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Hybrid working: skills for leadership
Hybrid working: skills for leadership

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1.7 (Re)designing and developing your hybrid culture

Changing your organisational culture might seem overwhelming, but even small actions can move it forwards. Focus on the five key areas identified by Stanier et al. (2022) that were introduced in the previous section and try to take steps to answer the questions listed. 

James Clear once wrote about the theory of ‘aggregation of marginal gains’, whereby we convince ourselves that ‘massive success requires massive action’. However, the difference a ‘tiny improvement can make over time is astounding’.

If you can make your employees’ working lives one per cent better each day for a year, after 12 months you will have improved their situation by 37 per cent, as Clear’s illustration below shows.  

Figure is headed The Power of Tiny Gains. Below that are two statements with calculations beside them: 1% better every day 1.01 to the power of 365 = 37.78, highlighted in green; 1% worse every day 0.99 to the power of 365 = 0.03, highlighted in red. Below that is a graph with Improvement or Decline on the vertical axis and 1 Year marked at the right-hand side of the horizontal axis. Partway up the vertical axis, 1 is marked, with a dotted line marked horizontally. One arrow curves quite steeply upwards from the 1 to the top right of the chart; another arrow curves down just below the dotted line to the bottom right of the chart.
Figure 3 The power of tiny gains.

You may not be able to make big improvements instantly, but the most significant things in life are not stand-alone events but the sum of all the moments we experience and the changes we choose to make.  

To understand how to develop your organisational culture, you need to take a snapshot of what it currently looks like. The next activity will help with this. 

Activity 4 The Culture Design Canvas

Fearless Culture, a workplace culture consulting firm, have developed a mapping tool called the Culture Design Canvas to help businesses: 

  • assess their current organisational culture 
  • design their desired future culture, and 
  • evolve their culture to keep it current and relevant, and explore future possibilities for the organisation. 

Take some time to explore the Culture Design Canvas [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] page. Pay particular attention to the following: 

  • The different sections of the Culture Design Template: does anything there surprise you?  
  • The examples provided from other organisations: to what extent do they reflect your experience of university organisational culture? 

As a leader, do you think the Culture Design Canvas would be a useful tool for mapping the culture at your organisation?

If so, how would you use it? Would you do it online using a digital tool such as MURAL, or would you gather your team into the same physical space and use analogue tools such as a whiteboard or pens and paper? 

Use the space below to note your thoughts, if you wish.

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