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How Much Time Does a Culture Initiative Take?

By David Friedman, CultureWise Founder/CEO

You understand that a strong culture can drive a company’s success. And you can see that becoming more intentional and systematic about your culture with a culture operating system could pay big dividends.

But you may be asking yourself, “Who’s got time to do that?”  You and your leadership team already have countless responsibilities to run your business.

At CultureWise, we hear this question a lot, and it’s a legitimate concern.

Maybe you’re in the middle of rolling out a new ERP system, or hiring a new service manager, or launching a new sales and marketing initiative next quarter.  With everything else on your plate, you can’t even imagine asking your people to take on one more project.

While it sounds like a great idea, implementing something as impactful as a culture operating system must take a long time, right?

It takes far less time than you might think.  

The Efficiency of a System

A culture operating system like CultureWise is the most efficient way to improve your culture. It offers a tangible method and tools that shorten the time it takes to put a culture initiative into play. The system makes it a feasible process for any business.

Let’s break down how much time and effort it would take to do this for your company – both to get the program up and running and to keep it going.  This information will help you make a good decision about how to prioritize working on your culture. 

There are three things to consider as you make your decision:

  1. Set-Up Time Commitment
  2. Ongoing Time Commitment
  3. Priority level
The Set-Up

At CultureWise, we offer two versions of our culture operating system: Standard and Custom. The following process refers to our Custom version. The Standard version is even faster and less time consuming.

The set-up process involves 4 phases:

1.  Establishing Behaviors

The first phase is a meeting with your leadership team to brainstorm the behaviors you want your team to follow to sustain a high performing culture. At CultureWise, we call these behaviors “Fundamentals.”

This is typically a 3-hour meeting.

2.  Writing your Fundamentals

Next, we formalize how these behaviors are described. Based on your input and feedback during several phone calls, we’ll create several successive drafts until we determine a final version.

We’ll also talk to you about the rituals your team will practice each week to reinforce these behaviors and discuss the CultureWise rollout to your organization.

Your total time investment in this process: 2-3 hours.

3.  Planning the Rollout

The logistics of planning the rollout for your CultureWise initiative is usually done with your HR staff or admin team.

This phase requires about 1-2 hours of their time and nearly none of yours.

4.  Launching the Initiative

The rollout of your CultureWise program will be a 3-hour event that all employees will attend.  Once this step has been completed, you’re ready to start practicing your Fundamentals. 

The total set-up time:

  • Initial Meeting:                                      3 hours
  • Feedback and Planning Calls              2-3 hours
  • Admin Team Logistics Planning        1-2 hours
  • Team-Wide Roll-Out Session              3 hours

Your Time: 8-9 hours (spread over about a 60-day period)

Leadership Team Time:  6-7 hours

Staff Time: 3 hours 

That’s it!

As noted, this timetable relates to the Custom version of CultureWise. The Standard version requires even less time because the Fundamentals are selected from a pre-existing menu. This eliminates some of the brainstorming and feedback time.

Ongoing Commitment

Now let’s look at the ongoing time commitment needed from your team to make this initiative successful. 

CultureWise is set up to focus on one Fundamental every week. It illustrates how that behavior relates to and can improve all aspects of your business.

There are several regular activities or rituals designed to maximize engagement and reinforce the Fundamentals. Let’s examine how much time they take.

Weekly Time Commitment:  

  • Write featured Fundamental message        1 hour/week—1 person
  • Read weekly message                                      5 minutes/week
  • Read/watch daily QuickTip                             1 minute/day
  • Acknowledge teammates via Kudos             3 minutes/week
  • Answer Fundamental lesson question         2 minutes/week

Aside from the rotating commitment of writing the weekly message, these activities add up to about 15 minutes per week or about 3-4 minutes per day.  That’s not a big burden to place on your people!

Your staff should also talk about the Fundamental of the Week for a few minutes at the beginning of meetings.  This might add 3-4 minutes to a meeting. But given the impact this focus on behaviors is going to have on your team, that’s not a big ask.


We’ve shown how it wouldn’t take too much time to get your culture system up and running, but you may still have concerns about fitting it into your list of priorities. There is only so much management focus to go around, and you have many other initiatives to tackle. 

There are two things to consider here. 

1.  Working on your culture isn’t an extra initiative. It’s the platform that supports your other initiatives.

Patrick Lencioni talks about the “multiplier effect” of culture in his book The Advantage.  We agree with his point that a high performing culture boosts the overall health of an organization. More specifically, it affects every aspect of its operation.

For instance, implementing an ERP system will go much more smoothly and effectively if everybody works as a team and functions as a finely tuned unit.  What drives that? Your culture.

Intentionally working on your culture should be a priority because it will enable you to succeed with your other priorities.

2.  Working on your culture is critically important, but rarely urgent.

Sometimes business leaders will say, “we’re definitely committed to this; we’re just waiting for things to slow down a bit.”  But be honest.  When was the last time things slowed down?  It’s unlikely to happen—and if it does, you should probably be worried.

One of a leader’s essential roles is to continuously scan the horizon so you can identify threats and opportunities that could significantly impact your business. More importantly, you should address them now instead of waiting for them to hit. 

Everyone else in your company is working hard, with their head down, consumed by the day-to-day challenges of operating your business.  They’re not thinking about the future.  That’s your job.

Working on your culture is almost never urgent, but it’s absolutely important.  It’s our job as leaders to carve out space to work on those things that can literally be game-changing but aren’t necessarily pressing.

The Time is Now

The old proverb about planting trees can be applied to working on our culture:  “The best time to do it was years ago.  The second-best time is now.”

By making your culture a priority now, you put your business at a competitive advantage for years to come.

Learn more about how CultureWise can transform your company by listening to our clients talk about their experiences with the program or exploring the resources on our website.

When you’re ready to take the next step to revolutionize your business, sign up for the Standard Version of Culturewise or contact us for a Custom Version proposal. You can give us a call at 877-472-5050 or send us an email.

We look forward to hearing from you.  

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