How To DEFINE Your Organizations Culture

I'm Russell Stratton, President and Leadership Champion with Bluegem Learning. I work with organizations just like yours to help develop great managers who can build engagement and improve individual and team performance.

In my last video I stressed the importance of taking time to identify and plan out your organizational culture.

This week I would like to introduce ONE KEY STEP that you can take right now to begin putting your culture on the right path...


It's imparitive that your organization has absolute clarity about your purpose or "why you do what you do.

Many coaches and consultants discuss the importance of purpose, and often we even have mission and vision statements up on our wall - but the communication and driving home of this purpose into our organizations cultural make-up takes ongoing conversation and intention.

Let me give you an example from a client of mine who runs a construction company that builds homes. If you ask anyone in that company what your purpose is in coming to work, they'll generally all give you the same answer regardless of their actual job.

Everyone in the organization has the same "job" regardless of the work they do each day.

Whether they frame the houses, work in sales or in the front office, or if they drive a truck, in their minds they all have the same purpose, and they'll give you the same answer.

We build homes for families.

They're not saying we want to be the best house builder. We want to be number one in the industry. Those would me nice to have's and can be attained as accolades along the way as long as focus never wavers from their core intention.

They've distilled it down to, we build homes for families and the organization has stressed this as the underlying "why" behind everyone's position.


The outcome of a purpose driven organization is that employees can be drawn into a level of emotional engagement that is greater than could ever be achieved if they only focus was maintained on the day to day work that they do.

Think about yourself for a moment. Are you a member of a family? Do you have children of your own? Do you have a partner? Do you have parents or siblings? Would you want your family to live in a substandard home?

So if your goal was to build homes for families, you would never build a substandard home for your client as you would never want that for your family.

Purpose now pervades every single task that they undertake. They measure twice and cut once they take a little extra time on their detail of the various aspects of every project. They're now a critical cog in a much larger and meaningful picture.

For this reason, sometimes their homes take slightly longer to build. They may even cost slightly more than their competitors, but their customers are delighted with the product they get because there are less snagging problems, there are less callbacks, and guess what? They tell their friends and families, "Hey, this is the company that you want to build your home."

By focusing minds on a purpose that is bigger than just the nuts and bolts of what our daily routine motivates and elevates us to higher levels of engagement.

This premise can extend to many industries beyond home builders.

Imagine a fast paced restaurant or cafe, or perhaps a fast-food restaurant like McDonald's where staff are only paid minimum wage

Rather than adopting the role of a burger flipper or a chicken nugget salter. Perhaps these employees can adopt the attitude that "I'm serving busy families with a fast affordable meal."

How many people are relying on those $5 meal deal vouchers to take their family out and feed them that evening in tough economic times?

A simple re-framing and understanding of the big purpose and suddenly somebody who's working in the line flipping burgers isn't just flipping burgers - they're making a difference in people's lives.

How could you engender a higher purpose in your employees so that they can see the big picture and how their work makes a difference towards accomplishing a larger goal?

At Bluegem we use programs to

  • get staff and managers more engaged,

  • Define and achieve a highly motivated culture

  • Create a more robust culture that improves quality for vendors and customers.

Our upcoming lunch and learn November 26 at the Calgary Central Library...

Organizational Culture Eats Strategy for Lunch

Here we'll be sharing more about DEFINING PURPOSE plus cover and the next five points in our Six-Point Culture Leverage Plan.

To learn more, follow the link below:

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"Bluegem Learning & Development and Corporate Culture Shift have presented two very effective and interactive workshops with our organization. Their comedic and engaging presentation style in the ‘Managing the Unmanageable’ workshop has left a lasting impression on our staff. I highly recommend this workshop if you are looking for a valuable, cost effective customer service training option."

- Jeff Gerestein, City of Brooks

"Russell produced a highly engaging HR programme that reflected our organisational issues. He is without doubt an outstanding training deliverer, challenging managers to address what can be difficult HR issues. I highly recommend Russell, and would always seek to engage Russell on future learning development opportunities."

- Sharon Gartland, DSG Consultancy Services

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Russell Stratton

Leadership Champion

RUSSELL STRATTON is an international Leadership Expert, Professionally Certified Trainer and Coach, with a Masters Degree in Human Resource Management. He is co-author of the book 'I Need to F@#king Talk To You - The Art Of Navigating Difficult Workplace Conversations'.


He is a Master Facilitator for Bluegem Learning's ground breaking "Leadership Success" workshop series - providing a practical toolkit for building engagement and improving individual and team performance. Using live actors in a stop/start forum theatre approach and a combination of dynamic experiential learning techniques, participants come away with a greater ability to actually perform better as employees and leaders in your organization.


He is an accomplished management education, learning & development professional with a proven track record of working with clients in the public, voluntary and private sectors to achieve lasting, measurable step changes in business performance.


Russell works internationally with a wide range of organizational cultures and with all levels from front line customer facing staff to executive management boards. Having worked as both a Personnel Manager and Operational Manager he works at both strategic and tactical levels.

#300, 160 Quarry Park Blvd.  Calgary,

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