Conversations, Culture Change and Trust

A short time ago, Ana Neves, a knowledge management specialist in Portungal, asked me some challenging Questions on Conversations, Culture Change and Trust.

On your website, you say “Every conversation shapes culture”. But culture also shapes the conversation. Do you have any suggestions on how organisations can be better at hearing the internal conversations and using that information to understand the organisational culture?

This is complex. Culture is dynamic and evolves continuously. The culture in a society (an organisation is a society) as it exists at any one moment certainly influences the conversation without necessarily shaping it. The participants in the conversation are shaping it continuously, and thereby shaping the culture as they tread the path.

To talk about “organisations hearing the internal conversations” is somewhat too abstract for me. It’s the people in the system that interact, within their sub-systems and in-between them. We learn to hear by experiencing this “space in-between”. I call it a dialogue space that ideally evolves into a trust space. Creating this space is continuous work. When people in the system are consciously in dialogue, they have the capacity to consciously shape their organisation culture, and this is how they learn to understand it.

Here is the complete interview:

And for those who prefer to read it in Portuguese:
You can contact Ana Neves here: