Team Culture Workshop

Culture eats strategy for breakfast.

Culture is the behavior of a group of people. It has the power to influence the work of a team to a greater degree than company values or processes.

Be that as it may, you can't prescribe culture through a set of values, or doctrine. But you can be intentional about stating the behavior you want, and gradually redirecting culture over time.

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In May 2022 I led a culture foundation workshop for a team I was managing at Disney. This team had suffered from attrition and low morale due to the infamously bad merger between Disney+ and Hulu teams. I was determined to right the course for the team with a healthy foundation.

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Pre-Workshop Planning

Like every design project, we began with problem framing, stayed in low fidelity to test ideas, and then added fidelity as more decisions were made. Much of that low fidelity work happened in google documents.

My direct team and I spent 5-6 hours in pre-planning. I prepared a stump schedule, and draft goals, that the working group could react to.

A redacted planning document for you to copy:

Workshop Outline

#ymmv This workshop was highly tailored to our culture and POV but you're welcome to build off of this. At the very least this can help frame out logistical requirements for a great workshop in addition to content requirements.

Facilitation Deck

We distilled the planning doc into a deck for facilitating the day, and recording what decisions we could. Most of the work happened on the walls around us.


This workshop became the model for design teams at Disney Streaming to follow. I whitelabled the plan and consulted with three other teams who used this format to draft their own team charter.

This workshop also contributed to stopping attrition: In 2021 we lost 65% of this team. In 2022 we grew 400%.

Weekly team pulse checks literally turned frowns upside down as we saw more: 😏 and less 😫