How to Draw a Culture

I live in Calgary (see the map!), a city in the province of Alberta, Canada. 

research team asked locals to “draw an Albertan.” What does a typical Alberta resident look like? Would it reflect our growing tech sector? Our obsession with winter sports? 

Drumroll please!

Almost half drew farmers and cowboys. Nearly unanimously male. White. Sheesh. 

Unsurprising though. Our city is internationally recognized as the home of the Calgary Stampede, an annual event that features Chuckwagon Races, cattle-wrangling, and country music. We celebrate all things cowboy and farming. We love steak.

But, is that who we are? Of course not. We are very diverse.

Every organization needs to think about its brand. Your culture is your internal brand. If it’s important to manage the perception of your brand with customers, shouldn’t it be even more important to consider how your employees – potentially your biggest ambassadors – view your brand? In our social media society, isn’t their testimony more important than your advertisements?

How would your employees respond if you asked them to draw images representing your culture? Who is the ideal employee? How do they talk? Where do they spend their time? What is their personality?

The answers might surprise you…or they might not. 🙁 

For those who facilitate workshops, I’d like to challenge you to run this exercise and share your results. I know it will make for a fascinating discussion, and perhaps a cultural makeover.

Thoughtfully yours, 
Jeff Skipper

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