Aligning on culture

Foster a culture of trust and connection that invites people to take responsibility and develop entrepreneurship

The Breathe Approach for companies is designed to maximise their ability to successfully fulfil their Purpose in the most efficient and effective manner whilst serving the needs of all stakeholders, including the people within the organisation

We see culture as the key enabler and differentiator for the companies we work for. While a thriving culture is crucial for any company’s success, culture plays an even greater role in purpose-driven companies.

A truly purpose-driven organisation is a supercharged container for developing cultures of high performance and trust. Nothing unites a group of people like a common inspiring superordinate goal. Yet, developing a high-performing culture of trust requires consistent and deliberate work. This is a major part of the work we do with companies at Breathe.

woman walking towards beach

We set very high aspirations for the quality of company culture for the organisations we work with. We seek to develop not only thriving cultures but magnetic cultures. A magnetic culture radiates outward, draws people in and attracts talent and opportunities at a broad scale.

A magnetic culture is a professional home that is both challenging and nurturing. A place where people have a strong sense of belonging, and peer relationships are of high quality. To sustain this culture, employees must engage in continuous development both professionally and, not less, personally as individuals. What holds people back in their personal development inevitably influences how we show up professionally. Therefore, we integrate professional and personal development, whereby the experience becomes more fruitful and rewarding at once.

The development of genuine trust is greatly accelerated by people relating with each other as human beings as well as professionals. We, therefore, encourage the people we work with to bring their whole selves to work and to share what plays out in their personal lives as well as their professional lives.

Check-ins

To facilitate people making a genuine connection with each other, we often introduce the practice of doing Check-ins at the start of meetings. In the Check-ins, people are asked to answer three questions; 1. how do you feel at this moment, 2. Is there anything keeping you from being present in this meeting., 3. What is your intention for this meeting. The practice helps clear the air before the meeting and gives people a place to share anything that might influence how they show up in the meeting, e.g., the recent passing of a friend or family member or any other personal setback. Next, it helps people become present and orient themselves thoughtfully towards the content of the meeting so they can make effective use of the time together.

Coaching on professional and personal development

In working on cultural transformations, we have observed that a company does not rise beyond its leaders' level of consciousness and maturity. That is why we often start our cultural work by coaching the organisation's leaders. These coaching journeys can profoundly impact the leaders, who are often challenged to revaluate how they fulfil their roles and show up at work. Once the work with the leadership team has been started, we make use of the momentum by coaching other employees as well.

Honouring the past to clear the way for the future

When a group of people, such as an organisation, is genuine in their intention to create a high-performing culture of trust, often the first step is to honour the company's past. At Breathe, we organise group sessions where the past can be both celebrated and confronted such that it empowers the team to move forward without repeating undesired patterns that may still be present.

Developing a strong feedback culture

At Breathe, we say that tensions are our fuel for growth. A core practice at Breathe is to turn the tensions that arise at work into growth opportunities for the company and the people alike. Learning to recognise tensions for what they are; opportunities to grow individually and collectively is core to developing a feedback culture. In our work with companies, we practice and train people in giving, receiving and soliciting feedback and work to integrate feedback such that it becomes a continuous part of the work.

Offsites and company gatherings

Perhaps the greatest opportunities for culture building are when the whole company spends time together in a deliberate way. At Breathe, we both facilitate and help co-design the program of these events such that it optimally serves the company at its stage of development.

Sustaining a high performing culture of trust requires continuous renewal and attention. When we do cultural work at companies with Breathe, we seek to transmit our knowledge, experience and practices to the organisations we work with. In this way, we aspire to make the organisation self-reliant, such that they can continue on a path of cultural development without Breathe's active involvement. When we see that a magnetic culture is sustained without our active involvement, we know we have done well.

To read more about the other four components of the Breathe Approach – Purpose, Structure, Capital and Governance – have a look over here.