Culturescan Process

Our approach to the process

We keep it simple. Users and participants find it easy and fun to understand and to implement.

We ensure each participant feels valued for their input.

The process is based on an age-old formula:

  • Attentive Listening.
  • Intelligent Feedback.
  • Powerful Conversations that trigger and guide change.
  • Allowing those who best know the business details (the employee participants) to take ownership of Implementation (We did it ourselves!)

A psychologically safe space is cultivated and kept throughout (Whatever emerges, there are no negative comebacks on any participant)

We are living in unprecedented times of change – societal, economic, technological, political. And relationships are under pressure.

In an age where digital monologues, selfies and superficial chats are the norm, the power of conversation is waning. Disconnected in our connected world, text, email and social media exchanges are hardly interactive, let alone conversational.

TV, live-streamed and public-event ‘conversations’, from political debates to discussion groups, tend to be immature, combative and divisive because there is something to ‘win’, the audience are passive listeners, and there is an ‘entertainment value’ to be optimised.

Quantum Physicist and philosopher David Bohm (On Dialogue) points out “… Communication is breaking down everywhere, on an unparalleled scale … Different groups … are not actually able to listen to each other … the consequent sense of frustration inclines people ever further toward aggression and violence, rather than toward mutual understanding and trust”.

More than ever conversations that bridge differences and lead to cooperation are sorely needed – not least in our workplaces.

Hence the Culturescan process.

Key Elements of the process

The agile, effective process:

An Online Assessment. Select the appropriate assessment/s for your situation (Ask the right probing, focused questions, including open-ended questions)

(Immersion. Going deeper. An optional element that may be excluded or shifted, for example to the implementation phase). Participants are immersed in new knowledge from an extensive library of paper, exercises, video clips)

Story Circles. Conversations held and stories shared in anecdote circles are informed by the assessment report-back. Precision-crafted questions are used by specialist facilitators to guide the circle explorations and dialogue. Feelings are added to information. Right brain knowledge is integrated with left brain understanding. Apart from facilitating creative solutions, the circle dynamics foster individual growth and nudges organisational culture in the right direction.

Innovation. As people step into their roles with confidence, ongoing conversations unlock insights, creative solutions and implementation streamlining. They produce answers to the questions that have been raised.

The Process Flow in outline:

The culturescan business process fleshed out:

1.Select the appropriate assessment for your situation or challenge (we’re ready to help you do this!)

Our assessments are designed to run on all major browsers on PCs and smartphones.

Choose from 30+ Smartphone enabled assessments. Affordable. Engaging. Fast. Easy.

Assessment reporting is updated real-time as responses arrive and are available to clients at any time.

In addition to the real-time reports, we also provide an optional analysis using data-mining methods to provide further insight.

Once the assessment is completed, you can download the entire response set in Excel XLS, CSV, R and SPSS formats for your own analysis

2.Prior to commencement we ensure that leadership understand the process to be a change intervention, that respondents are ensured of anonymity and receive the computer-generated feedback at the same time as management and leadership do

3.You provide us with the email addresses, the first names of each participant, and the time you will allow for responses to be submitted. Organisations may elect appoint an internal focal point to be responsible for the exercise. Our system handles invitations and responses, and we keep track and ‘chase’ outstanding responses as necessary.

4.When the assessment is completed, we provide a full report including graphics. We offer recommendations on how you can best effect desired changes using the responses. (This is not the final report in cases where anecdote/story circle work follows)

5.We assist you setup the appropriate Circle conversations (offline or online) – selecting participants, administrating, crafting questions to trigger explorations, conducting and analysing. We facilitate directly or train your internal facilitators.

6.The conversation circles are conducted. They might consist of up to 10 participants and last for 90 minutes each.

(Participants may be exposed to statements that sometimes embed new words, metaphors and thinking to promote the seeing of complex situations and systems from new perspectives. Beyond the edges of what they may have previously explored).

Relationships are strengthened during these events.

7. Implementation can now commence. One format is to continue with the now fully functioning circles, using them as small-group ‘laboratories’ to innovate and recommend changes needed.

It sometimes happens that individual and team coaching and counselling results from the prior steps in the process, and this activity accompanies implementation. In addition the library of immersion material may be accessed.

Most clients report being startled by how quickly ways forward are found and how firmly participants bond and form strong teams.

Some Explanations of/ Psychology of the process (Why it works)

Respect for and trust in leadership results from their vote of confidence in and entrusting staff with the responsibility of being fully involved in and driving the change

Simple-to-absorb graphic reporting of assessments allow easy grasping of content, and thus simplifying understanding, a sense of shared head-space and heart-space

Question crafting stimulates growth of perspectives. Eugène Ionesco has pointed out that It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question”. Our survey questions are designed to expose respondents to statements that often embed new words, metaphors and ideas that help them to make more sense of the topic being addressed, and awaken them to the possibilities inherent in the process. This is in some ways a subtle knowledge transfer that prepares them for the next steps)

Psychological safety spurs engagement. Anecdote/ story circle technology is a psychologically safe and positive container for sharing stories, perspectives and feelings; listening, surfacing valuable information and insights, and going beyond the ‘edges’ of what participants would previously have explored. Participants become present to each other. A collective wisdom begins to develop. Diversity is harnessed. Bonding and teaming occurs. Unconscious biases are uncovered. Change and healing begins to happen: in viewpoints, attitudes, connections, motivation.

When people feel included and realise that their voice is being heard, then engagement and motivation follow. Thus the anecdote/ story ingredient in the recipe quietly begins to shape culture, and stimulate growth in emotional and social intelligence. Qualitative data is being combined with quantitative data; Information and knowledge transfer is accompanied by the recognition of shared values (empathy, respect, cooperation. The sacred Native American Talking Circle focused on harmony and balance). Insights are experienced, captured, democratized and mobilised.

Story/ anecdotes have power. Eminent educational and cognitive psychologist Jerome Bruner believed that “the richest learning comes from narrative …. It deals in human or human-like intention and action and the vicissitudes and consequences that mark their course”. Story is an Ubuntu way. Wisdom teachers such as Buddha, Rumi, Jesus made extensive use of story/ anecdote/ images/ metaphor to coax change.

Rules of engagement in circles favour broader thinking and acceptance. Behavioural science is demonstrating the power of mindfulness, attentive listening, using the power of ‘AND’ rather than ‘EITHER/ OR’ to dissipate resistance, bring people to a shared perspective, and guide decisions, applying new ways of nurturing change, and entering an emerging future together in an atmosphere of trust and cooperation. The circle conversations rest on these principles. It is a means of nudging people into making the cultural changes that count).

Circle culture avoids politics and a ‘meetings mindset’. Business in the West has a somewhat inhibiting obsession with overly formal, and structured approaches to information-sharing, sense-making, problem-solving, decision-making, developing actions, mobilising participants – often attempted during meetings.

During such gatherings, neuroscience informs us, our capacity to think creatively and relate effectively are often dampened when stress hormones are released in response to criticism, threat, judgment and undermining (real and perceived).  Conversely, in psychologically safe environments, the release of relaxation hormones fosters and boosts bonding, critical thinking and creativity.   Caringly facilitated anecdote/story circles tap into this relaxation-power. (They align with the appreciative inquiry model which is down-to-earth in terms of what works, is fuelled by relationships, uses the process of discovering strengths that may be applied to opportunities, and is based on collective agreement, shared aspiration, and the reaching of desired future results – all shaped by story).

Recently, Doodle undertook “the most comprehensive report on meetings ever conducted” in Europe and the USA, highlighting the high incidence and staggering cost of unnecessary and poorly organised and run meetings – in terms of direct ‘man’ hours lost, the impact on other work scheduling, stress, lost time due to lack of clarity and focus, lowered morale, and harmed relationships.

(The State of Meetings 2019 Doodle Blog 0
Their research supports Milton Boyle’s observation that meetings are where minutes are taken and hours are wasted.

Subtle culture shift. Specific norms, values, behaviours and rituals employed during circle work facilitate positive culture change – a new way of being, relating and working together, assuming responsibility, aligning with the organisation ‘creeps in’, and lasting change ensues

Behavioural science is positively activated. The power of mindfulness, attentive listening, using ‘AND’ rather than ‘EITHER/ OR’ to dissipate resistance, brings people to a shared perspective, guides decisions, allows new ways of nurturing change, and entering into an emerging future together in a safe place and an atmosphere of trust and cooperation. The process rests on these principles.

It is a means of nudging people into making the cultural changes that count. The process is also compatible with David Rock’s principles of fairness, safety, equal-status, autonomy and certainty. And it draws on ancient wisdom – for example the sacred Native American Talking Circle focused on harmony and balance. Beneath the surface of these conversations good things happen with relationships. Participants learn things about themselves and their colleagues, begin to dream of a shared future and new possibilities, and become ready to work on that together. The process is about both being and doing).

(In conversation circles where consciousness is raised, sometimes a deep – to – deep interpersonal connection and recognition of another’s presence occurs. The Sufi spiritual practice of story sharing in a sacred circle where there is absolute trust, respect, transparency and a meeting of the minds and hearts, is called Sohbet – which may be translated literally as “conversation”)

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