Culture Triangle

Culture Triangle is a motivational activity that helps teams or organizations understand each other better in order to improve collaboration between their units.

Culture Triangle With Stereotypes Tough Battler Friendly Helper Logical Thinker

This team building activity achieves its objective by talking about, and getting behind, the stereotypes that professionals from different areas hold about each other.

The stereotypes held always have elements of truth within them, but also contain huge generalizations that should not go un-challenged.​

This exercise provides an opportunity for the truths to be discussed and worked with, and the myths to be dispelled, providing a firmer foundation as the team goes forward.​

You can download a FREE Powerpoint or PDF of this tool at the bottom of this page

Objective

To surface and start to address some of the underlying problems that arise when representatives from different departments or companies work together.

What Is The Outcome?

A climate in which differences of perception and practice can be discussed openly and constructively.

Process

  1. The Facilitator presents the two cultural stereotypes slides.
  2. The Facilitator draws a large triangle on a flip chart and labels it.
  3. Each Team / Department / Company is allocated a colour of sticky dot.Culture Triangle Different Teams
  4. The Facilitator distributes a multi-coloured series of sticky dots to each individual in the team.
  5. Each Individual now places the relevant sticky dot on the triangle according to where they think each of the Teams are in terms of cultural stereotypes.
  6. When this exercise is completed, each Individual is asked how they feel about theirTeam’s overall positioning on the chart. They can also ask for specific feedback from anyone on the reasons for their positioning.
  7. The Group now discusses the implications of this exercise for their on-going team-working.
  8. The Facilitator leads a plenary discussion using the Strengths & Weaknesses slides.

Resources Required

  • Pack a multi-colored sticky dots (one color per team, each person needs to have one dot of every color).
  • Flipchart, pen and paper.
  • Open space for people to move around.
  • No tables and chairs.
  • The slides in this pack.

Cultural Stereotypes

Consider the three organizational stereotypes Friendly Helpers, Tough Battlers and Logical Thinkers.

Culture Triangle Stereotypes

Organizations can be plotted on a culture triangle …

Culture Triangle With Stereotypes - Tough Battler & Friendly Helper & Logical Thinker

Your Blank Culture Triangle

Blank Culture Triangle

You can download this template in either PPT or PDF format at the bottom of the page

Strengths and Weaknesses

How do Tough Battlers view the strengths and weaknesses of other culture types?

Culture Triangle How Tough Battlers View Others

And Friendly Helpers?

Culture Triangle How Friendly Helpers View Others

And Logical Thinkers?

Culture Triangle How Logical Thinkers View Others

Ground Rules

  • All insights should be treated as constructive feedback and an opportunity to initiate a change in culture where appropriate.
  • This is not about ‘us and them’ but about collaboration in general. A strong collaborative environment benefits everyone when it works well so hold this as the vision.

Roles & Responsibilities

Facilitator

  • Leads the process.
  • Organizes the materials and room setup prior to session start.
  • Prepares the participants for what might be a bumpy ride.

Participants

  • Follows the process.
  • Approaches the session with an open mind excited about the feedback they’re about to receive.

Secret Sauce

  • It’s important participants view what they’re about to hear about themselves as constructive feedback. If it looks like there are some who are taking the process personally pull back for a few minutes and discuss the importance of feedback for continuous improvement.
  • As the plenary discussion progresses the facilitator will find it useful to capture headlines and actions. An honest purge of emotion and ideas often happens and you want to make sure you capture the essence so the teams move forward after they leave the room.

Free Download Files

About the Author

Nick Martin has more than 15 years experience as a change manager and is the founder and CEO of WorkshopBank.

Leave a Reply 13 comments

Deb Reply

Thank you Nick! This is a good addition to my toolkit and I can see how it would be useful.

Lori Atkinson Reply

Nick, I am in awe of your generosity. Thank you.
Lori Atkinson, Calgary, Albert, Canada

    Nick Martin Reply

    No worries Lori. Hope the weather’s warming up for you over in Calgary. Beautiful part of the world.

Jan Emerton Reply

Hi Nick
A good tool to discuss differences in the team and get people thinking about perceptions and strereotypes. It looks very like the Red/Blue/Green descriptions in SDI – Do yuo know if this was the original source of the three types? have a look at http://www.personalstrengths.com for more information. You have to be accredited to run the SDI and it is a great tool that could be offered as a follow-up or pre work to this type of activity – we use it extensively on our training programmes and it is available in multiple languages. Thanks!

    Nick Martin Reply

    Hi Jan
    I don’t know that the SDI was the original source but I’ll check out that site for sure. Maybe we can get them on a Podcast here. Do you have any connections over there?
    Thanks for leaving a comment … very much appreciated 🙂

Rana Reply

Hello Nick,

Truly cannot thank you enough for sharing this! It is an amazing tool! Thank you really. Very grateful to your efforts and for sharing! 🙂

Sincerely,
Rana

STUART Reply

Good model.Check out William Schutz-FIRO. Check out Edgar Scheins -Tough Battler /Friendly Helper/Objective Observer.In1983/4 the UK Manpower Services Commission used the model and content and the exact facilitation process you propose in a programme of learning for several thousand staff supporting the launch of the Youth Training Scheme .I was one of the programme leaders -the model looked at typologies of individuals rather than teams and groups but is transferable . Since 1985 my consultancy company has also used the exact facilitation process/content you propose internationally with many organisations and we have taught it to other consultants for example in Canada ,Europe,Australia . I am interested as to where you found the model/content/process?

Priyanka Dabas Reply

Hi Nick,

Well thought and exaustive tool. The tool encompass various behavioural aspects of an individual’s personality. I am a change management consultant too and deal with similar kind of interventions. Looking forward to exchange more stuff on change management.

Sincerely,
Priyanka

Workshop Bank Reply

[…] Culture Triangle: A team building motivational activity that helps separate teams or organizations understand each other better with a view to improving collaboration. […]

Barbara Reply

Hi Nick,

thanks a lot for sharing all this. I really appreciate the opportunity to learn from your experience. As I am always looking for new and fresh ideas, workshopBank is a big help.

Sincerely,
Barbara, Cologne, Germany

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