The art - not science - of creating and enabling culture

The art - not science - of creating and enabling culture

July 29, 2021

At ATB Ventures, we don't believe that we should strive for a perfectly formed organizational culture. Not because it isn't attainable - but because the perfect culture doesn't exist. There is no simple formula or user's manual for creating a great culture. In reality, creating and enabling a great organizational culture is much closer to an art than a science (even though we are an innovation "lab").

If we have learned anything from the past 18+ months - it's that we constantly need to be evolving not only how we do business to meet the needs of our customers, but how we enable our leaders and team members to bring the best version of themselves to work - whether that be at the office, at home, or wherever work gets done.

*Enter organizational culture... Organizational culture is a nebulous concept by definition that carries serious clout. Culture is defined as the "shared understanding of values, behaviours, expectations, and practices that guide and shape the actions of your team". In simple terms, it is what your team members collectively believe the culture to be. It is a living thing. It is the key differentiating factor when talent is looking to apply for a role at an organization. It is a core enabler of success for any organization (not necessarily the "cause of success") and it is informed by the sum of the parts, some within an organization's control and some outside of it.

I believe that the heart of work is our people - and we have intentionally focused our efforts on building towards a culture that strikes the balance or "sweet spot" between rapid innovation and quality execution as well as great performance and effective teamwork. But, how have we done this in execution?

Our culture is enabled by what we call "human enablement" and is grounded in the team's experience. Human enablement encompasses the key initiatives and people programs that deliver against our talent strategy at ATB Ventures - including but not limited to: talent acquisition, performance enablement, talent development, onboarding, recognition, & rewards.

At the centre of our human enablement system are our core values. These values are our constants and the foundational building blocks or cultural cornerstones of all human enablement programs, underpinning our collective experience as a team. They serve as effective guideposts for our team members' and leaders' behaviours and actions to foster an inclusive environment where creativity and innovation thrive everyday. Upon joining our team, team members are indoctrinated into our core values through each interaction with our team - from our virtual onboarding program, to equity, diversity & inclusion initiatives (ED&I), to everyday communications with colleagues through Slack, Google Chat, or Google Meet.

Our leadership, team composition, and agile ways of working have provided us with the unique opportunity and ability to continually test and experiment with our human enablement programming. Within each of our programs, we capture feedback from the team / leaders, learn, and adapt how we work. Because a one-size fits all approach does not work in today's environment, flexibility is a key differentiator for our success.

While it has not not been easy for us (or any organization) this past year, we have learned a lot through our transition to a fully remote world. Our team at ATB Ventures is still in growth mode. We will continue to garner insights, identify areas for improvement, and learn from our team to enable a culture of creativity and innovation and foster a great team experience.

To learn more about career opportunities at ATB Ventures, please visit our website at

Erin Iverson