How to Influence Organisational Identity


I have previously written about what comprises your organisational identity and why it’s essential that you focus your leadership attention upon it.

Your organisational identity, or who you are as an organisation, comprises:
1. Your organisational vision or purpose; and
2. Your shared values. What your organisation stands for.

The shared values that have stood the test of time, in turn, shape a dense fabric-like pattern of deeply held assumptions about how your organisation should operate. These assumptions form the most fundamental layer of organisational culture.

The question arises, if identity is so important, how can you influence it? Rolling out a set of values in a top-down manner has proven ineffective, and most organisations are now employing a more consultative process. We have developed an almost ‘democratic’ process that enables everyone to be involved. And, more importantly, to keep the embedded values of that vision alive and influencing the way people work in their teams over the longer term.

The Envisioning Your Desired Culture process is founded upon an understanding of living systems, and you can read the peer-reviewed article laying out the reasoning for our process here. In practice, however, the process is light, enjoyable, and quick. And you don’t need to appreciate the theory to gain the benefit of the activity.

The Envisioning Your Desired Culture process enables teams and entire organisations to describe what experience they want for both themselves and their customers. The process works from each person’s story, to develop a whole collective story. We have worked with groups of up to 200 employees at a time, in this manner. The deliverable output is an articulated shared story or vision of the culture the team desires along with a prioritisation of the values or core messages in that story which the collective believes is most important. An additional outcome is the level of emotional attachment to the core messages or values that inspire behaviour change. We extend the Envisioning process within teams so that the inspiration becomes a reality through a series of experiments to learn how to bring the vision into being. (The Envisioning Your Desired Culture process is a container for adaptive work as described by Ron Heifetz, the creator of the adaptive leadership framework.)

Curious about what your Envisioning experience could look like? Let’s have a chat to flesh it out. Coffee is on me! Contact me here.