Does your group’s culture live up to its ideals?


Enron had a published ‘Statement of Culture’. The problem was that they did not live it and employees did not experience it. Values and priorities show up in how you spend your time and what actions you take. Leaders can do three things. Two are good and one is bad. They can 1) state their desired values and priorities and then live into the statements, or 2) they can document the values and priorities that they are living. Both of these approaches result in high CONGRUENCE between what is stated and what is experienced.

The bad happens when leaders state values and priorities and act in ways that are in conflict with what is stated. This is a BREACH of INTEGRITY. Morale, CULTURE, and ultimately performance will suffer.


Ask everyone to draw two circles, one labeled “stated’ and the other “experienced.” Have them overlap the circles to the degree they feel the stated CULTURE is in fact the CULTURE they are experiencing. Pay close attention to the overlap each person depicts, and have them support their diagram with stories. This discussion creates an opportunity to push these two circles together through new insights and FEEDBACK AS CARING.


A gap between stated CULTURE and experienced CULTURE is dangerous for any business. This gap strikes at the heart of INTEGRITY, which is essential for any high performance group. CONGRUENCE is a means to keep CULTURE consistent and promotes each member to take ownership of the group’s outcomes.