5 Key Elements of a Strong Culture

Brendan Rogers

“I stand for integrity, respect, and equality. Those three things which are rock solid to me and who I am (and are not negotiable).”

Cassandra Gordon


With over 20 years’ experience driving change in both corporate and government roles, including briefing the former prime minister, Cassandra Gordon has developed a formula that she believes creates a thriving human ecosystem of work:

Freedom plus creativity, plus purpose, divided by safety, multiplied by diversity, equals thriving, which creates innovation.

 It is her cultural blueprint.

So, let’s have a closer look at those five key elements of a strong culture.



Freedom is about giving adults capability, space and reign to solve decisions by themselves. Trusting that they can solve decisions and that they know about doing a job without being micromanaged. Which leads to creativity…



Part of that freedom is the autonomy to be creative. Creativity creates innovation and constant creativity is absolutely essential for companies to stay competitive in a now global market. It is so important for us as people but also for a business to continue to evolve and thrive.


Have you read: Leadership in Public Office – Adam Crouch



Purpose is about the business having a clear reason to be and a real purpose drives people to do their best. It has to be clear and repeatable and it has to be developed by the people who are actually doing the work that generates the revenue toward the company, not from the top. It needs to be generated from below and crafted in a way that makes sense to them.



This is absolutely the most critical part of a healthy culture. Trust is the core to creating safety, but psychological safety is the primary priority. Psychological safety is about how our brains respond to our environment. It is no longer okay to have a workforce where people experience any disrespectful behaviour such as bullying or exclusion. Basically, dehumanizing behaviours for work safety. Where people can’t table ideas without fear of reprisal or threatening somebody else.



The greater level of diversity in the organization, in terms of speculative demographics, is a direct correlation with the number of different ideas that are generated from it. This is a crucial point in terms of maintaining an innovative, competitive company. When you bring people together from a range of different backgrounds, obviously gender, experiences, ages and religions, everybody is going to offer a different viewpoint, which creates a thriving organization.


Have you read: Great Leadership Qualities (The Culture of Leadership 2021 Wrap Up)


Cassandra Gordon stands for integrity, respect and justice. She uses these values as her rock solid, not negotiable, decision making tool. They are ultimately what led her to establishing GrowthCulture, where she works with start-ups to design their culture, as well as Organisational Intelligence Group, a niche culture turnaround consultancy.

In today’s The Culture of Leadership (TCoT) Podcast, Cassandra shares what it takes to create a thriving workplace. Where people come to work not having to put on a game face when they walk in the door, not having to put on a work demeanour. A space where they can drop their guard and be themselves, knowing that they are working in an environment that is psychologically safe.

When people thrive and reach their capability they achieve more and the organisation enjoys greater success. It is important for leaders to know this because it is a leader’s role to enable other people to lead. It is not a leader’s role to control.

The complete interview, where Cassandra elaborates on her formula through examples, real life experiences and case studies, can be listened to here, on audio platforms, or watched here, on The Culture of Leadership (TCoT) YouTube channel.

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