The cultureQs Story

I’m frequently asked how I got the idea for cultureQs.
And like so many apparently simple Questions in life, the answer is fairly complex.

The brief answer that only tells part of the story …
The idea for the cultureQs format arose from a client challenge, expressing a clear need.

In 2002, a friendly acquisition created the world’s largest manufacturer of a system component required in all trains. The new senior management team consisted of British, German, Belgian, Swiss-German and Swiss-French members, responsible for engineering and manufacturing facilities in Britain, Germany, France, Poland and Switzerland with corporate headquarters in French-speaking Canada. Cultural Integration was essential and I was requested to facilitate the process.
We began the first strategy workshop by diving into an intensive connection session, after which one Senior Vice-President said, “That was really good. I’ve now got a much better idea of who we all are, but we still have a long way to go before we can build the meaningful relationships enabling us to really work together effectively. And at the same time, I know we don’t really have enough time as we need to focus on our strategic challenges.” All his colleagues nodded in agreement, and so did I. At that moment, I had no solution.

The topic continuously arose during breaks over the next couple of days. And after dinner on the final evening of the workshop the Question for the challenge emerged:

• “How can we accelerate the process of forming deep meaningful connections to enable us to focus on our real work immediately?”

I liked the Question and decided to take up the challenge. The only format I could think of that would include all the relevant Questions was a game-like structure, which crystallized as I began to play with ideas during a short holiday in Northern France.

Testing and improvements continued with varying degrees of intensity during the next 11 years, with thousands of participants from all over the world kindly offering criticism and suggestions. Towards the end of 2013, cultureQs was ready.

This is, of course, only part of the story.
I’ve spent a lifetime challenging the attributions attached to categorisation of people: categorising others is a trap. It’s also disrespectful, and frequently discriminatory – though not always consciously so.
Most of my professional life has been spent working with International Management and Project Teams around the world, facilitating focus, alignment, integration and true collaboration around the business. Common assignments included: M&A, Reorganisation, Joint-Ventures, Strategic Change, Process Improvement, New Projects, Innovation, as well as Conflict Resolution in cases where the people had lost focus and the Business was in serious danger of failure.
It was during the late 1990s that I discovered David Bohm’s work on Dialogue, that I began to feed into my work. I learned that it provided space for people to express their true selves, enabling them to engage with their work and others as they truly wished to. In addition, insights, which permitted acceptance of difference and thereby new ideas, emerged from the space. The business benefitted.
This was the real beginning of the cultureQs concept.

cultureQs: Questions on culture.
For background on the eco-system perspective of culture that underlies cultureQs, please refer to Seven Core Layers of Culture.