How to develop a better team with the Culture Compass

Leaders are worried about their team culture. Disengagement is starting to creep in as the pandemic wears on. Now is the perfect time to reset and refresh what matters most to you and your team, regardless of where you are working from. It’s a great opportunity to reinvigorate - and insulate - your team from culture decay.

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Do you have a set of principles that help you and your team stay on track when it comes to not only the work you do, but more importantly, how you interact?

Creating a Culture Compass with your team is a practical way to review what matters most, so you can stay on track and navigate difficult circumstances together.

Here’s the compass:

The most powerful aspect of this compass is the South point: Qualities. These form the rules of engagement. 

This is how I ran the exercise with a team last week:

List your Dos and Don’ts:  On your own, write three ways people can work best with you, and three things NOT to do if they want to get the most out of you (and not annoy or upset you).

The team members then shared their Dos and Don’ts, clarifying points as we went along. They got to know each other very intimately as a result.

One team member shared that they felt awkward during this exercise. They realised they had been unwittingly upsetting others. They felt disappointed in themself as a result.

When we become aware of our impact, it can be challenging at first. Not many of us deliberately set out to trample on other people’s feelings! We don’t live inside each other’s minds, so it’s up to us to share how we experience each other – good and bad. If we stay open and curious, this is a very powerful exercise for developing empathy and understanding.

The next step is to hold ourselves to account. In the next team meeting, ask each team member to self-assess against the shared agreements. How did they go in honouring working better with others?

The self-assessment process encourages us to look honestly about our behaviour and intentions. It also sets the expectation that we will talk about the tough stuff, in a safe and caring environment.

By doing this work, we make the workplace a little more compassionate and understanding. It’s definitely work worth doing.


Related Articles:

How to make wise decisions with this critical question

How to kickstart a great culture

Structure creates freedom


P.S. And when you’re ready, here are three ways I can help:

1. Grab a free copy of our People Stuff Toolkit

It’s the roadmap to better teams and culture and includes an e-copy of my latest book, Loyalty, as well as checklists and templates.

2. Get equipped at our next event

Meet other adventurous leaders seeking to be, think, and do more. Leadership training and tribe meetings are listedhere.

3. Join me and other renegade pathfinders in AMPLIFIERS to get your deep work done.

AMPLIFIERS is an implementation community for big thinkers. If you’d like to amplify your message, motivation and results, send me an email with AMPLIFIERS in the subject line and let me know a little about your work and what big impact you’re striving for.


About the author, Zoë Routh:

Zoë Routh is one of Australia’s leading experts on people stuff – the stuff that gets in our way of producing results, and the stuff that lights us up. She works with the growers, makers, builders to make people stuff practical and fun.

Zoë is the author of four books: Composure – How centered leaders make the biggest impact,  Moments – Leadership when it matters most, Loyalty – Stop unwanted stuff turnover, boost engagement, and build lifelong advocates, and People Stuff – Beyond Personality Problems: An advanced handbook for leadership.

Zoë is also the producer of The Zoë Routh Leadership Podcast.

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