The 10 Best Canvases for Culture Design and Team Building
A collection of our most-downloaded culture design canvases created by Gustavo Razzetti – Fearless Culture
The Business Model Canvas by Alex Osterwalder disrupted business strategy by placing visual tools at the forefront. This paradigm shift introduced a human-centered approach to guiding and simplifying team discussions. Visual tools – or canvases – facilitate conversations about strategy, culture, decision-making, design, and more, making them accessible for teams.
At Fearless Culture, we share this passion for visual tools that facilitate courageous, actionable conversations about culture and teamwork. That’s why we’ve created over 100 canvases.
Our visual tools have been helping teams and organizations worldwide address both deep, strategic challenges and simpler, everyday issues.
I’m excited to share the ten most-downloaded canvases from our website. You'll find a brief introduction to each canvas, including links to download it and facilitation guide.
If you need additional support or training, I invite you to join our training workshops. You will learn the secrets and tricks to master each canvas and gain access to the Mural and Miro templates.
The Culture Design Canvas
The Culture Design Canvas is a strategic tool for mapping out an organization's current culture and designing its future state. Recognized as the number #1 culture design tool with over 500,000 practitioners worldwide, it provides a clear framework for understanding the key elements that make up your culture.
The Culture Design Canvas includes 10 building blocks categorized into three areas – the ABCs of culture. These are Alignment – the core (purpose, values, priorities, and behaviors), Belonging - emotional culture (feedback, psychological safety, feedback, and team rituals), and Collaboration - functional culture (meetings, decision-making, and norms & rules).
By visualizing these components, teams and leaders can identify gaps, reinforce strengths, and align on a shared vision. This canvas encourages open dialogue and reflection, making the intangible aspects of culture tangible and actionable.
With the Culture Design Canvas, organizations can systematically approach culture as a design challenge, ensuring that the desired culture is not left to chance but intentionally crafted and evolved. It's particularly useful in times of change, such as during mergers, leadership transitions, or significant growth, helping to maintain or reshape the cultural identity of the organization.
Goal: Map your current culture and design its future state
Who: Teams or organizations
Applications: Drive cultural alignment, assess the current state, codify or clarify expectations, identify culture compatibility between two merged companies, and provide a common language across the organization.
Uncover the Stinky Fish Canvas
The Uncover the Stinky Fish Canvas is a friendly-yet-provocative tool to uncover hidden issues. The "stinky fish" metaphor represents the problems and challenges that, if left unaddressed, can worsen over time, just like a fish that starts to stink if not dealt with promptly.
The tool is simple and easy to use. Still, it requires expert facilitation to get people to address what everyone is thinking but no one is saying, uncertainties, what’s driving fear and anxiety, and issues the team can’t get over. It encourages individuals and teams to bring these issues to the forefront, building the psychological safety muscle.
By using the Uncover the Stinky Fish Canvas, teams can preemptively tackle potential issues and align on strategies to mitigate them.
Goal: Surface hidden issues and anxieties to foster open dialogue and preemptive problem-solving.
Who: Ideal for teams.
Applications: Build psychological safety, enhance team cohesion, and encourage proactive problem-solving in team settings.
Personal Washing Instructions Canvas
The Personal Washing Instructions Canvas fosters empathy and deeper understanding within teams by allowing individuals to share their personal "care instructions." Like the care labels on clothing, this canvas encourages team members to express their working styles, communication preferences, motivators, and even their quirks.
This process not only enhances self-awareness but also equips team members to interact with each other more effectively and compassionately.
Conflict often arises from a lack of understanding of our colleagues' unique ways of working. That’s because we treat others how we want to be treated. However, the Washing Instructions Canvas encourages you to treat team members according to their own washing instructions. Make sure every member feels understood, valued, and effectively integrated.
Goal: Foster empathy and understanding to enhance team collaboration.
Who: Teams, perfect for remote teams.
Applications: Onboarding new members, team building, and improving collaboration.
Team Purpose Canvas
The Team Purpose Canvas guides teams in reflecting deeply on and articulating their core purpose. It helps teams discover and define their collective "why" and establish a sense of direction beyond daily tasks.
By clarifying whom the team serves and the impact they aim to create, the canvas fosters a deep sense of shared understanding and commitment. Designing a team's purpose goes beyond setting objectives; it is about connecting with the team's heart and soul – why it exists.
Defining a team's purpose has a profound impact that should not be underestimated. It is the emotional glue that binds together team members, fueling passion, commitment, and a sense of belonging.
The Team Purpose Canvas serves as a catalyst for this connection, ensuring that every team member feels part of something greater than themselves. It is particularly valuable during times of transition or when embarking on new endeavors, aligning everyone's efforts with a purpose that is both meaningful and practical.
Goal: Define and align team members around a shared future.
Who: Teams at any level or stage, from newly-formed to established groups.
Applications: Team formation, new team leader, and clarifying how a team can contribute to the broader organizational purpose.
The Psychological Safety Ladder Canvas
The Psychological Safety Ladder Canvas creates a safe space for discussion and growth. It uses the metaphor of a ladder to represent the idea that psychological safety is not a binary state but a spectrum. The ladder represents three levels of psychological safety: feeling Welcome, engaging in Courageous Conversations, and fostering Innovation.
To progress to higher levels, teams must first ensure success at the foundational level. They should build upon each step with intention and care, following a sequential approach that ensures a steady and sustainable climb. This approach sets a solid foundation before reaching for higher rungs.
Climbing the psychological safety ladder means increasing psychological safety, but you must always work on it. Negative behaviors can cause a team to drop a few rungs – or even fall off the ladder altogether.
Goal: Sequentially build and enhance psychological safety across three levels.
Who: Teams and organizations
Applications: Team development, cultural transformation, and enhancing team trust.
Core Values Canvas
The Core Values Canvas helps identify concepts or territories to define or refresh company values. Just as a balloon requires a careful balance of pressure to stay afloat, an organization needs a solid foundation of core values to maintain its culture. This canvas provokes conversations about what inflates or deflates that balloon – culture inflators and deflators.
Using the Core Values Canvas requires involving team members across the organizations in shaping the company's values. By doing so, the canvas ensures that the values genuinely reflect the team's identity and aspirations in connection to what inflates or deflates the culture.
Goal: Inform the revised or new core values.
Applications: Building a cohesive culture, designing or refreshing core values, and understanding what inflates or deflates people.
Culture Reset Canvas
The Culture Reset Canvas is a tool designed to facilitate crucial conversations about an organization's culture – what's working, what isn't, and most importantly, how to design a better future.
This tool is about understanding the past to create a more intentional and aligned future.
The Culture Reset Canvas is structured around three pivotal questions: What used to be? What should be? What could be? These questions encourage teams to reflect on their culture before and after significant changes, like the shift to remote work during the pandemic. It's an invitation for teams to reflect on their current practices, preserve the beneficial ones, and shed those that are less helpful.
Goal: Facilitate a structured conversation to reflect on the past, present, and future.
Who: Organizations and teams.
Applications: Cultural transformation, team alignment, and adapting to changes in the work environment or external context.
The Strength of Your Relationships Canvas
The Strength of Your Relationships Canvas helps team members map, assess, and strengthen their social capital. Relationships profoundly impact our ability to achieve goals. As the adage goes, "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."
This tool identifies which relationships are merely transactional and which are genuinely transformative, encouraging the cultivation of authentic, meaningful connections.
This canvas helps identify which relationships are unbreakable, weak, strong, or broken and strategize which you want to improve and how.
Goal: Map, assess, and strengthen interpersonal relationships.
Who: Individuals and teams.
Applications: Personal development, team building, and fostering trust and collaboration.
Personal Beliefs Canvas
The Personal Beliefs Canvas helps uncover and challenge the underlying assumptions that shape our decisions and behaviors. Our beliefs, whether true or false, significantly impact how we see the world and act. From our general views about people and work to specific opinions on topics like remote work, these beliefs can sometimes limit our potential and narrow our views.
This canvas is crafted to help individuals, whether they are team members or leaders, critically examine and challenge their own beliefs. It encourages people to reflect on their convictions, understand how these beliefs impact their decisions, and consider new, broader ways of thinking.
Discover opportunities for growth and change, moving beyond the constraints of unquestioned beliefs to a more open and adaptive mindset.
Goal: Challenge perspectives and overcome limiting beliefs.
Who: Leaders and team members.
Applications: Team retrospective, leadership development, and self-awareness
Blameless Postmortem Canvas
The Blameless Postmortem Canvas facilitates a constructive and non-punitive analysis of events that occurred during a project or event, mainly when things didn't go as planned. It recognizes that mistakes are an essential source of learning and growth, rather than just points of failure.
This canvas provides a structured framework for teams to reflect on what happened, why it happened, and how to prevent similar issues in the future. It’s crucial to create an environment that focuses on improving the systems rather than blaming people.
The Blameless Postmortem Canvas helps teams cultivate a culture of transparency, trust, and continuous improvement by focusing on systemic issues and decision-making rather than assigning blame. Its step-by-step approach facilitates objective and constructive conversations, ensuring lessons are learned and incorporated into future work.
Goal: Analyze past events, learn from mistakes, and improve future practices – without the blame.
Who: Teams and organizations looking to build a learning culture and improve their processes and outcomes.
Applications: Project debriefing, team retrospectives, pre-mortem exercises, and continuous improvement.
Do you need help facilitating courageous conversations with your team? Schedule a free consultation call to discuss how we can help you.