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4 ways to build your organization’s culture

BY SJONES83 – MAY 5, 2021

The relevance of culture in an organization cannot be overstated. With intentional frameworks in place, leaders and innovators alike can develop their own unique cultures in which their teams flourish. The question then is “How does an organization construct culture, let alone guarantee a beneficial one?”

In a podcast interview with Dean Newlund of Mission Facilitators International, UTO’s own Chief Culture Officer Christine Whitney Sanchez offers practical guidance for building culture, outlining four mindful methods by which an organization can create and foster a positive workplace. 

Tune in to hear from Christine on The Business of Intuition podcast hosted by Dean Newlund and read below for four methods you can incorporate directly into your organization: 

Method #1 - Nurture the organizational soul
For more information, listen to the podcast starting at 05:40

The “organizational soul” is a multifaceted and abstract concept, yet it dwells with significant influence at the center of all that an organization manifests. “[It’s] things like our higher purpose,” Whitney Sanchez elaborates. “Why are we even an organization? What is it we're here to do? [They are] our values and our tenets for behavior.” In cultivating and protecting the organizational soul, a business, for example, is able to develop a “personality” — like an image or attitude — that allows the company to mold the narrative of what it is known for. In doing so, an organization is able to maintain its Positive Core from within.

Method #2 - Catalyze as a leader: own and foster culture
For more information, listen to the podcast starting at 10:54

Leaders and managers must own the proliferation of culture within their chapter, ensuring they not only maintain but model culture in their own interactions with colleagues. Whitney Sanchez emphasizes the need for leaders to take the reins: "You really can't say ‘[Culture] sits over here, and we do it when we feel like it.’ It has to be a part of our everyday interactions, and all of our thinking and planning." By intentionally modeling their actions with the positive virtues of their culture, leaders set the standard by “walking the walk” with authenticity. 

Method #3 - Bear in mind the principle of “Responsible Innovation”
For more information, listen to the podcast starting at 20:00

“Culture is both ubiquitous and invisible,” says Whitney Sanchez, highlighting the need to bear in mind the unintended consequences of any fresh initiatives. UTO’s Responsible Innovation framework outlines concrete principles for sustaining a focus on ethics, accountability and holistic considerations when attempting to align an organization’s projects with its desired culture. 

Method #4 - Intuition is key: listen in and heed it
For more information, listen to the podcast starting at 14:44

As the qualities of a culture emerge, those within the macrocosm housing it may find themselves tuning into certain feelings or nonverbal inklings — a subtle air or an aura of unvoiced sentiments. Developing a culture of authenticity, in particular, must be an “in-the-moment, intuitive practice,” says Whitney Sanchez. To build a culture means including the observations of the heart, not just the head, and acknowledging gut feelings that offer valuable insights. 

Hoping to participate in culture work at UTO but not sure where to start? Visit our 7 Ways to Get Involved article, where you can browse current and prospective initiatives from a variety of teamlets.  

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