Learn how to decode and leverage organizational culture to amplify the impact of your work.
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To deliver real value with our teams, stakeholders and clients, we need to go beyond tactics like establishing clear goals, accountability, and ROI. We need to understand the cultural dynamics that can catalyze or sabotage a project. In this course you’ll learn how to decode and leverage organizational culture to amplify the positive, long-lasting impacts of your work and drive strategic change.
You’ll start the course with a solid grounding in organizational culture that goes far deeper than the oversimplified models often advanced in business and management consulting. Using theories from anthropology, sociology and psychology, you will learn to approach team and client relationships as an ethnographic space, detect the subtle performances and games at play, pin-point conflict points and map their specific influence on your work. You’ll examine the formal and informal human interactions that occur in work culture, such as meetings and workshops.
The course is structured around the SLAM model and toolkit for decoding organizational culture. Throughout the five live sessions, Dr Curran will guide your small cohort through learn-share-practice sequences, offering close coaching that ensures you develop techniques and strategies that are directly applicable to your own work environment. The course also includes recorded video lectures, read/watch/listen resources, and exercises you will complete independently, and a 30-minute individual session with Dr Curran to establish your needs and goals.
In this course you will:
- Learn the primary models of team dynamics and relationships
- Learn key theories from anthropology, sociology and social psychology to understand how culture frames behaviour in organisations
- Practice mapping organizational cultural dynamics using the Cultural Empathy Map and Transactional Analysis (TA)
- Define the key ways cultural performances impact projects and team dynamics
- Map and work through challenges you experience in in your relationships in teams or when working with your client’s teams
- Practice using Dr Curran’s SLAM model for decoding culture and its associated techniques that will help you decode the tensions and barriers within the teams/organizations you work in or consultant for.
- Explore how culture influences the change process.
- Use the theory of liminality to develop techniques for workshops and meetings that address challenges you face in order to drive change.
Who should take this course?
This course is appropriate whether you work for a small, medium, or large organisation or agency, or work independently; and for practitioners across insights, design, product, strategy, or other services.
The learn-share-practice model of instructions draws directly on your own work, so you should have some experience under your belt. The course is not intended for entry-level practitioners; it assumes participants are in a position to manage projects, teams, departments, stakeholders, or clients.
No specific disciplinary background or expertise is necessary. Participants across the social sciences, design, business/management, and other disciplines have all benefited immensely from this course.
"I enjoyed this course very much! Each week John tackled different elements of the S.L.A.M. model. He walked through how to include cultural empathy maps, transactional analysis, and liminality within projects and client relations. Well-structured lectures, pre-session assignments, and group discussions provided a wonderful learning environment. I finished the course with many new skills to put into practice at my company and deeper connections with members of the EPIC community."
—Amanda Andres, Bayer Crop Science
Required coursework includes live, online sessions and independent work to be completed between sessions on your own time. Assignments are designed to be flexible and feasible for working professionals, but the course does require your active engagement and commitment to all components:
- 30 min one-to-one session with Dr John Curran to establish your goals and interests
- Five 2-hour live sessions, with discussion/integration, exercises, and coaching
- Four pre-recorded lectures, approx 30 min each
- Independent work prior to each live session, completed on your own time:
- Read/watch/listen assignment, approx 20 min each (choose among instructor recommendations...or take in all of them!).
- Hands-on exercise, 30–90 min each
After a one-to-one kickoff meeting with the instructor, participants will complete independent assignments and participate in live, online sessions:
- Thursdays: February 25, March 4 & 18, April 1 & 8 (but check your time zone!)
- You will register for ONE of two cohorts: 8–10:00 am OR 4–6:00 pm London time.
Session 1, February 25: Key Challenges & Dynamics
In this first session you'll get an introduction to course themes and begin to define and map key challenges in your professional work, focusing primarily on organisational, team or client dynamics. We will scope the potential root causes of these challenges, which you'll work with throughout the course as you learn and apply new concepts and techniques.
Session 2, March 4: The Foundations of Organisational Culture
This session will explore the pivotal role of culture in defining professional relationships. Along with an overview of what organisational culture is, we will drill down into some of its key elements, such as ritual, performance, symbolism and conflict. You will get the chance to map the ways these elements influence your work with teams, stakeholders, and clients in a project setting and how to navigate them.
Session 3, March 18: Using Transactional Analysis & Reflective Spaces
This session builds on the core elements of organizational culture to understand the different types of personas that we encounter in our working relationships. We will cover helpful models based on transactional analysis in order to decode the performances and behaviours at play. We will also explore reflective spaces and their importance for planning and project development.
Session 4, April 1: Using Liminality to Create Impact
This session will focus on using anthropological thinking around liminality to develop and design project meetings and workshops that gets everyone on board. These techniques put the themes, models, and theories we've learned so far into practice. You'll learn strategies for pre-planning workshops and meetings to identify and address tensions and conflicts.
Session 5, April 8: Building Trust and Bringing It All Together
In this session you will learn techniques for challenging others in a safe and productive way in order to generate trust and build strong relationships. We will bring concepts, models, and techniques covered in the course together in a holistic approach to client work. You will also establish concrete strategies for implementing the learnings from this course into their specific work environments.
John Curran specializes in making organizations highly productive and people-centric in order to achieve growth. He combines his expertise in anthropology, executive coaching, facilitation and service design to work with CEOs, senior leaders and their teams to develop dynamic and collaborative organizational cultures that connect their values with those of their customers. John holds a PhD in Social Anthropology and has formal training in executive coaching (EMCC EQA), facilitation, organizational consultancy, qualitative market research, and group psychoanalysis. He is a guest lecturer at Cass Business School in marketing, a Visiting Scholar at the Royal College of Art in design anthropology, a fellow at the Royal Society of Arts (RSA), and a TEDx speaker.
- Watch John's EPIC Talk, Decoding Organizational Culture
- Read John's EPIC paper, Big Data or ‘Big Ethnographic Data’? Positioning Big Data within the Ethnographic Space
- Watch John's TEDx Talk, How Culture Is Messy and Why That's Good
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What are your cancellation and transfer policies?
If you need to cancel more than 14 days before the start of the course you’ll be refunded 50% of the registration fee. No refunds will be made within 14 days of the start of the course. You may transfer your registration to someone else; the recipient must be an EPIC Member prior to transfer. To request a transfer contact email@example.com
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The badge you’ll receive when you complete an EPIC Course is a verifiable record of the skills and expertise you’ve gained. Our badges are based on the Open Badges accreditation system: “Each Open Badge is associated with an image and information about the badge, its recipient, the issuer, and any supporting evidence. All this information may be packaged within a badge image file that can be displayed via online CVs and social networks.”
Can teams enroll together?
Yes, EPIC courses are an excellent experience for teams. If there isn't sufficient space left in a session for your whole team, or if you’re interested in a customized course or training, contact us.
If we didn’t answer your question, please get in touch.