045 – Cracking the Culture Code – Steve Simpson

Author: A Culture Turned - Using UGRs to Boost Performance & Culture

Team Guru Podcast available on iTunes

Team Guru on Facebook

Tapping into the ‘real’ culture of an organisation is the Holy Grail for a leader – and Steve Simpson has cracked the code.

No matter what is written in HR documents, mission statements or value statements – UGRs are what really drives an organisation.

Unwritten Ground Rules.

UGRs are the culture of an organisation – they are people’s perception of how we do things around here.

In this episode of the podcast Steve talks us through the process of identifying UGRs, understanding the impact they are having on your organisation’s culture and bottom line – and then, of course, the process of impacting them a way that is positive and sustainable.

Lessons Learned

Here’s what I took from the episode:

What are UGRs?

UGRs – Unwritten Ground Rules – are the real culture of the organisation. They represent what really happens, how people really act.

‘UGRs are people’s perceptions of this is the way we do things around here’

For example:

Around here when you have a good idea nothing is done about it – so don’t bother

Around here the only time the boss wants to speak to you is when something is wrong

Around here we talk about valuing the customer but really we treat them like an inconvenience

UGRs drive people’s behaviour yet we seldom talk about them directly

Why are they so important?

UGRs – both good or bad – drive people’s behaviour within an organisation. UGRs are the real culture of the organisation

How do we learn about UGRs at work?

When people come into a new work place they are often quiet, not quite them-self. In actual fact, what they are doing is sussing out the place – working out the way things are really done around here – UGRs.

People Learn the URGs of an organisation in three ways:

  1. They watch what gets noticed
  2. They watch what doesn’t get noticed
  3. They watch to see if what managers say matches up with what they do

Creating Healthy UGRs

5 Steps to creating healthy UGRs:

Envision: Clarify the key cultural attributes (KCAs) necessary for the organisation’s future success

Assess: Evaluate the current culture in terms of the KCAs and improvements based on that evaluation

Teach: Familiarise as many people as possible, and especially leaders, with the UGRs concept

Involve: Involve people in creating and prioritising aspirational, positive URGs – linked to KCAs or value statements – by which they would like to characterise the organisation into the future

Embed: Identify and implement strategies to embed the aspirational, positive URGs

A Culture Turned - Steve Simpson


Learn more about UGRs and Steve Simpson

More Team Guru Podcasts

Share this: