Culture-Building for Complex Businesses



Build A Culture So Clear And Compelling It Attracts The Best By Separating You From The Rest.

Introducing the ecosystem for those tired of the ego-system.


CultureSmithingTM helps knowledge-based businesses land their ideal customers, along with the talent needed to serve them.


Our evidence-based approach ensures you hire the right people, and work exclusively with low-maintenance clients willing to pay high margins.


Build A Magnetic Culture.


A magnet doesn’t just pull. It repels as well. Your culture must do the same. Take a piece of metal, wrap it in copper wire, and run a current through it. You’ve made a magnet.


Take a team, wrap them in the right framework, and run a sense of meaning through them. You'll have forged a culture. You'll draw the right people in. You'll keep the wrong people out. Saving you countless dollars and emotional strain in the process.


Capable enough to be right. Vulnerable enough to admit when they’re not.


You need to attract and retain the most capable people. It’s what separates winners from losers in the knowledge economy. Just know that capability without vulnerability turns teams toxic.


We quantify your culture, allowing it to act as a pre-hire vulnerability assessment. Never again will a "brilliant jerk" slip through.


You deserve clients who generate margin - not migraines.


“The customer is always right.” If only. Pushing clients to do things they don’t want to is a slow Tuesday for you. Are yours willing to be vulnerable when you are at your most capable?


Our frameworks will give you the confidence and know-how to set boundaries. The kind that prevents dream clients from becoming nightmares.


The value of your culture is measured by the problems it solves for people. Without one, you risk attracting problems masquerading as people. Let us build you a culture that solves problems at scale.

The Problem We Solve:


The brain craves simplicity. It seeks simple answers to complex issues to remove tension. No company escapes complexity. Which means every brain in that company is seeking easy answers. Answers won't help. They change each time a variable changes. It's the equation that remains constant.


Your culture is your equation. A conventional strategic plan gives you answers. The moment chaos hits, they cease to be true. CultureSmithing is the act of building your equation. It's the alternative to strategic planning that turns that same chaos into fuel.



The Need For Speed


The most common form of answer-seeking gone wrong? Rules. When people act in ways leaders can't figure out, they make rules to try and encourage more predictable behaviour. It doesn't work.


Consider speed limits. They’re rules. Still, everyone speeds. Some people speed to keep up with traffic. Others want to distance themselves from it. For some it's conscious. For others, it isn't. The point is, the reasons for speeding are as varied as any work behaviour.


Rules Offer Punishment


So what's the point of speed limits? To keep people safe by changing drivers' behavior. The same thing you try to do with your rules. How many times have you sped? When you speed, how many people have you hurt? When you break a rule and the thing it's supposed to prevent doesn't happen, the rule stops affecting your behaviour.


"Yes, but we can punish those who break the rules. That will keep them in line.” No it won't. The biggest speeding study ever tracked 4 million people. Those punished were twice as likely as those warned to re-offend within a year.


Respect Trumps Rules.


Punishment doesn't work, so what does? Respect. Neuroscientists designed radar signs to give you respectful feedback.


Driver behaviour is recorded without bias. It gets reported to the driver, free of judgement. They're reminded of the standard without being criticized. They correct their own behaviour without the threat of punishment, signalling respect. A high-functioning culture eliminates rules by having teammates give each other feedback the same way.


Culture Shifts Perspective.


We all speed. Yet, few of us speed through playground zones. We don't enjoy slowing down. But we do it anyway. Speed limits are rules. Keeping kids safe is a principle. The rule doesn't change, but our perspective does.


Strong cultures shift people's perspective. To get it right, your team must know what's at stake, why it matters, and the discipline required.


Cultures like this don't happen through conventional strategic planning. CultureSmithingTM, defines your 'playground zones'. It turns your whole team into a source of unbiased, constructive feedback. It creates a culture that rules without rules.


Don't let your newfound ambiguity stifle what makes you remarkable. Book a demo. Forge discipline and flexibility without sacrificing either.

Our Process


Our approach takes complex, knowledge-based teams from Ambiguity to Alignment following the same three steps every time:

Establish A Foundation:


Forging a culture is like building a home; it's only as strong as the foundation it sits on. Three critical elements build all foundations:


1) Value proposition. The promise that makes you relevant. You will analyze your core clients, empathize with their problems, and crystallize your business around fixing those problems.

2) Team norms. These are the collective behaviours required to keep your promise. We’ll identify the typical behaviour in your industry, the behaviour that makes you stand out, and the stressors that make you copy other’s bad habits.

3) Operations. Keeping all systems aligned as you scale is key. We'll define your market, align all relationships, and design the right structure to make this seamless.


Forge Relationships:


Take a clear plan. Add strategies that force you to face chaos as you progress. What does that give you? Conflict. Your foundation can be a source of stability or a rock people smash against. How intentional you are about defining relationships makes all the difference.


1) Value. You can't make someone a priority if they see you as an option. By sharing what everyone wants, and how others can help, we show how essential everyone on your team is to one another.

2) Supports. The frameworks that keep relationships intact and enduring even in chaotic times. You'll learn how to test assumptions, set boundaries, and deal with shifting dynamics.

3) Discipline. It's the sets and reps that build strong habits. We'll increase the structural discipline of your team, reducing the self-discipline any one person needs to deal with challenges. This energy can now be redeployed to growth and expansion.


Navigate Complexity:


Look at a map, and it will tell you where to go. Begin the journey, and that map becomes useless without a compass. Within weeks of agreeing to their strategic plan, many teams veer off track. Daily chaos is part of the gig. Having clarity doesn't make obstacles disappear.


1) Paradoxes. Stress puts you in an either-or mindset. Most problems can only be solved with both-and thinking. There will be no more 'or' between stability and innovation, structure and flexibility, and compassion and performance.

2) Sense-making. No two problems need the same solution. You'll map your knowns and unknowns and how they intersect to create clear, complicated, complex, and chaotic problems. You'll then learn how to handle each.

3) Feedback. It's the cornerstone of any thriving culture. You'll learn how to put all you've built into a feedback framework that increases performance by as much as 40%.


Ready To Be Aligned? We Offer Our Ambiguity-Annihilating, Meaning-Making, Ambition-Activating, Magnetic Magic - 1 of 3 Ways:


Engagement Audit

This is the perfect solution for leaders who want to introduce culture & engagement without committing to a full-blown program.


Our culture and alignment survey is sent out to everyone on your team.

Everyone will learn their CultureSmith cognitive styles, emotional blind spots, and how to use them.

In your report, you'll learn what to focus on, how to address it, and how to deal with each person's cognitive style and emotional blind-spot to ensure success.


Total Investment: $975.00 + Tax


Aligning Behaviour

Specifically designed for teams with existing Core Values and/or Vision-Mission Statements that wish to align key behaviours with them.


Offered as a half-day, live (in-person or online) facilitation. Prior to, your team will fill out a survey with 4 questions about your vision, mission & values.

We turn that into a shared language with our Cognitive Colours framework.

During the session, we lead you through a process that reveals the behaviours required to stay on track, and the stressors most likely to cause problems.

You can use the resulting benchmark in our HireEQ service to hire A Players painlessly.


Total investment: $3,950 + tax.



CultureSmithing covers all 3 modules described above. 

Mergers and acquisitions. Turnover among executives. Shifts in the market. When you think "what got us here won't get us there" it's time to CultureSmith.

Offered over 4 half-days or 2 full days.

There are two options: "Gated" or "Committed". Gated is almost like "try-before-you-buy". Each module, plus a 4th session that connects them all, is delivered separately. You decide whether to stop or keep going after each.

Committed gives you the entire program and saves you 40%. Most do this as a two-day retreat. Others do half-days over a quarter.


Gated: $3,950 + tax per session. Total: $15,700 if all 4 sessions are completed.

Committed: one-time fee of $9,750 + tax

Ongoing leadership coaching is available after any of these programs. Head over to our ExecutiveEQ page to learn more.

Why You should Trust Us With Your Culture


Our approach is rock solid. It's backed by science. Both are compelling reasons to consider us if you're feeling the pain and think we'd be of service.


We think the way we got here is more compelling though. It allows us to compare our service with the primary alternatives you might be looking at. We know each one well. Because we've been clients of them all.

Authority = Empathy + Expertise.


Being the authority on culture didn't happen by chance. We ran our own firm for years. Faced the same struggles you're facing. Tried every form of coach and trainer we could find.


Each offered value. None offered the breakthrough we needed. So we spent 7 years becoming the authority we could not find. We're not just experts in leadership behaviour. We're leaders who became experts in behaviour when no one could help us. We get you because we are you. We think that matters.


CultureSmithing vs Team-Building:


Miscommunication was a constant problem. We believed things would fall into place if people knew each other better. Our leaders became certified in a major psychometric tool. Things improved after we ran a few workshops. Sadly, it did not last long.


We understood each other as people. As a team, we failed to set boundaries and expectations. When developing CultureSmithing, we made sure to address this issue. When we work with you, our role is to establish the norms that shape team behavior. Only then will improved communication lead to predictable performance.


CultureSmithing vs Business Coaching:


In order to meet changing client needs, we had to stay agile. It was exciting, but chaotic. Business coaches taught us the dangers of chasing shiny objects. It gave us clarity, but it also created new problems. Blame. Conflict. Anxiety. All began showing up for the first time.


Goals alone are not enough. It's critical to understand the emotional constraints that prevent people from hitting them. Once goals get clearly defined, missing one feels like breaking a promise. Sooner or later, this leads to conflict. We provide the clarity business coaches once provided us. By adding EQ, we also prevent trust from being lost.


CultureSmithing vs. Executive Coaching:


It was difficult for us to know what we didn't know as emerging leaders. We turned to executive coaches for advice. They'd seen what we hadn't. We soon learned the hidden costs of advice. We received suggestions based on best practices used by others. Culture is a set of beliefs that distinguishes a group from all others. We began to look and sound like everyone else. We lost the magic that drove our early success.


CultureSmithing enhances what makes you unique. Our approach uses actual science, eliminating the need to force you into widely accepted 'best practices'. You become the standard by which others are measured. It becomes a motivating factor for everyone's behavior. Employee collaboration and feedback increase exponentially. The anxiety of not knowing what to do is replaced by the excitement of figuring it out together.


CultureSmithing Vs. Peer Forums:


Leaders face a lot of isolation. We were no different. Peer forums provided a way to connect with others who have similar challenges. They become a great place to get common-sense advice. The only problem? There’s nothing common about common sense.


Advice is awesome. Science is better. Although we're no longer members of forums, we still support a lot of them. We offer our framework to guide meetings. They allow members to dig deeper. To take feedback and describe their concerns in more honest ways. We'll bring the same dynamic to your meetings.


It's common for leaders to come to us after using one of these services. They've improved, but not to the extent they had hoped. Once they've 'CultureSmith'd', everything changes. We offer the elusive shift in perspective that makes it all make sense.


Our job is to help you understand. Our mission is to help you feel understood.

It’s not enough for us to deliver you a world-class culture. We've worked tirelessly to ensure the process used to create it meets that same high standard.


You’ll get the culture you deserve - from a process you’ll appreciate.

The Plan For Paradox


There is a tendency for either-or thinking to dominate group sessions. Challenging discussions create tension and uncertainty, which naturally limits the amount of energy the brain can expend. It is critical to note, however, that most issues associated with team and culture are paradoxical, making either-or thinking a barrier to progress.


Our frameworks are designed to keep you in a state of healthy tension. We eliminate the stifling influence of groupthink and the stress of open conflict. There can be no compromise when it comes to creating a meeting climate that fosters real innovation.


Behavioural Bias


Confirmation bias ensures data that fits what you want to do appears more relevant than data that tells you what you need to do. The larger the decision, the more it shows up. Choosing who your company will be when it grows up, is one of the biggest decisions of all. 


Each session begins with a discussion of the CultureSmith Cognitive Colours and their associated biases. Getting off track is easy due to these competing biases. We make it even easier to recover.


Save Your Sticky Notes


Getting everyone on the same page can be tricky. It's painful and often results in false agreements. Our software works on your phone. The majority of questions will be answered by sending a text, which our system will automatically sort, rank, and collate. As well as cutting manual brainstorming time by half, it prevents groupthink and bias by keeping all inputs private. People can also participate from anywhere in the world. It's ideal for remote teams or groups that can't find a day when they can all be together.


Questions? Here’s what to expect when you book a demo call:


We’ll Assess Your Needs

We’ll discuss your current situation, your future goals, and ensure you select the service that balances both impact and budget.


We’ll Align Expectations

You can ask ANY question and we'll be 100% transparent about whether we're the right fit for you.


We’ll Offer Support

Whether we work together or not, we'll offer expertise to help you tackle your current issue.

Book a demo. The game-changing culture that separates you from all others could be less than 30 minutes away.