Culture specialist, Steve Simpson, explains...

Your culture is driven by employee perceptions of the way things are



Scroll down to learn how you can begin leveraging your culture to create a lasting competitive advantage.

Read on to learn more...

To better understand the drivers of your culture and its alignment with your strategy...

Conscious Governance has teamed up with Steve Simpson to create a new digital short course for directors & senior executives and we're calling it...

'Where Culture Meets Strategy'

What your employees think about your organization matters. Discover the link between a strong culture and high performing organizations: deliver on your strategic plan and drive lasting success for your communities and stakeholders.
Let's align culture with strategy →

"This program provides an excellent insight into how the culture of an organization, through its Unwritten Ground Rules, can be used to influence the achievement of its strategic plan...I enjoyed this program and it stimulated some practical ideas which I will implement to achieve my organization's Strategic Plan. "

Gillian Leach
Chief Executive Officer Australian Association of Practice Management Ltd (AAPM)

Ask yourself

→ Have you ever wondered why the implementation of your strategic plan requires more effort than you had originally thought?


→ Have you ever tried to rollout a program or initiative only to find it gains very little support or falls flat almost as soon as you launch?

→ Do your Board, Senior Executives and employees all have different views about your workplace's culture, with differing perspectives on how it can be improved? 

Introducing Unwritten Ground Rules (UGRs)

The most common barrier to the rollout of a strategic plan is a culture that undermines successful implementation...

Getting a snapshot of your culture does not need to be complicated. It can be as simple as investigating your Unwritten Ground Rules (UGRs).

Workplace culture specialists, Steve Simpson and Stef du Plessis, introduced the idea of Unwritten Ground Rules after conducting research into how workplace culture can stifle performance.

They posit that Unwritten Ground Rules are 'your perspective on how things are done in your workplace.'

This is a simple, yet powerful idea.

Take this example: In your meetings, what happens when you choose to speak up? Do you get the full attention of your team members, or are they effectively ignoring what you have to say? If the latter is the case, the Unwritten Ground Rule tells us: ‘this meeting is a formality and nothing you say will get done.’


This is what happens when you ignore your ‘Unwritten Ground Rules’...

  • Staff satisfaction surveys or feedback forms begin to alarm you with their responses
  • Strategic partnerships are difficult to establish
  • Customer/client complaint handling is not where it should be
  • Staff and manager turnover is high
  • Board and staff meetings show minimal engagement with strategy
  • Mini-subcultures are created in various departments and geographic locations
  • Pushback from staff when implementing strategic initiatives


"What people don’t understand, they don’t manage. What people don’t manage they become victims of..."

Steve Simpson
Culture Specialist, Co-Presenter 'Where Culture Meets Strategy'

Introducing 'Where Culture Meets Strategy'

Great organizational cultures enable strategic goals to be achieved.

They fuel employee engagement and create environments for breakaway performance…But they don’t just happen by chance.

"Where Culture Meets Strategy" is a focused video program which aims to bridge the gap between an unconscious culture and one which is being actively created by the board, managers and staff.

It is built off the research and experience of Steve Simpson and Steven Bowman, two world-renowned strategy and culture experts.

For a limited time only, learn how to measure and improve your culture to the point where it propels the success of your key strategies.

Go to Checkout →


Imagine if...

  • Your strategic plan was not only actively embraced by staff and management, but the opportunity to make it succeed was a priority of the entire organization, from the Board to the frontline staff
  • Your strategic implementation generated long term financial performance
  • Your workplace was invigorating and productive; you attract talent and they stick around
  • You could respond quickly, communicate freely, and trust your staff to make the right decisions without the need for layers of approval or bureaucracy
  • You were able to adapt on a dime if your industry changed; your Board and staff were willing and eager to embrace different service models


This program is ideal for

The Senior Executive Team

who are looking for ways to ensure seamless strategic plan implementation

The HR Department

who are charged with ensuring culture meets strategy and the development of supportive team environments

The Board

who want to ensure their organization’s strategic direction is supported by a high performing culture

Look at your culture through the eyes of an outsider...

Steve Simpson and Steven Bowman explore the idea of Unwritten Ground Rules using the perspective of an outsider looking in, and observing any instances of behavior that do not match rhetoric. They show you how to explore cultural mismatches by looking at languaging versus behavior through the eyes of a new employee.

A new employee is consuming far more than what they are being told on their first day: They are actively noticing what is valued in this environment and how they should adjust their behavior in order to conform. If you are not actively creating a desirable culture, this new employee will pick up on all the negative behaviors of their fellow employees. This creates a deeper spiral of negative, entrenched behavior. Seeing through the eyes of a new employee gives you focused insight about how words are supported (or not) by action.

"I just completed the modules for where culture meets strategy and I loved it. It really got me thinking and I took so many notes and posed questions to myself that, it's not funny. There are so many great and practical examples within every module, I really appreciated that each tip appeared to be achievable, constant and sometimes hard work but achievable. [Steve Simpson & Steven Bowman] are so easy to relate to and articulate the intangible within organizations that really get in the way of us being as successful and as great as we could be. I will be sharing this with all my senior leaders as internal training and mapping out how we use each tip and suggestion from the models to ensure that we can and do deliver on our strategic plan to create a better future for PCC, our staff, our clients and our community. Thanks so much again loved it !!!!!"

Rebecca Lorains
CEO, Primary Care Connect

After this digital short course, you will have:

  • The tools to identify create and leverage your Unwritten Ground Rules
  • Techniques to improve your strategic performance through cultural alignment
  • The questions you need to uncover the Unwritten Ground Rules that already exist in your organization
  • A greater understanding of the linkage between culture and strategic implementation

The program outline


1. Introduction: Where culture meets strategy

The Board is ultimately accountable for the strategic plan, the senior management are primarily charged with the delivery of the strategic plan, and therefore both have a collective interest in ensuring agreed strategic direction is implemented. The same is not necessarily true of staff, who may have had only a peripheral input to the development of the strategies and are yet to be convinced that it is relevant to them.

It then becomes necessary to encourage buy-in from all departments and business units of your organization, so they may contribute to the strategic plan implementation. This undertaking requires nuance and a deep understanding of the prevailing culture or sentiment and how it may impact the delivery of your strategy.

2. Understanding UGRs & how their trickle-down effect impacts your culture

Researchers, Directors, managers and staff all agree that culture is a fundamental component of productivity and organizational effectiveness. Some have even suggested the increase in performance resulting from a more strategic culture would be in the magnitude of 50% greater. So why doesn't culture take a more prominent role in leadership and strategic discussions?

3. How do UGRs impact the delivery of your strategic plan

For any workplace culture to become stronger, it needs to become a high priority. This can be reinforced through the questions that Directors, managers or senior executives ask (and what they choose not to ask), and their interaction with staff members of varying authority.

4. The role of the Board in creating culture

Does your Board have a clear understanding of the aspirational culture that it wants created? Before you can have this aspirational culture, there are two questions that must be answered…

5. The role of the senior executive team and staff in creating culture

If you belong to the senior executive team, the responsibility falls with you to model the types of behaviors you would like to see in your staff.

6. How to ensure your strategies filter throughout your organization

Once a new strategic plan is approved by the Board, the next challenge becomes ensuring it is adopted by the rest of the organization. One way to do this is by placing the strategic plan as a key element on your agenda at both Board and staff meetings.

7. Linking performance KPIs and strategy execution

Key performance indicators are an important way to measure the outcomes that are really important to the organization and incentivizing individuals or business units to spend more time doing highly valuable work.

8. Key takeaways: Tools for creating your aspirational culture

In any organizations, UGRs drive the behavior of the Board, the senior executive teams and the staff. The urge to conform to group dynamics creates a self-fulfilling cycle. Unless we speak about UGRs openly, then new employees will continue to make their own deductions based on what they see and hear, in some cases reinforcing poor conduct.

9. The dividing line between a 'Must' and a 'Should'

The degree to which certain behaviors are tolerated to a large extent is a reflection of our personal decisions and our environment. When decisions fall into the category of 'should not do' inevitably one can find a number of reasons to justify doing the opposite. By contrast, 'must not dos' draw a very clear line in the sand as to what behavior is acceptable and what is deemed inappropriate. Understanding these can make or break your culture.



Bonus PDF Downloads:

  • In the Black: The difference between business success and failure
  • How to identify UGRs in your Board and organization: sample lead-in questions
  • List of senior executive discussion topics around aspirational UGRs
  • One pager: key takeaways and advice on how to get started
  • Workplace Culture Booklet
  • Sample strategic Board agenda
  • Sample Board culture statement

"The presenters give good litmus test objectives about how to test UGRs (I'm going to put some in place) effectively teaching how to identify and evaluate the UGRs in your business. This allows the learner to feel empowered to use these learnings with confidence...The most powerful message is the alignment of UGRs which otherwise might cause some issues in strategic plans being realised. This module is very thought provoking."

Sandra Anne Vincent
Chief Executive Officer, Arthritis & Osteoporosis NSW

Your Investment

Now $125 AUD

Was $195 AUD

- 9 easy-to-digest sessions (see program outline)

- 7 PDF downloads including a workplace culture booklet

- Lifetime access, so you can reference the program into the future

- Tested techniques that are proven in organizations of all sectors and sizes

Checkout →


1. Introduction: Where culture meets strategy

2. Understanding UGRs & how their trickle-down effect impacts your culture

3. How do UGRs impact the delivery of your strategic plan

4. The role of the Board in creating culture

5. The role of the senior executive team and staff in creating culture

6. How to ensure your strategies filter throughout your organization

7. Linking performance KPIs and strategy execution

8. Key takeaways: Tools for creating your aspirational culture

9. The dividing line between a 'Must' and a 'Should'


- In the Black: The difference between business success and failure

- How to identify UGRs in your Board and organization: sample lead in questions

- List of senior executive discussion topics around aspirational UGRs

- One pager: Key takeaways and advice on how to get started

- Workplace Culture Booklet

- Sample strategic Board agenda

- Sample Board culture statement

Meet your course instructors

Steve Simpson

Steve Simpson’s insights are not based on theory. In addition to his conference presentations, he has worked in-house with a range of organizations in different continents over extended periods of time. He knows the pitfalls, traps, objections and issues that emerge when people are challenged to re-think the ‘way we do things around here’.

Whether it’s creating a culture to deliver great service, helping leaders understand their role in shaping the culture, helping teams perform better, equipping people to revel in change initiatives, or getting people to take safety seriously, Steve reveals how his concept of UGRs – unwritten ground rules – can be used to effect lasting, positive change. Steve has worked with organizations in many countries. In addition to his work in Australia and New Zealand, Steve has worked in the UK, US, UAE, Africa and Asia.

Steven Bowman

Steven Bowman is the director of Conscious Governance, based in Melbourne, Australia. He is sought after by businesses around the world as an expert adviser on conscious leadership, strategic innovation and awakening the power of consciousness within organizations. 

Steven has held numerous senior executive and CEO positions with some of the USA and Australia’s most prestigious organizations. He has authored and coauthored over fourteen books on nonprofit governance, strategy, risk and executive leadership.

He currently consults with over one thousand nonprofit and corporate organizations each year in the USA, Australia, New Zealand, and Asia. He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and a Fellow of the Corporate Law and Accountability Research Group, Monash University.