How do I understand my organisation’s culture now? Discovery Phase

Discovery iconSo, you’ve worked through the Scoping Phase of the programme. You have your Senior Leadership or Board sponsorship and support. You’ve recruited your Change Team and you are clear about the reasons why you are using the programme – what your end goal is and how you will evaluate its impact. You’re all ready to start the Discovery Phase of the programme.

On this page you will find resources to help you and your colleagues to work through this phase of the programme effectively so that you have a thorough understanding of how your colleagues and patients/service users/carers experience the culture of your organisation. It is important therefore that you hear from as diverse a range of voices as possible. This might mean using the tools in different ways in order to be more inclusive and support engagement e.g. running the focus groups within collective group events and also proactively taking mobile focus groups to other working areas where staff might find it difficult to step out.

Six circular images are arranged in a circle around a central circle titled culture and leadership programme. Vision and values is represented by a person with a telescope in orange. Goals and performance is represented by a mountain with a flag on top in pink. Learning and innovation is represented by two new shoots/leaves in green. Support and compassion is a heart in red. Equity and inclusion shows three hands reaching up, in three different sizes and shades of purple with a globe behind them. Team work is shown with a grey and a light blue puzzle piece. The six cultural elements are connected with grey and blue interweaving lines.Different resources test different cultural elements so that when you hold your Synthesis Event, you know you have a holistic overview.


To support you as you explore the Discovery Phase of the Culture and Leadership Programme, we have created the revised Discovery Phase Guide. Whether you like to work your way through, dip in and out or have something to refer back to outside of a learning space, we hope this document will enable you to implement the programme in your organisation.

Discovery phase rools and resources

As you begin the Culture and Leadership Programme, it is important that you understand your starting point. These six tools each provide you with a different perspective on your organisational culture. We therefore recommend that you use all six diagnostics as a minimum to ensure you explore all of these areas. Please read our mini-guide for a more detailed overview of each of the tools.

Blue and white graphic depicting the six diagnostic tools as a wheelYou may wish to consider additional information sources in order to ensure that you have considered all relevant information. For example, the Equality Delivery System (EDS2), Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES), Workforce Disability Equality Standard (WDES), Freedom to Speak Up self-assessment toolkit and NHS Health and Wellbeing Framework diagnostic in order to create a good, holistic overview of the organisation’s performance.


Once your Change Team have completed their information gathering through the Discovery Phase, we recommend you enter a period we call Synthesis.

The synthesis stage is the bridge between the Discovery Phase and the Design Phase of your culture and leadership programme. It enables you to bring together the results of the Scoping Phase and the six diagnostics (and other supplemental information) undertaken in the Discovery Phase to form a current state analysis on culture and leadership within your organisation. This will mean you can target approaches and interventions in designing your strategy for compassionate and inclusive leadership. It is important that you try to keep in mind the use of this data for learning, rather than judgement, to help you identify what is needed in order to improve.

Synthesis is unlikely to be a one-off event and may take between three to six weeks to complete. It will primarily involve the change team but you can include others as well. Synthesis involves the presentation of the data, reviewing findings and comparing these to the purpose that was initially set out when making the case for introducing this programme. This activity begins to form the vision for the next steps.

What next?

Once you have carried out your synthesis and started moving toward the Design Phase of the programme, you may wish to bring your Change Team, Programme Team and Board (or senior leadership) sponsors together to reflect on the Discovery Phase of the programme.

As you step into the Design Phase of the programme, you may wish to review your template for linking collective leadership strategy and business plan or if you haven’t completed it already, this might be helpful at this point.

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