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Develop plan


   Culture Building Canvas

A framework based on “influence channels” that shape and define an organization’s culture. Helps teams develop an actionable, specific culture change plan for their organization.

Session Length: 60+ minutes Group Size: 4+ people Prep Time: 30+ minutes


Use the Culture Building Canvas when trying to establish and foster a new set of shared cultural attributes.


An organization’s culture refers to a shared set of beliefs and behaviors, and is represented in its tools, symbols, and stories. Culture matters because it shapes how organizational members see the world, make decisions, and solve problems. Building an effective organizational culture involves making specific choices about beliefs and behaviors that help improve the organization’s performance. This tool is designed to help build and foster healthy cultures in a respectful, inclusive, transparent manner. It also helps reduces the time needed to introduce such changes, by identifying the initial steps which can be taken right away.


STEP 1: Assemble a small culture team. Give each participant a copy of the Culture Building Canvas to use (ideally on 11×17 paper).

STEP 2: Describe the shared beliefs and behaviors that would be found in this culture, filling in the boxes on the left side of the canvas.

STEP 3: Write some adjectives in the “What does the Desired Culture look like?” section, such as creative, compliant, collaborative, speed-oriented, risk-averse, thrifty, creative, etc.

STEP 4: List people, organizations, or groups that already exhibit the desired culture in the “Where does the Desired Culture already exist?” section.

STEP 5: Fill out the four quadrants with specific answers to the italicized prompts. Include existing items that support the desired culture, as well as new items that need to be developed. Write action sentences, such as “Ms. X meets with Group Y and says Z,” or “Increase offerings of Course ABC by X%.”

STEP 6: Identify any contradictory messages coming through these channels. Recognize that enthusiasm in one channel can be contradicted by silence in another.

STEP 7: Circle the concrete actions in each quadrant that contribute to conveying a consistent, coherent message through all four quadrants.

Culture Building Canvas |Worksheet

Download this tool to print out and start using with your team. Each download includes a tool description and if applicable, a template and example.