where you see what their values are and their expectations of one another. And communication has everything to do with whether or not people can co-operate and work together well.


So that that’s why the communication part of it is so important.


It’s kind of the key that unlocks the door.


Great. And then this next question here is, if I want to help improve the workplace culture around me, how do I begin to do that?


Well, the first thing I’d say there is, if you’re in that Rowboat all by yourself, depending on how big your organization is. Well, no, actually, that’s not true. Even if you’re the only three people that work together, you have to have a kind of consensus as a starting place that this is worth doing, because there’s no way that you’re going to tackle this all by yourself.


Um, and so, you can, I would say, if you can get a group, a small team, one team, within a larger organization. For example. To decide that, you know, deciding amongst yourself in a very inclusive way, that this has value, and you want to work on it. And then come up with a game plan to do that.


I can, um, anticipate for you that when you start talking about this, because there is so much confusion around culture, what it is, how it works, how you know it, when you see it.


Now, it’s, it’s sometimes hard to explain why you think this is important, but I think if you begin by sort of taking an informal poll about how people feel about the workplace culture, and what they think it is, and then sit down and compare that, and start a conversation, that’s one place where one in Dividual might be able to begin.


Great. And then the final question of law to conclude, today’s Q&A is, Are there typically archetypes of corporate cultures, especially in the United States?


Hmm, hmm, hmm, hmm, hmm.


Know, that’s an interesting question because then we have to get into defining our terms and when I think of archetypes, I think of Carl Young. Should I get into the psychology and go down? That probably is the wrong path on that.


Could the person who is asking that, give me an example, so that I know what direction they’re heading, what they’re thinking?


Yeah. If you could chat that response to the questions box, and we can elaborate a bit on that.


OK, Christina, just a moment here to see us She has anything to elaborate on.


So, she says, for instance, are there 6 or 8 types that can bind the various dimensions of culture?


Aye. Aye.


Don’t think that you can say, there are types. You could say, there are tendencies in certain industries. The software industry, for example, is very different from corporate banking.


Medical field of medicine is really highly specific. So, I can say that you could look at it at a particular field or industry, and you could make some generalizations about it. But when you get down into actual workplaces, where you’re talking about people working with people every day, a lot of that’s really going to fall apart. You’re gonna find that there are exceptions to every rule.


That’s my thought on that.


Wonderful. Then that does bring us here to the top of the hour. So that will conclude our Q&A for today. Today’s webinar was sponsored by HRDQ-U, Virtual Seminars. Be sure to check out our curriculum of more than 80 virtual instructor led online seminars. You can go to There’s also a handout in your handout section that provide you with some more information on that. And make sure that you join HRDQ-U on your favorite social media site for quick access to all of our latest webinar events and blog posts. You can find us at each HRDQ-U, that will conclude today’s session. Thank you so much for joining us today.


Marcia, happy to be here, enjoyed it.


And thank you all for participating in today’s webinar, happy training.


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