THE DEEP DIVE: Conversations That Matter with Aga and Shani

Shani and Aga

Welcome to our monthly meeting, where we embark on a captivating exploration of company culture where the incredible Shani Persson and I (Aga Bajer) delve into the heart of what it takes to foster a healthy and thriving organizational environment. Our mission is to equip you with practical insights and strategies, inspired by the wisdom of esteemed thinkers like Adam Grant and Michael Bungay Stanier, empowering you to cultivate a remarkable company culture.

Today, we shine a spotlight on Conversations That Matter – the lifeblood of effective communication within organizations. In this fast-paced world, the ability to engage in meaningful dialogues is more crucial than ever. These conversations serve as the catalyst for growth, learning, and collaboration, breathing life into a vibrant and cohesive company culture.

Throughout this episode, we emphasize the profound importance of these transformative conversations. By addressing the critical issues head-on, we unlock valuable insights and foster stronger relationships among team members. With the courage to explore the depths of these conversations, we pave the way for innovation, understanding, and collective progress.

Together, we’ll uncover the keys to building a culture of trust, respect, and open communication. We invite you to join us on this enlightening journey as we explore Conversations That Matter and their transformative impact on creating a healthy and thriving company culture.

Episode highlights

Healthy work relationships: we discuss the importance of building a partnership based on collaboration and support, where individuals are seen and valued.

Successful conversations: we talk about what they entail and the role that understanding and embracing different communication styles plays.

Three types of conversations that matter:

Working relationship conversations: these conversations allow for an exploration of working styles, preferences and how people can support each other to be at their best at work.

Check-in conversations: check-ins create space for personal sharing and foster a sense of belonging that helps nurture relationships.

Friction conversations: these can be conflict conversations or constructive feedback conversations where we need to lead with curiosity, focusing on a meaningful dialogue and developing understanding.

Authenticity: we explore how being authentic at work can be liberating and help us re-humanize the workplace.

Giving up the need to be right: we reflect on the importance of giving up the need to be right and approach conversations with curiosity and mutual respect.

Conversations during high-pressure situations: Shani highlights how slowing down during high-pressure situations allows for better decision-making and creates space for meaningful conversations.

“Reflect on what you look like when you’re at your best and strive for growth and improvement.”

Listen to the interview in the player below or on iTunes. If you like what you hear, please leave a review, and it may be featured on a future episode.

More about Shani Persson

Shani is one of the founders of an experience design lab, Wonder. It’s a company aimed to inspire and support companies, institutions, groups or individuals to help themselves and others thrive through more human experiences. She spent more than 10 years in corporate people functions – driving change, and building culture and experiences for co-workers.

A nerd for anything human development, learning, leadership, culture and experiences that enhance our wellbeing and contribution. Loves exploring – cold plunges, meditation and biohacking included – to learn how we can lead fulfilled lives with healthy minds and bodies, and of course – designing impactful human experiences.

More about Aga Bajer

Aga is the founder and CEO of CultureBrained® – a boutique consultancy on a mission to empower purpose-driven leaders to make work synonymous with fun, meaning and belonging. Aga is passionate about cultivating thriving cultures where people do their best work and solve wicked problems. Before establishing CultureBrained®, Aga led consulting teams in companies like Hay Group, Korn Ferry, and PwC.

In the past 20+ years, Aga helped hundreds of clients to attract, hire, develop and retain A+ talent, accelerate personal and business growth, drive impact and create legendary cultures that scale.

Aga is the founder and host of a one-of-a-kind, global community for Culture Leaders, the CultureBrained Community, where members connect with outstanding peers to discover new ways of cultivating thriving cultures at scale in the brave new world of remote and hybrid work. She is the author of Building and Sustaining a Coaching Culture and the creator and host of one of the most popular podcasts on culture, the CultureLab.

Aga has worked with senior leadership teams of many major organizations, startups, and scaleups. Her client portfolio includes Microsoft, AWS, Nordea, ANZ, Ideo, Toyota, Porsche, Hilton Hotels and Resorts, Citibank, GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, Leo Pharma, Hellenic Bank, Eurolife, Bank of Cyprus, Eurobank, Wargaming, Sanofi, Amdocs, SAP, and many others.

People mentioned

Josh Hammonds

Michael Bungay Stanier

Caitlin Walker

Additional resources

CultureBrained® Community – a one-of-a-kind virtual community for Heads of Culture, founders, and leaders who want to up their culture game.

The Culture Playbook Guide.

Discover Your Personal Values.


Readme or user manual guides

Mastering the Art of Working with (Almost) Anyone with Michael Bungay Stanier

Drama-Free Culture with Caitlin Walker

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