Thought leaders in the field of B2B relationships

Shaping Cultural Understanding and Change

Members of the SHAPE team have many years of experience helping clients in understanding their cultures and shaping cultural change across a wide range of sectors. Our style is to provide support through designing and facilitating highly interactive events. We offer engaging and proven processes that help people to surface their knowledge of their culture, operating from the assumption that “the fish is the last to know about the sea”.

Our approach, based on story-telling, helps people to remind themselves of what they already know subconsciously. We assist them to find expressive ways of summarising what they have learned, and set up natural, conversational methods to help people explore the significance of what they have discovered together.

We have developed these methods, based on sharing cultural stories, over many years and used them successfully in many different companies Please note that we do not use instruments for measuring culture. These all have embedded within them the cultural values and assumptions of their designers and encourage a dependency on the views of “experts” outside of the culture. Our major concern is to help members of a culture arrive at their own understanding of their culture using their own words and images.

In our experience several elements are essential for a sound process:

  • Ensuring that there is a shared understanding of what culture means. This is a much used but often difficult to understand concept.

  • Using methods that we have developed over many years to draw out peoples’ understanding and experience of both the ‘official’ and the ‘living’ cultures and what it is like to be part of them.

  • Designing and facilitating a process that allows both parties to inquire into each others’ cultures – a kind of mutual appreciation that allows for the identification of similarities and differences.

  • Supporting them in finding ways to bring this information to life in engaging, stimulating and illuminating ways.

  • Exploring the implications of the discoveries and insights.

  • In light of the insights into the cultures helping both parties begin their thinking about how to set about shaping the new culture – identifying the first, practical steps into the new culture and agreement around the guiding principles for its’ continuing development?

  • Providing ongoing support to those with strategic responsibility for implementing the new culture.

Experience, independence and credibility